Jeff Harvie
Author Archives: Jeff Harvie

The myth of the easy Australian tourist visa application

At Down Under Visa we manage hundreds of tourist visa applications every year out of our office in Manila Philippines, and whilst most clients happily follow our directions we get many who don’t quite get that they are not just a walk in the park.

Tourist visas the world over are seen as the basic and simple tourist visa. They are like the base model. The Vegemite sandwich of the visa world. Partner visas, skilled work visas, etc are the coq au vin and Duck à l’Orange. Just want a quick you-beaut visa to do the job? Tourist visa, mate! And yes, in many countries they are. You have the right passport and you arrive in the Philippines, instant stay for 30 days. After that, you go and get it extended. Pay the money. Rubber stamp!Continue reading

Tourist visa or partner visa? The big question for Australian Filipina couples.

Tourist or Partner Visa

I’ve done BLOG articles on this topic in the past, and high time I did an update. Things have changed since the last time I did one, and some of what I said before is less relevant than it used to be. But other things remain the same. There is a time for applying for an Australian tourist visa, and a time for applying for an Australian partner visa (spouse visa, fiancée visa, prospective marriage visa, etc).

The main thing I will put to you is this: If you are committed to each other, you should be looking at a partner visa. No question about that! The issue of “I just want to see if she likes Australia” is a non-issue, and has always been a non-issue. I have never come across a situation where a Filipina lady says to her man “You are the love of my life, but I don’t want to live in Australia. Goodbye forever!”, and then heads back to Manila. Yes, we come across relationships that fail, but not because Melbourne or Perth filled the lady with loathing. If she loves you, she wants to be with you and she will adapt! It’s not so hard anyway, is it?Continue reading

Can I get an Australian tourist visa extension?

Just One More Extension


You’re in Australia on a three month tourist visa grant from the Philippines, and enjoying your time with your Australian fiancé (or husband or partner). Why wouldn’t you? He IS an Australian man after all! You’re coming up to the end of a three month stay. Can you stay longer in Australia, or do you need to return to Philippines?Continue reading

Tourist Visas to Australia

Tourist Visas to Australia

About Australian Tourist Visas / Visitor Visas

Everyone who is not already an Australian Citizen and wants to enter Australia MUST have a visa. If you do not have a visa, they will not let you in. It’s as simple as that. This even applies to tourists.

And they will not grant a visa unless they are convinced you are a genuine applicant. That means they need to know you wish to enter Australia to:

  • Visit family and friends
  • Do “tourist things”, like sightseeing and holidaying.

Tourist visas are NOT for:

  • Working or looking for work
  • Applying for other visas, like work visas or partner visas
  • Staying permanently

At the end of the visa period you must go back. Tourist visa grants to Australia from Philippines almost always have a Condition 8503 applied to them, which means NO FURTHER STAY. Australian tourist visas are definitely not a short-cut or a queue-jump to permanent resident (PR) status. If this is your intention, then please think again. And please discuss with us the other options available to you by going through the right channels.

If you are a genuine visitor, especially if you wish to spend time with family members or someone special in your life, then we can help you by preparing an application that is complete and honest and which meets the stringent Regulations. We can give you proper visa requirements that match your situation, and we can check that you have provided us with the correct visa requirements. We are thorough and we are absolutely honest. No lies or bending the truth. No clever schemes. This will only come back to bite you, and will stay on your permanent record. Our success rate in 2012 was 95.55% visa grants, and we did this without ever telling lies.

  • Tourist visa or fiance visa? Read HERE
  • Are tourist visa applications a waste of time? Read HERE
  • Shortcomings of tourist visas? Read HERE
  • The Condition 8503 (No Further Stay). Please read HERE
  • Is it there a standard list of visa requirements? Think again! Read HERE


Why a Tourist Visa to Australia in the First Place?

Tourist Visa to Australia

If you haven’t been to the Philippines yet, perhaps you don’t realize how hard life is there for the average person. We live in the Philippines, but we do not live like your average Filipino.

If you’ve already been here, please stop and think about what you’ve seen. Life is very hard sometimes. Life in Australia is a really easy!

And you probably will have noticed the resilience in the nature of Filipinos. Real character. Those who have so little, they can manage a generosity of spirit that is not so common in wealthier nations. They are generally very happy and grateful for whatever they have. The smiles are always there, and the hearts are always open. This character makes them some of the most adaptable people in the world, and they manage to make new homes for themselves in so many nations. There is a sizable Filipino population in Australia.

And when a Filipina gives her heart to a man, she gives it for life, for better for worse. If she truly loves you, she will want to be with you. She would live anywhere with you. You honestly don’t need to find out if she will be happy in your home in the suburbs. If she’s the right lady for you, you won’t have a problem!

In short? Getting her to check out Australia to see if your home is to her liking, it’s not necessary. I’ve never seen a case of a Filipina who loved the man, yet didn’t like the place!


What is our suggestion if you want to marry her?

If you are not ready yet to commit, then by all means get us to manage a tourist visa application for you. Spend some time together and see if your relationship goes to the next level. A 3 month visit gives you plenty of time to get used to each other out of holiday-mode.

However if you are at the stage where you are both committed to marrying and if you intend bringing her to Australia as your fiancée, then by Law you must meet her in person first. The mail-order-bride myth is not only very insulting, it’s also in contrary to Australian Migration Law. You must have personally met.

