Update: Onshore Partner / Spouse Visa Processing Time – November 2012


DIAC sent around the below update on 15 November 2012 in relation to current processing times for onshore partner /spouse visa applications. Applicants who are waiting for a decision on their application probably already know this: the news is that currently processing times are very lengthy. DIAC’s update states that ‘the current average processing time for subclass 820 applications is around 13 months from lodgement’ and before you ask, I don’t know how long DIAC is going to take to process your application.

Summary of DIAC’s update

  •  Average processing times of 13 months from the date of lodgement for Subclass 820 visa applications
  • Actual processing times vary significantly
  • DIAC wants you to lodge complete and decision ready-applications. But DIAC ‘can no longer guarantee that all “assessment ready” applications will be processed more quickly’
  • DIAC will check your application after lodgement to determine whether it is complete and decision-ready
  • If your application hasn’t been in the queue for at least 13 months, DIAC won’t provide you with an update. If you’ve been waiting for more than 13 months, then you can following up by emailing the relevant processing time

DIAC’s update

Dear Migration Agents

I have received the following update from DIAC today from the Director of Partner Migration:

‘The onshore partner visa program is experiencing strong demand, and as a result, the current average processing time for subclass 820 applications is around 13 months from lodgement. This is an average processing time and the actual processing time for each application may vary significantly.

To ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible we request that applications are only lodged when they are complete, including health and character checks and completing Form 80.

Generally, applications are considered in date order but some applications will take longer to finalise than others. Applications which will be prioritised include those which have been remitted following successful review or Ministerial Intervention, and applications which have special circumstances of a compelling and compassionate nature.

Applications which may be decided more quickly include those involving family violence, and those which are “assessment ready” at lodgement.

Following a successful campaign to encourage “assessment ready” cases, we now have a considerable number on hand and can no longer guarantee that all “assessment ready” applications will be processed more quickly.  The time to decide assessment ready applications will vary due to a number of factors, including the need for further investigation or external checking, the large proportion of applications which are assessment ready and the need to progress other applications in a fair and timely manner.

Applications which are “assessment ready” are automatically identified as such by us when we receive them and so there is no need to contact us separately about this.

We are unable to provide progress reports for applications lodged less than 13 months ago. If your application was lodged more than 13 months ago, the preferred mechanism for seeking an update on the status of that application is to write to the email box of the relevant processing team. Requests for priority processing on the grounds of special circumstances should also be directed to these email mailboxes.

I hope this information is helpful to your members.

How we can help

Please Contact Us if you require our assistance.

Our Client Testimonials reflect:

  • the high quality and highly personalised service that we provide
  • the excellence of our work
  • our ability to achieve the outcomes that our clients want
  • our willingness and ability to go ‘above and beyond’

Whether you need comprehensive assistance with an application, assistance and representation with a review application with the Migration Review Tribunal, Refugee Review Tribunal or Administrative Appeals Tribunal, or just a one off consultation, we will provide you with the advice and service that you require.

20 thoughts on “Update: Onshore Partner / Spouse Visa Processing Time – November 2012

  1. Sari

    Hi Peng,
    Does the 13 months start from the date of lodging initial paperwork..? Or after the character, medical and police checks are lodged?

  2. saeed faheem

    I have applied for 820 visa but even after 20 months,I didn,t hear anything from my Case officer.can I please ask whether this delay with the external checks would effect on visa 801 time frame as well.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Saeed – I doubt that DIAC would complete the external check again for the 801 visa.

  3. Pinky

    Hi Peng,

    Currenlty I am holding a 485 spouse visa which expires on 03/2014. My husband got his permanent residency a month ago. Now I need to apply for partner visa 820. Can you please let me know the visa charges for this.


  4. Thu

    My partner is on the 820 visa and Immigration had sent us the application files for the submission to be assessed for the 801 visa a while ago. We’ve submitted 2 months ago already, and the 2 years mark (from the date we lodge the application) is in the next 3 weeks. How long does it normally take to get the 801 after the 2 years is up?

    Also, once my partner is a on the 801 visa, how will it be considered for him to obtain citizenship? I have been offered an expatriate position overseas (for 2 years) and have to move overseas in November, so my partner will be coming along too. Would this affect him for citizenship? (being away from Australia for 2 years?).

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Thu,
      Sorry but I can’t predict or explain processing times.
      The residency requirement for citizenship is – To satisfy the residence requirements you must have:

      1) 4 years lawful residence in Australia. This period must include 12 months as a permanent resident immediately before making an application for Australian citizenship; and
      2) absences from Australia of no more than 12 months in total in the 4 years prior to application, including not more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately prior to application.

  5. Su Yin

    Hi Peng Cheng,

    My partner and I lodged his partner visa application via paper lodgement on 21 August 2013. His current student visa expires 5 September 2013.

    How long does Immigration take to send an email confirming Bridging Visa A is granted once current visa expires? Do we automatically assume Bridging Visa A comes into effect once student visa expire?

    What should we do if we do not hear from Immigration prior to 5 September 2013? Do we need to follow up?

    Thank you kindly for your help.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Su Yin,
      Usually within a week after the application is lodged. You can call DIAC, ensure that they have received the application and that a BVA is granted.

  6. naz

    Hi Peng,

    My husband has applied for onshore partner visa 820-801 in December 2011. Case officer assigned in April 2013.
    we have been waiting for almost two years and yet CO can advise us that its going through internal checks.
    how much longer do we have to wait till my husband is granted his visa? The processing time for him has already passed DIAC 13 month “wait time”. Surely it doesn’t take this long to process on shore visa?

    is there anyway I can escalate it through case office?

    any advise ?


    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Naz,
      There is no time frame for how long internal checks can take – particularly if it is a security check because these may need to be completed by a ASIO, which is a different government organisation. All you can really do is wait – you can ask your case officer for the contact details of their manager, but I don’t think that it’ll make much difference if you raise it with the manager.

  7. Tom

    Hi Peng,

    This website has been one of the most helpful resources in answering many of the questions my partner and I have been unable to find elsewhere. Thank you.

    My Canadian partner and I are hoping to apply for the defacto partner visa from Australia early next year. She has previously held a Working Holiday visa, so at this stage she is hoping to enter Australia on a tourist visa or ETA (Electronic Travel Authority), then apply for for the partner visa and subsequent bridging visa once we are together in Australia. The IMMI informed us that it entering on a tourist visa may not be a valid option as a tourist visa is not recognised as a ‘substantive’ visa. Can you confirm if any of the below options are recognised as ‘substantive’ visas?
    601 – ETA (Electronic Travel Authority)
    600 – