Coping with Australian Visa Document Errors and Delays


Australian visa applications from Philippines, we find these mostly go smoothly. But there are times when visa document errors lead to processing delays. Mistakes in NSO documents need correction. Late registered birth certificates need extra evidence. Annulments drag out in the courts. And Tuberculosis (TB) means long treatment. Legal paperwork and medical treatment and general bureaucracy adds to processing time and therefore time apart, and this leads to misery and often anger.


visa document errors can lead to delays in australian visa applications from Philippines


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Australian Filipina couples and visa delays

When an Australian Filipina couple are apart, they naturally miss each other. I can still remember how awful and lonely was that hollow feeling when you parted at the airport after spending a few weeks together. When you’re in love, you soon get very comfortable with your lady (or your gentleman) by your side 24 hours a day. You look around, and they smile back at you. You speak, and they answer you. Then suddenly, there you are surrounded by strangers again. And those lonely lonely nights begin!

Why is the Government so strict?

The Australian Government, the Department of Home Affairs (ie. “Immigration”) in Australia or the Australian Embassy in Manila, they are strict. The Constitution gives them the power to protect the borders and the Australian people expect them to. And the rules they follow are not just a set of loose guidelines. The Migration Regulations 1994 are an Act of the Commonwealth. L.A.W. Law! There’s no flexibility. Information provided must be correct, with no errors or omissions. Applicants must pass the Health Criteria. Relationships must be genuine and believable. They have no choice but to follow the Law.

Why so many document errors from the Philippines?

Every culture has its areas of emphasis. This is what makes the world so interesting. In the Philippines, the emphasis is on people. Kindness. Family. Smooth and harmonious relationships. But less emphasis is put on accuracy and timeliness and overall efficiency of official processes and paperwork. As a result? You get frequent visa document errors, and correcting these mistakes takes time. Many of our visa applicants get caught in a spot when they discover these mistakes have happened.

End result?

Yes, there you have it! Couples who miss each other. A strict Australian Government that sets high standards. And Philippines where ordinary people as well as bureaucracy are a bit too relaxed about official documents. A clash of cultures and a lovesick couple caught in the middle of it all.

Visa document errors and your visa application

One day you get the email from Jeff or Jeremy at Down Under Visa telling you there’s a problem with your document.

  • Wrong spelling, dates, places, genders or other facts on an NSO document
  • Mistake made on a questionnaire led to a false statement being made on a visa application
  • Deliberate lie made on a questionnaire led to a false statement being made on a visa application

Or maybe they found the applicant has Tuberculosis and needs treatment. Or maybe that annulment that the attorney promised you would be done in less than 6 months is nowhere near complete. There are many causes of delay. End result is it takes you longer before you can get together, and that’s really hard to take.

We DO know what it feels like. Mila and myself in particular, because we went through it all before when we applied for our own Prospective Marriage Visa. What I said about lonely hollow feelings before? Distant memory now, but still a memory. The nights were the worst. A client said to me just today “I don’t know how I’m going to tell her.” I told him we feel exactly the same when we need to give a client bad news that will lead to a delay. Hate it! We know exactly how much you want to be together, and it gives us no pleasure in having to give you bad news.

However, we can’t put off telling you. And we can’t look the other way. And if there was a way of fixing this to prevent delays, we would have done it already. But there are certain realities that we can’t get around, because this is not a flexible system that you can negotiate around.


What we would ask you to do, especially if you’re in the early stages of preparing a visa application from Philippines to Australia, is to take very careful note of what we tell you. Be accurate with the e-Assess Questionnaires. Don’t lie or make careless mistakes, and make sure you include every bit of information that is asked of you. Don’t leave out travel details or addresses or details of former marriages and de facto relationships or of kids (whether migrating or not). Don’t guess about dates. Read and re-read it before you send it.

Damage control

And if we still identify errors in documents and previous applications? Please be grateful we identified it now, and it didn’t let it get into the system where it could lead to a visa refusal and a three year ban. Yes, that’s what happens when a visa application gets lodged with false statements and bogus documents. Regulation 4020! When we stick our necks out and risk the messenger (us) being shot for our troubles, it means we saved you from a much worse fate. Yes, you may have 3 – 6 months (or longer) delay while document errors are corrected, or you may have to wait until it’s been 12 months since the previous application (with the error) ended. You have longer to wait and you have more work to do, but it’s better than getting a refusal and a 3 year ban. And if it wasn’t for us, you probably would have stumbled blindly into trouble.



Fiancee from Philippines – Still legally married
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