Partner visa processing times

06 Sep 2018


  • Migration
couple hugging

Waiting times to receive a partner visa for a spouse, fiancé or de facto partner were notoriously long throughout 2017. Gillian Hunter, Associate with Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers, shares the good news that partner visa processing times seem to be improving!

The waiting game

If you genuinely love her, you will wait’ — (probably) a processing officer (Department of Home Affairs) circa 2017.

A major disadvantage of partner visa applications lodged offshore is that the applicant and sponsor must often endure a lengthy time apart while waiting for the Department of Home Affairs to process their visa application.

In 2017, the standard processing time published on the Home Affair’s website for a partner visa application was a whopping 21–26 months.


The processing standard can be crushing. Many couples can’t afford for the sponsor to fly back and forth to their beloved’s home country for visits. And these costs would be on top of paying the exorbitant visa application fee of approximately $7,000. For many couples across the globe, they had to effectively put their relationship on hold during the protracted processing period.

In some cases, couples have had to postpone relationship milestones, such as buying their first home or starting a family, while waiting for a decision.

For others, the tension they experienced because of the drawn-out periods of long distances, severely tested their relationship. In extreme cases, this waiting led to relationship breakdowns.

Good news

Lovebirds around the world have welcomed tAll Postshe news that the turnaround time for partner visa applications has recently been much quicker.

On 22 August 2018, Home Affairs published on their website a fresh global processing timeframe of 14–16 months. This is nearly half of the previous waiting times couple often had to wait for a decision.

The prospect of having their visa applications finalised more quickly has been an enormous relief to many of our clients.

Snedden Hall & Gallop can assist you

Prospective partner visa applicants and sponsors should note that the processing of their application can be delayed if the application isn’t ‘assessment ready’ when it’s lodged.

If you are planning to apply for a partner visa we encourage you to use a document checklist. This will ensure you have all the necessary supporting documentation about your relationship. You should also consider other documents outside of the generic partner visa checklist when trying to ‘prove’ the relationship.

We strongly recommend that you engage one of our migration lawyers to prepare, submit and manage your partner visa application. This expedites the processing time in many cases. You can contact us on 02 6285 8000 or by email. And you can find out more about migration law and our Migration team here.