Now that I had received the invitation to lodge visa, I had 60 days to do that or else the invitation would expire. Lodging visa application consisted of one monstrous task – making visa payment. It was monstrous in the sense that amount itself was big enough and there was only one option to make the payment – travel card.
Getting Ready For Visa Payment
As Immi site does not accept visa payment by any other means except credit card (or Australian bank accounts which was not very useful for me), I started researching about which bank had good reputation when it comes to travel card. One thing was clear early on that I could not use normal credit card, as the amount after conversion in INR was far above the highest limit I had on any of the credit card.
There were two options:
- Ask a relative/friend in Australia to make visa payment on your behalf and somehow transfer money to him later
- Get a reliable travel card from a reputed bank
Neither I had any relatives in Australia nor I wanted to trouble any friend in Australia, so I chose to go with the second option. I heard some harrowing stories about how people faced problems while making visa payment using some travel cards. I didn’t want to share the same fate, so getting the right travel card was crucial. After reading some forum discussions and taking advice from known expats, I came to the conclusion that ICICI travel card would be my best bet.
Now, there was some worrying bit of information about getting travel card. Some people faced problem getting travel card without air tickets, which clearly won’t be available at the time of visa payment. I had an account with ICICI, so I hoped that I will get travel card without much hassle. Still I was ready to fight my case, if needed.
Getting Travel Card
On a pleasant Monday morning, I visited ICICI branch near my home to apply for travel card. Couple of days before that, I already transferred INR equivalent of visa fees for the three of us plus some additional amount to cater for conversion rate and/or processing fees. I carried below documents to the bank:
- Old and new passport
- Copy of visa invitation mail
- Pan card
- Recent electricity bill as address proof
I greeted the lady officer with a tense smile and presented my case for the travel card. Quite contrary to the experiences I read, she didn’t even ask me for visa invitation, air tickets or anything else except passport. She quickly filled in all the details required. I was worried that she might give me a wrong currency card, so I reminded her that I want only AUD travel card. She pulled out a travel card kit and asked me for the initial top up amount. Total visa fees was $6160 but to keep some margin for credit card surcharge (which was 0.98 for Visa/Mastercard), I asked her to top it with $6300. As the money was deducted from my savings account and the account was sufficiently funded, it hardly took any time for me to get travel card activated and ready for use.
Filing Visa Application
You need to create separate Immi login to fill in the visa application. Thankfully, since my agent did all the hard (?) work to create login, all I had to do was to confirm the email address. Filling in the application form was a long process as it was more than 17 pages long. You have to basically write your life story, albeit succinctly. Sadly, agent was of no help here as he offloaded the task to me. So I had to carefully fill in all the details and ask him to review and approve it, which took ages by the way.
I was getting impatient as time passed by. I was worried that the later I submit the application, the longer I will be pushed back in the queue. However, my agent was in no hurry at all. Every time I would call him, he would say my application was being reviewed by experts, the same experts who goofed up my roles and responsibilities letter in the ACS stage. *facepalm*
Making Visa Payment
After long wait of over 3 weeks and few rounds of corrections as suggested by the agent, he finally gave his nod of approval to go ahead and submit the application. I read and re-read the whole application twice or thrice to make sure everything was correct. Fairly confident with everything, I pressed the Submit Now button.
Next important thing was to make the visa payment. Before doing that, I enabled the travel card for international transactions as it was disabled by default as a security feature. I filled in all the details on payment screen and with trembling hands, pressed the submit button and prayed that all would go well. In a situation like this, I always fear that something might go wrong. What will happen if the internet goes down? or the power goes off? What if the browser hangs? or the payment gateway fails? Questions like these were killing me while the page was being refreshed. It took a while to process the payment but I felt like I was sitting on fire, my heart beating faster than ever.
Finally message on the page told me that my payment was successful. Hooray! Job well done. I felt like a big bag of bricks was lifted off my shoulder. Now, the arrow had left the bow, it was up to the case officer to decide my fate. All I could do was just wait for the outcome and prepare for few final pending tasks.
Moving To Australia Series
- Moving To Australia – The Idea
- 10 Reasons Why I Chose Australia
- Which Work Visa Is Right For You?
- Should I Go With Migration Agent?
- Introduction To Skilled Visa Points System
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 1
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 1
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 3
- EOI – Express Your Desire To Migrate
- Getting Visa Invitation
- Lodging Visa Application And Making Visa Payment
- Getting Evidence of Functional English
- Undergoing Health Examination – The Whole Story
- Getting Indian PCC And The Road Ahead