Family Migration Processing Times
Every year the Australian Government sets the overall migration program as part of the Budget process. The Department has a responsibility to ensure that the number of visas granted overall and within each visa category are in accordance with the planning levels.
The Department currently receives more applications than there are places available in the partner and child streams of the migration program. As a result, there has been an increase in processing times for these visas.
In what order are applications processed?
The nature of family migration is such that all cases have an emotional or compassionate element. Consequently, in the interest of fairness, applications are allocated within each visa subclass in the order of the date of lodgement and in accordance with any relevant Ministerial Directions.
New Delhi Processing Times – Family Migration
The global service standard for partner visas is 12 months. Service standards are measured from the date we receive a complete application to the date of the final decision.
The New Delhi Visa Office is currently finalising over 75% of partner visa applications within 11 months, and more than 90% within 12 months.
Applications that take longer to be processed are generally those that have been lodged with incomplete information, the applicant or their dependant has medical issues that need to be resolved, or the case is complex.
For general information on processing times see: http://www.border.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards/family-visa-processing-times
What can I do to minimise the time taken to finalise my application?
Applicants are encouraged to ensure that the relevant documents recommended in the Partner Visa Application Checklist are provided with the application.
Any change in circumstance or to personal details should be provided by email to the New Delhi visa office without delay. Please include your name, date of birth, passport number, and your file number.
Health & Character
Complete applications are generally processed faster. As per the checklist, this includes providing penal clearance certificates along with your application and completing health requirements prior to submitting your application or as soon as we request you to undertake them.
For penal clearance certificate requirements see:
To process your medicals prior to lodging your application see:
How do I submit additional documents required for my application?
Please refer to the relevant section below depending on the mode of lodgement of your application:
- E-lodged cases
Applicants should upload documents through ImmiAccount. The online system allows 60 files to be uploaded per person. Each file size can be 5MB in total and can comprise multiple pages.
Applicants are requested not to send any hard copies of documents to the New Delhi visa office. Documents sent through mail or email risk not being linked with the E-lodged case and may cause delays to the processing of the application.
Should the case officer require any original documents, they will be specifically requested.
- Applications lodged with VFS or the New Delhi visa office
Applicants are encouraged to submit all requested documents together.
Prior to lodgement of an application, applicants should refer to the Partner Visa Application Checklist to ensure they include all the required documents with the application.
Original documents should only be provided if specifically requested by the case officer.
Applicants are encouraged to send scanned copies of their documents by email to their case officer.
What happens after a Partner visa application is lodged?
- Stage 1 – Registration of application
After an application is lodged, it is registered in our systems. The applicant will receive a confirmation of the registration of their application and will be advised of their case file number and the estimated timeframe for processing.
- Stage 2 - Assessment
The application is assigned to a case officer and an initial assessment of the application is undertaken.
If the information provided with the application is incomplete, the applicant will be requested to provide the information within a specified timeframe. Failure to reply within the specified timeframe may result in an adverse decision being taken on the application.
The time taken to assess an application can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, medical issues that need to be resolved, the requirement for an interview and/or the need for 3rd party checks.
If an interview is required, the applicant will be contacted by the case officer to make arrangements for an appointment at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi.
The case officer will provide the applicant with updates on the progress of the case at key points during the assessment stage.
- Stage 3 - Decision
Once there is sufficient information for a decision to be made, the case officer will proceed with a final assessment of the application. The decision maker will contact the applicant to determine whether the relationship is ongoing.
A decision to grant a Partner Visa application that has been lodged outside of Australia can only be made when the applicant is outside Australia. If an applicant is in Australia when the application is ready for finalisation, they will be asked to provide details of when they plan to leave Australia.
If I fall pregnant before my visa is granted, what do I need to do?
As a first step, the applicant is required to inform their case officer or the New Delhi visa office about the change in circumstance as soon as possible. The applicant will be required to provide medical evidence of the pregnancy.
One of the conditions for a Partner Visa requires the applicant to enter Australia before a specified date. In the interests of the safety of the pregnant passenger and the unborn child, most airlines prohibit pregnant passengers from travelling beyond a certain point in pregnancy.
Pregnant applicants who are unable to travel or who choose to deliver their child in India are encouraged to request the New Delhi visa office to hold their visa application until after the birth of their child. This will prevent a breach of the entry condition.
If the applicant chooses to deliver their child in India and their visa application is under process at the time of the child’s birth, the child is automatically considered a secondary applicant of the Partner Visa application. To ensure the child is granted a visa at the same time as the primary applicant, the applicant should inform their case officer or the New Delhi visa office about the birth of the child and submit the child’s birth certificate as soon as possible after delivery.
The child will be assessed accordingly and further evidence such as medical examinations and Police Clearance Certificates for the Sponsor will be requested. Once all the requirements are met, the child will be granted a visa at the same time as the primary applicant.
Will my case be expedited?
The Department regularly receives requests for applications to be expedited for the applicant to deliver their child in Australia. We acknowledge that your personal circumstances may be difficult however; pregnancy is not considered a compelling circumstance to expedite an application.
A decision on the application can be made as soon as the case officer has assessed that there is sufficient information available.
My spouse and I have had a child after my visa has been granted. What do we need to do?
- If either parent is an Australian Citizen, please see: Citizenship by Descent
- If either parent is a Permanent resident of Australia, please see: Children born to a permanent resident of Australia
- If either parent has been granted a Provisional Partner Visa and is currently being considered for a Permanent Partner Visa, please see: Dependent Child
I have lodged my Partner Visa application. Can I visit my spouse in Australia temporarily while my application is being processed?
The Department understands that long-term separation from a spouse can be difficult. As such, once an application for a Partner Visa has been lodged, the applicant may apply for a Visitor Visa to visit their spouse temporarily. The Visitor Visa application is decided against a different set of criteria from the Partner Visa and the outcome of the application is based on the merits of that application.
Applicants can refer to Family Migration - Questions and Answers on Processing Times for more information on applying for a Visitor Visa and the ‘outside Australia’ condition for grant of the Partner visa.
Contacting the High Commission
We are currently experiencing very high call and email volumes from migration clients.
The information provided by the New Delhi visa office is in accordance to the information provided on the website. Please consider this and take into account the information on the website before contacting the Australian High Commission.
All queries are directed to the Immigration help desk in the first instance. Only queries relating to a need for urgent travel, a change in circumstances or relating to applications falling outside the service standard will be directed to a case officer.
Please extend your support by keeping contact with your case officer to a minimum. Time spent responding to emails and calls have a significant impact on the processing time of an application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants are strongly encouraged to refer to the comprehensive information provided on Family Migration - Questions and Answers on Processing Times for more details and to answer any queries.