Processing times for Australian visas vary depending upon the subclass of visa that you are applying for. For most visas subclasses the Department of Home Affairs provides an indicative processing timeframe which is updated monthly and available on their website. On the Department’s website, two processing times are displayed in calendar days, indicating how long it is taking to finalize 75 and 90 percent of applications submitted globally. For example, the Department current advises that for subclass 309 partner visa applications, 75% are processed in 15 months, and 90% are processed in 20 months.
Australian visa Processing times for a particular subclass can vary enormously too. For example, the Department currently advises that a Resident Return Visa is processed between 2 and 57 days. Therefore if you are an Australian permanent resident who needs to renew their Resident Return Visa you should do so at least 12 weeks prior to any travel where your Resident Return Visa will be required.
Australian Visa processing times are indicative only
It is important to note that processing times are indicative only and vary for a variety of different reasons, including, application volumes, seasonal peaks, complex cases, and incomplete applications. An example of a seasonal peak for those from Thailand wishing to visit Australia on a tourist visa would be during the Songkran period (Thai New Year). It is advisable to submit your tourist visa application at least one month before your proposed date of travel to Australia, and never make any bookings (flight and accommodation, etc) until you have confirmation that your tourist visa has been granted. The Department will not prioritize your tourist visa application because you have flights or accommodation that you cannot cancel.
I am applying for a partner visa. Is my application considered to be compassionate and compelling?
By the very nature of family visas, it could be said that compassionate and compelling circumstances exist that warrant applications being prioritized. However, this would simply not be possible for all family visas. Of course, every applicant and sponsor want their application processed in the least amount of time so that they can be with their loved ones.
The Department of immigration processes family migration applications in a processing priority order regardless of when an application is lodged and in line with the Government’s policy priorities. To be considered for priority processing applicant circumstances should be more compelling and compassionate than that of the majority of other family visa applicants. For example, being pregnant is no doubt compassionate and compelling, but would not generally in itself amount to an application being given priority processing as there would be a significant number of other applicants that are also pregnant and in the same of similar circumstances. If the Department was to give priority processing to one applicant who was pregnant and not the other, then this may be seen as unfair. It should be noted that all requests for priority processing will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is important to submit all available evidence that supports your request.
We have previously had success with a partner visa applicant from Thailand who we requested priority processing for. The applicant had applied for a subclass 309 partner visa. During the processing period, the applicant’s husband (sponsor) was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Evidence of this was provided to the Department who agreed that compassionate and compelling circumstances existed to prioritize the applicant’s partner visa application. Although the Department agreed to prioritize the applicant’s partner visa application, it was still necessary to provide a complete application that met all the criteria for the grant of the partner visa. This also included the required health and character assessments.