FAQ’s Page

Everything You Wanted to Know about Down Under Visa

And please also visit the Down Under Visa BLOG page, and search the 500+ articles about Australian visa applications and how we can help you.

Do you help with visa applications lodged in Australia too? Or only in Manila, Philippines?

Yes, we certainly do. We lodge applications for partner visas and tourist visas at Department offices in Australia all the time. Not a problem.

What happens if I submit false documents or make false statements?

You must never do this, or you will risk refusal and a 3 year ban. And never ask Down Under Visa to cover up for you. Please read this for a further explanation: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/09/24/mistakes-in-your-visa-application-documents-the-wrong-way/

What is the price for an Australian visa?

How much does it cost to get a visa to Australia? It depends on the visa, and the price can change because the Australian Government can increase the visa application charge at a moments notice. And they’ve now introduced charges for adding children to a visa application as secondary applicants. When you fill out our online assessment form, we will give you a fixed quote on what it will cost you, including government charges and our own professional fees. Those who shop around find our charges very reasonable. And there are no hidden costs. There is a lot of work that goes into the management of your visa application, and what price can you put on your future?

The five-year rule!

You may sponsor no more than TWO applicants for partner visas or fiancée visas (prospective marriage visas) in your lifetime, and if you are on your second sponsorship this must be more than five years since you lodged the first visa application! Read this article for more information.

Problems at the airport?

Please read this article.

Should we include the children in the visa application?

he easiest and cheapest time to bring children is as part of the initial visa application. And Down Under Visa do not charge for the addition of kids in partner visa applications. Please read the following article, and make up your own mind. https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/10/06/australian-partner-visas-should-you-include-the-kids/

Why a partner visa?

Please read this blog post.

Visa refused? Help!

Please see this.

De Facto Visas?

Please read this post.

Identity fraud & fake papers

Please read the linked post for more complete information.

Are you free to marry?

It means you are not currently married to someone else. Please see this for further information.

My wife/fiancée/girlfriend is pregnant. Can this be done faster?

Congratulations to both of you! Unfortunately this is not so uncommon, and the Department won’t treat you as a special case at all. This is something you should handle sensitively for obvious reasons. So please read this for more information. https://wev.downundervisa.com.au/2014/04/21/is-she-pregnant/

False documents and 4020

For further perspective see this.

Why are tourist visas so hard to get?

Please read this post for further information.

Can I bring my relatives?

Please read this Blog Post.

Are tourist visas a waste of time?

Only if you are not a tourist. Please read this post.

No, they are definitely not a waste of time. You just need to be certain that your intentions are genuine and that you have a strong enough relationship to back up the application. And the way the application is presented makes all the difference.

Avoid wasting time, and get Down Under Visa to help. Start with getting an assessment of your case, and be assured of an honest response from us.

Condition 8503 No Further Stay

Read this post for further information. (and note the 2016 update)

Can I get a 1 year tourist visa?

It’s very difficult to get a one-year tourist visa, because they don’t want you to use a tourist visa as a substitute for a partner visa. No one takes a “one year holiday”. Please read this article for a better explanation. https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/08/30/1-year-tourist-visa-filipina/

Tourist visa or partner visa?

Please keep in mind that tourist visas are NOT short-cuts to partner visas. Tourist visas are for tourists. Please read this post.

Should we do the application ourselves?

Please read this post here.

Where should we marry? Australia or Philippines?

This is really up to you, but there is much to consider, please read this..

Should I get a Spouse or Fiance Visa?

There are a few factors that determine the best choice. For a complete answer read this post

What application forms do I fill out?

You don’t need to fill out visa application forms. Not the Form 40SP, Form 47SP, or Form 1419. Even the Form 956, you only need to sign it after we complete the details. We don’t expect you to fill out forms, as this is our job to do. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/07/22/filling-in-visa-application-forms/

Planning on calling into the Australian Embassy in Manila to discuss?

The Australian Embassy doesn’t work like that these days.

  1. You need an appointment to get in to see them
  2. They won’t discuss visa applications with you anyway. They will direct you to their website.
What happens if it is refused?

If the visa is an offshore visa (eg. Tourist visa, offshore General Skilled Migration visa, or Student visa), then there is no right of appeal. If it is an onshore visa, or if there is an onshore sponsor, then yes it may be appealed at the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT). The MRT is independent of the Department, and will overturn decisions if they are proved to be incorrect. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/01/25/australian-visa-refused-what-should-you-do/

Will the Department contact us when we get the visa granted?

