It’s difficult to give an indication as to how long it takes for your visa application to be processed. Visa processing times are something over which no immigration lawyer has any control. Once a visa application is lodged, all of us are at the mercy of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Under the Migration Act 1958, the Minister (or its delegated decision-maker) can deal with applications in the order he or she sees fit.

This photo is of silhouettes of a queue of people against a tall fence. Photo by Angela Wylie, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. For original use see source.
Photo by Angela Wylie, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. Click here for the original article with the image.


The Department of Immigration has service standards

You may not be aware, but the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has service standards that apply to processing times.

Each type of visa has a different set of processing times. This is partly because the detail for each visa type is different. And it is also partly because the volume of visa applications received varies widely.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection aims to process 75% of visa applications within the times specified. You can read more about that on their website.

How long does it take for family and partner visas to be processed?

There are a large number of reasons why visas can be delayed. Below are just a few of them:

  • misunderstood visa requirements
  • health issues
  • complications arising from your security status
  • complications arising from your criminal history
  • the quality of your evidence
  • the quality of your documentation
  • requests for more information
  • … and so on.

Example of visa processing times, from the Department

This table of family visa processing times is a screenshot of the Department of Immigration's website. For accurate information please visit Image captured January 2015.
Family visa processing times, captured January 2015


Can I get specific times for how long my visa application will take?

No, you can’t. However, a good immigration lawyer will be experienced enough to give you an indication as to how long your specific application is likely to take. Be aware that, even in this case, everyone can be caught by surprise. This is particularly the case when the Department of Immigration has staffing issues or changes to procedure.

Contact Richard for an assessment of your specific application needs »