Partner Visa application processing times – what’s going on?


Partner visa application processing times have increased.

I’ve noticed in the last 6 to 9 months a substantial increase in the Immigration Department’s published average processing times for onshore and offshore partner visa applications and for Prospective Marriage Visa applications.


What are the published processing times?

The Immigration Department publishes online its current average processing times here

These average processing times are updated by the Department regularly.

As at today – October 1st, 2018 – the department’s average processing times for the following visa application types are:

  • Offshore temporary partner visa (subclass 309) – 13 to 17 months
  • Onshore temporary partner visa (subclass 820) – 20 to 25 months
  • Offshore Prospective marriage visa (subclass 300) – 13 to 17 months

The recent increase in average processing times for subclass 820 onshore partner visa applications has been particularly significant – it has almost doubled.

I suspect that a reason behind this may be the Immigration department’s possible preference for partner visa applicants to apply for a partner visa from offshore, rather than from onshore.

Even more curiously, the current average processing times for the permanent partner visa stage have also increased markedly to:

  • permanent partner visa processing stage applied offshore (subclass 100) – 17 to 23 months
  • permanent partner visa processing stage applied onshore (subclass 801) – 18 to 25 months


Are these average processing times accurate?

Well, they are averages.  I’m finding that virtually all of our clients’ partner visa applications are processed more quickly than this – some much more quickly.

However, we do have a couple of client’s partner visa applications that are getting close to these average times.

Overall, there appears to be no logic to it.  Partner visa applications no longer appear to be being processed by the department in chronological order (in the order that they are received).


Can the processing be speeded up?

Without a doubt the best thing to do to potentially streamline processing is to lodge a complete, and well-prepared partner visa application.

This reduces (and often eliminates) the need for the Case Officer processing the application to request more evidence or documents from the visa applicant or the sponsor – which all takes time and creates delays.


RPM Lawyers only lodges complete and well-prepared partner visa applications.

Therefore, our clients’ applications are normally always processed quicker than the average processing times.  But please note, we can’t, and we don’t guarantee that – we just know that it normally happens.

Feel free to contact me for a consultation if you need further information about this. Cheers.

Ross McDougall

Immigration Lawyer

Tel: 08 8528 9187

This information is current at October 1st, 2018 – note that immigration law changes regularly.

Information (or the lack of it) contained here does not take into account anyone’s individual circumstances and should not be relied upon as immigration assistance or legal advice.

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