The partner visa category accounts for around 25% of Australia’s migration program, making it the largest category in the family stream. As with many visa types, partner visa processing times have continued to increase year-on-year.
Current Processing Times
The Department of Home Affairs publishes visa processing times on their website, updating it monthly to reflect any changes. This provides applicants with an indicative timeframe of how long their visa will take to process.
The latest partner visa processing times (from visa lodgement) are:
- Onshore Partner Visa (subclass 820) – 19-24 months
- Offshore Partner Visa (subclass 309) – 16-22 months
These figures are only an estimate and there are occasions when visas can take much longer (or shorter!) to process. Consequently, we always advise our clients do not make any irreversible decisions until their visas have been granted. This includes purchasing travel tickets, selling houses and leaving jobs.
Why processing times are increasing
The demand exceeds the available places for partner visas in the annual migration program, thus creating a backlog of applications and longer processing times. You can read further details in our recent news item.
Travelling to Australia before visa grant
As an immediate family member of an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, you are currently permitted to enter Australia.
The non-Australian will need to apply for a Visitor Visa (subclass 600) and provide evidence of their relationship to the Australian (for example marriage certificate).
The Department of Home Affairs is experiencing high levels of demand for exemptions and there is no guarantee of either the timing of a decision or the outcome. You should make your application at least four weeks but not more than three months in advance of travel and provide full supporting documentation. We highly recommend you have the visa and exemption in place before making travel arrangements.
Please note that all travellers arriving in Australia must undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. Most states have started charging for this, with costs starting at $2,500.00 AU.
For information on the exemption categories, application form and documentation required, see the Department of Home Affairs website.
See if you qualify for a Partner Visa by completing our free online assessment.