Up until a few years ago, an Australian visa meant getting a sticker in the passport. The passport was sent into the Australian Embassy in Manila, and back it came with “the visa” as people thought.
What is a visa?
A sticker? Stamp? Letter? No. None of these.
Is this something new? No, not at all. The demise of stickers s only a few years old, however those weren’t actually visas either.
A visa is a right to enter Australia. A sticker, stamp or letter is a simple way of demonstrating that you have a visa. It is not “the visa”.
You get married and you get a marriage certificate, right? Is the certificate “the marriage”? Of course not. And neither is the sticker of letter “the visa”.
The Department went away from using stickers because it was costing them millions of dollars a year in staff time simply printing out stickers and putting them in passports. So they gradually withdrew them. We at Down Under Visa were happy about this ourselves, because getting passports to and from the Embassy was a bit of a pain. And there was always the risk of them getting lost along the way. Never happened, but the possibility remained!
The actual visa therefore is your right to enter Australia according to the conditions of the particular visa. Your right to enter, along with all the important details, are entered into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection computers. These details are also at the airport when you arrive to check in, and are linked to your PASSPORT. When they scan your passport, they can see that you have a visa grant.
Why do you get a visa grant letter?
Firstly it’s to show you that the visa has been granted.
Secondly, the guards at airports in the Philippines might not let you in if you don’t show them the letter. So you bring it along to show them so you have no dramas.
What if you change your passport?
If you change your passport, they can no longer see that you have a visa! Because the visa is electronically linked to the passport used for your visa application.
So if you change your passport, you must let the Department know! And don’t leave it to the last minute, or you will miss your flight! They don’t jump when you tell them to jump! So leave plenty of time between travels!
And later on after you get to Australia then you must also let the Department know if you change your passport. Don’t forget, or you could ruin your next overseas trip!