If there’s one thing that annoys me as traveller, thanks to my weak Indian passport, it is — applying for a visa. You want to travel to Europe, and you’ve all the money and time it requires, you still need to go through a lot of hassle and paperwork. Though of course, some countries are more reluctant, and some, fairly welcoming, the unapologetic fact that you still need to waste your time and money — is always a big disappointment.
And my disappointment turned into a dismay, very recently, when it took more than one month for the Australian embassy to give me a tourist visa. Though the folks in the embassy were quite humble and allowed me multiple entries for a period of one year, the price I had to pay for it was quite startling.
Australian Tourist VISA Was Expensive
With most Southeast Asian countries charging around 2 to 4 thousand Rupees, Canada charging about 6.5 thousand, and 26 Schengen countries in Europe around only 6 thousand, Australia, God knows why has set its own uncompelling visa price tag. For an Australian (class 600) Tourist Visa valid for a 3 or 6 or 12 month period, you are required to pay a whopping 9 thousand Rupees, bringing its price closer to a USA tourist visa, that promises free entry for 10 long years.
Always Request For A 12 Month Validity
As I said above, Class 600 Tourist Visa, for Australia, allows people to travel for a period of 3 or 6 or 12 months, depending upon their travel history and the intent to travel Australia again. My personal advice would be requesting for a 12-month visa in your cover letter, so that your next visit, in a year will at least be free. I mentioned in my cover letter that I needed a 12-month visa because I work as a travel blogger, and I’ll most likely be revisiting Australia in the next 7 to 10 months. Though it only entitled me to stay for a maximum of 3 months during each visit, I still have the freedom to land in the country for an unlimited number of times within one year.
Don’t Pay An Agent: The Process Is Super Simple
Australian Tourist visa process, in one word, is Simple. The application takes no more than 15 minutes to get over with, you also do not require to have a medical insurance or hotel bookings or a return flight ticket. Though if you can, it’s always the best idea to show as many supportive documents as you can, but in this case, even if you can’t, you should be fine. Just mention in your cover letter about your plans and provide a rough itinerary. In my case, I showed an unreserved flight itinerary, that I managed to get without having to pay for a penny and by using MakeMyTrip. I’d no hotel bookings, and no medical insurance either. But everything still turned out to be good in the end.
Moreover, you are not required to deposit your passport with your application, which makes the process even more easier. Unlike with other visas, where you’re required to collect your passport after the visa stamp or receive it at home if you’d paid for a courier service, for Australia, you don’t need to worry about anything. Just submit the application at your nearest VFS centre with a few photocopies of your passport and wait for an email to be received, with your visa grant ID. The only disappointment, however, may be the amount of time the Australian embassy takes to say their decision, so plan Enough in advance.
Plan Enough In Advance
I heard so many people mentioning that their Australian visa application took ages to come back with an answer, as so was the case with me. I received the email from the embassy, granting me a 1-year tourist visa, after 34 days of submission — almost 2 weeks more than how long my Schengen Visa took, and a month, for Malaysian. So make sure you apply it as soon as you can, with at least 1.5 months of a buffer period.
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