PHUKET: Often you will hear people say getting a visa to Australia is very hard, but the reality is, as long as you meet the basic criteria, it could not be easier.
Many people make it much harder for themselves than is necessary, and hopefully this article will assist people to be successful the first time.
1. Make sure you choose the right visa, complete the appropriate application form and fill out all answers correctly and accurately.
2. It sounds obvious, but answer all questions fully and honestly. Mistakes, omissions or errors may not get picked up this time, but could come back to haunt you in future applications, and lead to cancellation of your existing visa or refusal of new applications in the future. If you realize you have made a mistake, update the embassy as soon as possible.
3. Don’t be too proud or stubborn to get advice, but make sure the advice is from a trusted source and not ‘bar rumors’. Often people rely on bad information or advice, with disastrous consequences. If you pay for assistance, use a registered migration agent or lawyer, beware of scammers and unqualified people who guarantee results or use questionable practices. I have seen to many people pay too much money to get worthless advice or assistance. For a list of agents visit www.mara.gov.au.
4. Plan ahead for what your future wishes are, as statements and facts you provide now can bind you for the future. Don’t mischaracterize relationships, it could come back to cost you in the future. Do be aware though of what impact this might have on your pension or other social security rules and payments.
5. Don’t assume the embassy has the information about you or understands your situation. Every application is different, so make everything very clear and spell it out to assist the decision maker to understand everything. Don’t assume knowledge, understanding or that information provided in previous applications is known for the new application.
6. Allow plenty of time for your application to be reviewed and approved, in case further information is requested, or if your first application has been unsuccessful. From experience most applications that are refused can be fixed and successfully re-submitted addressing the weakness from before. When you re-submit your application it is very important to remember point 5 above, don’t just focus on the area of refusal.
7. Always submit a complete application, being lazy in providing supporting evidence and explanation is often the reason for delays at best, and in the worst case a refusal.
Make sure you tie all aspects of the application together, and that it is clear and makes sense to anyone looking at it without any prior knowledge or needing any new information.
CHANGES IN VISA APPLICATION PROCEDURES
Recently there has been a lot of confusion about what is happening with the new system for Australian visas. Below are some guidelines for submitting Australian visa applications.
Anyone – other than Australian citizens – visiting Australia requires a visa. For some nationalities this can be very easy, such as the US, UK, Schengen countries and the like. However, for Thais and other Asian nationals, this is a more complex and lengthy process.
Since the beginning of May, all Thai applicants for a tourist visa to Australia now need to attend VFS and submit biometrics, in the form of 10 fingerprints and a digital photo.
This can only be done at the VFS offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, as the regional post office system that was previously in place was shut down in April.
This also includes online applications through an Immi account. Applicants will be sent a letter notifying them to attend VFS for the biometric collection. They will also be required to pay the lodgement fee, which is the same for a complete application or just providing the biometrics. The only benefit to this is that the processing wouldn’t take as long.
If you are unsure, you can contact VFS, the Australian Embassy or the Australian Visa Advice Center that offers a free consultation service and has offices in Phuket and Bangkok.
The Visa Advice Center has a new office at Trendy Building, Sukhumvit Soi 13, Bangkok and offers a free consultation, either by phone or in person, with qualified and regulated staff. If you are not sure about your application, visit the Visa Advice Center to get it right the first time, at VisaAdvice Centre.com.
It is recommended that you make an appointment and plan ahead of time. This is to ensure that you bring all of the necessary documents and avoid having to make a repeat trip to Bangkok.
Simon Wetherell is a registered migration agent and lawyer. He resides in Thailand and has offices in Phuket and Bangkok. For more information, visit AustralianVisa Phuket.com, call 095-085 3355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Simon Wetherell
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