Note too that you will have no chance of getting a tourist visa for her if you haven’t met either. The Embassy expects that you can show a level of commitment to each other, which is hard to demonstrate if you haven’t met in person.

So if you haven’t met in person, we suggest that you fly to the Philippines as soon as you can. See how she lives and meet her family. If you get to know her family and her culture, and if her family get to know you, then your relationship will be better in the long term.

And keep lots of records of your trip. Photos, receipts, boarding passes, etc. And keep records of your communication history. Don’t delete or throw away anything!


Condition 8503 – NO FURTHER STAY – An issue?

In the past if you got a visitor visa from Philippines granted it was normal to have a Condition 8503 attached to it. It meant that she could not apply for “extensions” to her visa in Australia, and she couldn’t apply for any further visa applications whilst she was still in Australia!

Fortunately we haven’t seen an 8503 since 2013, which was a lot of tourist visa applications ago for Down Under Visa. So don’t stress over this.

However if you are thinking of marrying her on a tourist visa, please contact us and discuss this. Many a naive couple assumes they can do this very easily, but it’s actually fairly complicated and you should get professional help.

But if you’re not completely ready to commit, or if you’re waiting on a divorce or something like that and you still think a tourist visa suits your situation, then please contact us and more than likely we can help you.

But if you both decide you are in fact ready and you want to make the big commitment, then also please contact us and we’ll go over all your options with you.


The Facts About the Australian Visa Process

Australian Visa
  • Australian Migration Law comes from the Migration Act 1958, Migration Regulations 1994, a Department of Immigration & Citizenship Procedures Advice Manual, and endless Ministerial Directions and Parliamentary Gazette Notices. It also changes and is updated constantly.
  • Basically (under s65 of The Act), if a visa application meets the Regulations in the legislation as interpreted by Departmental Policy, they will grant an application, ie. Get it right… get a visa!
  • But if the application does not meet the criteria, the visa will not be granted. This is the case with all visas, and very much the case with tourist visas! There is no room for error, and it the application fails, you may experience re-application delays or you may very well not get a second chance. If it’s wrong even in a small way, you get nothing!
  • If the outcome of your Australian Visa application and your future plans mean something to you, you should use a professional who knows all about the legislation, and how the Department views visa applications. We will assess your particular case and give you the correct visa requirements for your specific situation. Why would you settle for anything less? Isn’t your future happiness and security worth doing it right?
  • And beware of fake and unregistered agents, especially in the Philippines! Beware of opportunistic travel agents, employment agents or education agents who claim they can manage your visa application for you. You have no proof of their qualifications or ethics, and therefore no protection whatsoever! Insist on a MARA-registered migration agent! See this YouTube VIDEO to learn about the risks!

Take a free (and QUICK!) online visa eligibility assessment now, and let us see what how we can help you achieve your dream of a new life.

Read what some of our happy couples have had to say HERE

Should I Get a Tourist Visa if I’m Engaged or Married?


I get emails weekly which start like this:

1. I was wanting to apply for a tourist visa for my Filipina girlfriend so she can come to Australia to see me and my family. I want to know if she likes it in Australia, or;

2. My girlfriend applied for a tourist visa to come to Australia, and it was refused, or;

3. She applied for two or three tourist visas, and they were all refused…….

This is not uncommon. Tourist or Visitor visas are for tourism, or visiting family members or friend, and that’s all. But so many think of them as the simple-and-cheap visa to apply for, therefore an easier option.

This is not an unreasonable or foolish idea! Most countries have easy visa options available. For many countries you don’t need a visa at all. If you visit the Philippines, they automatically grant you 30-day visa on arrival. If you want a longer stay, you simply apply for it. However Australia does not work like that!

And for those prospective visitors from the wealthier nations it’s almost a formality. If you come from Japan or UK for example, you can apply online and you’ll probably get it.

However, the Philippines (like many other poor countries) has a reputation for non-genuine applicants who wish to overstay and/or work illegally. If you earned a typical Filipino salary, then you would find Australia is an appealing option. Somebody could easily earn 8 – 10 times what they are currently earning! Poverty and hunger are strong motivators!

So with all this in mind your girlfriend’s visa application is lodged in Manila, and the Case Officers have to work out if she intends just taking a holiday, or if she intends overstaying and working illegally! They need to decide if she has strong and believable reasons to return to the Philippines after enjoying the good life in Australia.

If your Filipina girlfriend has a well-paying job, owns property, or a proper and stable business, or if she can establish that she is in a serious relationship with you, then it can be done. If this is not established clearly, then there’s a good chance they’ll refuse the application.

Please don’t get offended at us telling it like it is! The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have a job to do, and if they are not convinced then they must refuse. It’s their job to protect Australia’s borders and to maintain the integrity of the labour market. They don’t know you and they don’t know her. They know that if she wanted to run away and disappear, a letter from you saying it won’t happen means nothing.

So is it impossible to get a tourist visa for your Filipina fiancée or girlfriend? No, of course not. We at Down Under Visa apply successfully for many hundreds of tourist visas from the Philippines every year. I am merely generalizing and explaining how it works. We have a very good track record with tourist visa applications, particularly when we can show some good and sound evidence of stability in the applicant, and a stable relationship with an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident. When the application is genuine, it’s our job to show them that the risk of overstaying is low.


So please discuss your chances with us, and be assured of an honest appraisal.