No, they contact us. And we will let you know immediately.

I’m worried about my fiancee going to Manila for the interview. Can you help?

She won’t have to worry, as long as she is well-prepared. And we will make sure she knows what to say (and what NOT to say!). However MOST of the time she won’t need to go to manila. Face to face interviews are rare, especially if your application is put together properly. And Medical examinations can be done in Cebu City, Davao and Baguio too.

After applying, when will we hear from you?

You will hear from us whenever we hear something from the Department. There is nothing gained by asking us “Have you heard anything?” If you hear nothing from us, it means we’ve heard nothing from them. We’re definitely not ignoring you. We will be with you all the way through. But you need to be patient. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/12/05/australian-visa-application-processing-updates/

Can you push a visa through quicker?

Definitely not! And any agent who says they can, they are not only lying they are also breaking the Code of Conduct (assuming they are registered!) Visas are GRANTED when the Regulations are met. They are nobody’s “right”. You are not a “customer”, and they won’t be pushed. You need to be patient. The very worst thing you can do is to do the “I’m a taxpayer and I know my rights” outburst. And beware of any “agent” insinuating they are friends with Departmental staff who can fast-track. This is the Australian Government you are dealing with, and you don’t want to be party to suggestions of obtaining special favours from Departmental officers, as this smells of serious corruption. Even if we believed this was a possibility (which we do not!), we run an honest business and would never involve ourselves in this sort of thing. Please don’t ask us. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/12/04/australian-visa-application-taking-so-long/

Why does it take so long?

Because the Department deals with hundreds of thousands of applications every year. Most of the processing time is literally taken up by the application sitting in a large pile waiting for a Case Officer to be assigned. And if there is investigation to be done, or further information to be sought, then it will take longer. Once the application has been assigned, it is quite possible for a visa to be processed in a single day if it is well-prepared and all of the requirements are clearly met. But it still sits in the large pile first before they pick it up. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/12/04/australian-visa-application-taking-so-long/

What is the processing time for an Australian visa?

This depends on the visa! It also depends on how busy the Departmental office is at the time. Visitor Visas (when appropriate) may only take a few weeks. Spouse or fiancee visas an average of 9 months or longer. Tourist visas approximately 2 – 3 weeks processing time.

My partner is the same sex as me. Can I apply for a visa?

As a de facto partner, yes quite possibly. As a fiancee, no. Please contact us?

My girlfriend/boyfriend is already married and is (or is not) seeking an annulment

As a de facto partner, yes quite possibly. As a fiancee, no. Please contact us. And please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/07/16/de-facto-visas-for-malefemale-couples-and-same-sex-couples/

(For spouse and fiancee visas) Should we marry in the Philippines or in Australia?

Please read this BLOG POST (https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/10/01/where-should-you-marry-australia-or-philippines/ ) for more information. We can help you either way, so it’s entirely up to you.

Should we just apply for a Tourist (Visitor) Visa instead of a Spouse or Fiancee Visa and keep things simple?

If only it were that easy! In some cases? Yes. But for the average Filipino it’s very hard to get a Visitor Visa. Please read this BLOG as it’s explained in great detail.

I don’t live near your office. How can we deal with you?

Our main office is in Dasmarinas in Cavite, (which is about 45 minutes form the Manila airport). In most cases we don’t need to see clients at all. In this electronic age, we can do everything we need via email and couriers. We have clients from all over the world, and many successful visa applications from people we’ve never physically met. If you need a face-to-face, provided we are in the correct place at the time, we can always make arrangements. And we are VERY quick to return emails!

Do you speak Tagalog/Pilipino?

My wife Mila does. (I speak enough to get myself into trouble, and that’s about it). So basically, yes we do. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2015/02/19/down-under-visas-valuable-resource/

Do you give money-back guarantees, or do you do “no win, no fee” work?

No, we don’t. Lawyers who offer this invariably charge much higher rates to do so, and we don’t want to operate like that.

However we do offer to all our clients that we will redo their applications without charging a professional fee if their visa application has been refused. This is dependent on the refusal not being because of a serious error, false statement, fake document or omission of important facts on their part, or if there is a serious illness that led to the refusal.

Note that the Government will not refund their charges when there is a visa refusal.

Do you give guarantees?

