WORLD YOUTH DAY PILGRIMS URGED TO LODGE VISA APPLICATIONS
World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) will be held in Sydney, Australia, from 15 – 20 July. Up to 500,000 people from around the world are expected to join Pope Benedict XVI in celebrating WYD08. Thousands of Filipinos are expected to be among them.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith, reminded Filipinos planning to join the pilgrimage to WYD08 that they should immediately lodge their visa applications. Visa processing will continue up until the start of World Youth Day but early lodgment of applications will help avoid delays in processing.
“A large number of visa applications is still expected and we can not guarantee that applications will be finalised in time for World Youth Day unless they are lodged well before the date of travel,” Ambassador Smith said, “While the Embassy will do its best to finalise late applications in time, it would be disappointing for pilgrims to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity because they left their visa application too late”.
As at 20 May, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) had issued more than 30,000 visas to World Youth Day participants from around the world. In the Philippines, the number of visa applications lodged with the Australian Embassy has so far been lower than expected. The Embassy pointed out common problems encountered in processing visas were that applicants had no endorsement by their local Bishop, did not provide enough evidence of access to funds to pay for the trip, or the applicant did not register with WYD before applying for their visa. The department advised applicants to apply as soon as possible to allow time for visa approval and flight bookings.
More details on how to apply for a visa are available through the World Youth Day website or on the Embassy website: www.philippines.embassy.gov.au.