What is the processing time for an off-shore partner visa application? (defacto partner or married partner – not prospective marriage)
Processing Time For Offshore Partner Visa
Immigration has recently reduced its published processing times for off-shore partner visas to 12 months, for most (three quarters) of all applications.
Which is faster?
Where your partner visa application is lodged off-shore, then you can expect to have the decision made sooner than if your application was made on-shore.
This makes sense for at least two reasons.
Bridging visa eligibility
One reason that processing time is faster for off-shore applications is that your migrating partner (off-shore) doesn’t have the benefit of a bridging visa associated with their off-shore visa application lodgement. You would otherwise be expected to be separated from each other for a longer period.
The other reason that visa application processing time is faster for off-shore applications is that on-shore partner visa applications will usually allow migrating partners to get full work rights, while waiting in Australia for their visa decision to be made.
What’s the problem?
The Immigration Department presumably takes the view that if your loved one is with you in Australia and has full work rights, then “what’s the problem” in waiting for an extended period time for the visa grant decision to be made?
For these two reasons, there is suitablynot as much urgency associated with on-shore (subclass 820) visa application processing.
Difference in processing time
The processing time for three quarters of all on-shore partner visa applications is accordingly longer at 21 months in the case of three quarters of all applications made for partner visas onshore. Remember, the published processing time is 12 months for on-shore applications.
Life on hold
Ofcourse the Department might not appreciate that your life and your partner’s life is effectively kept “on hold” until a decision is ultimately made, even if an onshore application is made. This is very stressful for almost all partner visa applicants and their sponsors and dependents.
Can it be faster?
It is my experience that complete applications which are lodged online and with the assistance of confident and reputable migration agents tend to get looked at quicker and also tend to get approved quicker.
Last updated: 19 December 2018 (for month ending 30 November 2018) this article updated as at 1 January 2019.