Under Section 2.14A of the Code of Conduct for Registered Migration Agents (which is set in Law), we’re not allowed to do that. However, under Section 2.6 of the Code, we need to be honest with you about the likely success of a case. We turn clients away on a regular basis when we don’t believe their application would succeed. And remember too that the decisions to grant a visa comes from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), so how can anybody guarantee a decision that is out of their hands anyway?

I found another agent in Philippines who was cheaper than you!

The Philippines is full of unregistered “agents”. And almost every travel agent becomes an instant Migration Agent when the opportunity comes their way. Of course they’re cheaper! Registration for Registered Migration Agents costs money! So does maintaining a professional library, attending Continued Professional Development courses, keeping proper records and running a professional office. And there are those “agents” who don’t actually submit an application for you at all. Very cheap! Proceed at your own risk. In Australia it is a criminal offense to give migration advice without being registered with MARA. With an unregistered agent, you run a serious risk and you have no protection or comeback. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2013/05/26/no-substitute-for-knowledge-and-experience/

What are the requirements for a visa?

People always ask “What are my requirements?” Different visas, different people, different situations, different requirements. Once you become our client, we will give you all the checklists and guidance documents you need, and we are always available to answer questions. Once you’ve become our client, never be embarrassed to ask! The other side of this coin is that if you are not our client yet, please don’t expect we will analyse your your case and give you free advice on how to lodge your own visa application. We will assess your situation and give you an opinion on whether you have a strong case, and we will do this for free (many agents charge for this), but don’t ask us to work for nothing. Please read this BLOG post.

But my friend told me …………………. ?

For some reason, everyone’s an expert when it comes to migration. There are over 70 different types of visa for Australia. The Migration Act of 1958 and the Migration Regulations of 1994 are like a couple of phonebooks in thickness, and many of the Laws and Regulations change several times per year. And there is very little consistency across the different visa types. Beware of well-meaning friends! And PLEASE don’t seek advice from those annoying amateur-run “advice forums” on the internet. Just because somebody managed to get their own visa application refused does NOT qualify them to advise you on yours. They are actually breaking the law by giving advice when not registered with MARA. Stay away! Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/05/09/the-advice-forums-english/ and also this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/04/07/choosing-a-good-migration-agent-and-then-listening-to-them/

Who will handle my visa application?

Our main office is in Manila, where it’s very affordable to fill your office with low-paid staff. And many agents do just this. One agent, and 15 staff members doing most of the work. If we did this, we could handle more clients and process more applications…..but we place quality over quantity. ALL visa applications are personally handled by Jeff Harvie, our Registered Migration Agent. Our few support staff handle reception and clerical work only. My son Jeremy Harvie helps me to deal with enquiries, as well as supervising office staff. Every single email response he sends to clients is checked and approved by me before it goes out! So at NO stage are you in the hands of anyone unqualified. Please read this BLOG post.

Why Down Under Visa and not another agent?

You’re always free to deal with another agent, and we’re too professional for bad-mouthing. However, most agents will specialise in an area or a demographic (market) that they’re familiar and experienced with. There are some areas where we pass work onto other agents who have greater expertise than us. We specialise in visas from the Philippines, because we have a wealth of experience with Filipino culture (my wife is Filipina, and I’ve had over a decade of association with the country and people). We have an office here. We live here. And we know the cultural and bureaucratic peculiarities. I tend to talk to the Australian party in a visa application, and Mila deals with the Filipinos. It’s a good combination, and it works well. Please read this BLOG post.

Why do I need to pay a Migration Agent to do this? Can’t I do it myself?

You don’t! You’re free to do all of this yourself if you wish. However, you do this at your own risk. And in about 90% of cases we manage to stop a client from doing something that would have caused them problems with their applications, maybe even a refusal. You are also free to defend yourself in court, or treat your own medical problems. However, you are missing out on the services of an experienced professional who has been through this process many times before. What price do you put on your future, or the future of your loved one? Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/10/20/why-do-you-need-a-philippines-specialist-migration-agent/

Are you licensed to practice migration law?

We are Registered Migration Agents (RMA), registered with MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority, which is run by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) in Australia. Our MARN (Migration Agents Registration Number) is 0959797. It is illegal in Australia to give migration advice unless you are an RMA, so yes it’s a form of licensing. So yes, we are. Please read this: https://www.downundervisa.com.au/2014/09/04/do-unregistered-migration-agents-exist/

Happy Couples

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The journey from Philippines to Australia with a partner visa