Visa to the Commonwealth of Australia

It has been more than a month that I haven’t posted in my blog after migrating all my articles from my previous site. It also happened that the northern hemisphere of the world is under winter season and people tend to hibernate with this kind of weather. Thus, I ended up to be a home boy for quite awhile. Anyway, while I was under the roof of comfort of my apartment, my mind was somewhere else. My brain kept on wandering and planning on my next trip. Then, I opened my blogsite and checked the menus and discovered that I’ve only been to two continents still. I looked on the map of the world and has decided that my next trip will be somewhere south and in a different continent aside from Asia and North America. It was then finalized that I’ll be going to Australia. Since I am holding a Philippine passport, I need a visa to get to Australia and here is the process I needed to follow.

Visa is a form of documentation issued by the nation’s government allowing the bearer to enter or leave that country.

Australian Tourist Visa

Commonwealth of Australia is a country and sovereign state in the southern hemisphere, located on its own continent between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Its capital city is Canberra and its largest city is Sydney. Australia is the sixth biggest country in the world by land area, and is part of the Oceanic and Australasians regions. Oceania or Australasia region is a region that includes Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and several other island nations in the surrounding area.

Getting a tourist visa to enter the country of Australia is easy. As a start, travelers can lodge their application online which I also did by myself. You just have to have all the necessary documents in hand to finish your application within a day. Mine, it took me a week since I was also busy working and I have to go to the county library to have my paperwork scanned and sent to my e-mail for them to be ready to be attached as application documents. Once you have all the documents needed such as:
1. Passport Bio Page
2. Recent Passport-size Photo
3. National Identification Card (I am a legal permanent resident in the US, so, I have to add it to my application.)
4. Previous Travel Stamps in your Passport (It really helped a lot if you travel frequently.)
5. Travel Itinerary
6. Pay Slips
7. Bank Statements or Proof of Sufficient Funds (I included my credit cards.)
8. Visa Application Fee (It cost AUD140 for the application with AUD1.37 as handling fee. as of 03/08/2018)
Then, you are ready to follow these steps:

First, Find out what kind of visa you need.

Australian Visa application has different classes and subclasses. The main reason of your trip to the land down under will determine the appropriate visa application. It will also set the criteria you are eligible for applying a visa. Several choices are Visitor Visa (subclass 600), Partner Visa (subclasses 801 & 820) and many others. To find out what classification, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs site by clicking here.

Second, Create an ImmiAccount.

Apply online by visiting this site https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login and create an immiaccount. This is where you will put all the information. This is also where you are going to attach your documents and pay your application fee. Your account will be your source in getting updates on your application.

Third, Filling out the online application form.

Once you got your ImmiAccount, you can start filling out the online application form. Make sure to answer the questions and provide information that are true and correct. Information include personal data, travel dates, travel history, proof of sufficient funding for the trip, and many more.  If you plan to visit some of your friends, relatives, or family member, you are required to put their pertinent details.

Fourth, Attach the required documents.

To meet the requirements of your application, you need to attach your scanned paperwork. These paperwork are important such as passport pages, bank statements and financial capabilities, itinerary, visas from other countries, residence status in your home country, evidence of employment, letter of invitation from relatives or friends if you are visiting them, certified copy of birth certificate, and so on.

Fifth, Make a payment.

The last part after attaching the scanned documents is reviewing all the information that you put in the application. Once you submitted them, make a payment thru credit card. Credit card fees apply. The visa fee differs in the type of visa you applied for.

Sixth, Wait for the processing time.

It takes about 20 to 33 days to have your application reviewed but for the meantime, just wait. You can always visit your ImmiAccount for information on your visa application.

Processing Times

The whole process was easy. The platform of the online visa application was user friendly and straightforward. I lodged my application on the 8th of March, 2018. By March 16th, I got my granted visa letter from the Australian Government giving me a year validity to visit the country down under. Now, I am just waiting for an affordable airline ticket to check Australia off of my list of places I would love to visit.

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Sparkling Korea! ‘Seoul’

South Korea has been on my favorite list of countries to travel. I’ve been dreaming about it for the main reason that I’ve been hooked with Korean drama series on TV way back before I left the Philippines. It even made to the point that I was studying their language and on how to write the Korean alphabet. I did a lot of research and back in 2013, I went to South Korea Consulate to ask if it’s allowed to submit a Visa application thru them but unfortunately, they don’t and it should be done thru South Korean Embassy which is in the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. But this time, I got the opportunity to visit the country  since I got a Korean entry visa easily using my permanent resident status in t he United States. Its travel slogan before was used to be Sparkling Korea which really stuck in my head but since it took me almost half a decade to get there, so, now, I am calling my trip, Sparkling Korea! Seoul.

Seoul is the capital of South Korea. Seoul is by far the country’s largest city and one of East Asia’s financial and cultural epicenters. The city has a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology. It is also home to endless street food vendors, lively vast nightlife districts, and extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples. Indeed Seoul is a city filled with stark contrasts. With its contrasts, Seoul has a long history of dynasty. It is widely visible on well kept temples and infrastructures.

Seoul skyline

When I got the chance to set foot in Seoul, I made sure to visit the most famous tourist location and movie location too, the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest royal palace built in 1935 and served as the main palace during Joseon Dynasty. It was built about 100 years before the Forbidden City in Beijing, China was built. But it was destroyed during Korea- Japan War in 1592 and restored in 1865. The palace is still considered as being the most beautiful and grandest of all palaces in South Korea.

sk05

Gyeongbokgung palace is wide and huge. It may take almost  a day to totally tour the whole palace grounds but every halls and rooms are different and is assigned to different positions and royalties during the Joseon Dynasty. Geunjeongjeon is the main throne hall and the most photographed location of all the palace grounds and is also famous for movies and Korean TV dramas. We only stayed there for almost 2-3 hours but we were running just to cover the main history of South Korea and the said palace. The tour guide was helpful and informative but we skipped some minor details and still got the chance to ask questions. After we were done in Gyeongbukgong palace, the tour bus went to other popular destination, the Insa-dong.

Insa-dong

Insa-dong is a famous traditional street, lined with a large number of antique shops and folk art galleries. It is a neighborhood of the Jongno-gu district of Seoul. Insa-dong was the largest market for antiques and artworks in Korea and it is still now or probably one of the largest markets.

While we were Insa-dong, we were introduced to this traditional Korean restaurant. The food choices were unfamiliar to me but I chose the beef bulgogi which is a  made up of thin sliced, marinated beef grilled on a barbecue or stir-fried in a pan in home cooking. I selected it coz I have tried it before and it was delicious but that beef bulgogi I got in that Korean restaurant was amazing and more tasty and delicious. I did enjoy dining over there. After we had lunch, we went to do some souvenir shopping. It was fun and I felt the Korean vibe.

As a conclusion of my Sparkling Korea! Seoul experience, it was one of the best trips I had. It was memorable not because of the location but because one of my dreams came to reality. I didn’t expect too much when I got to Seoul, I was only wishing to set foot in one of the progressive countries of East Asia, South Korea.

Check my YouTube channel and my vlog when I was exploring South Korea.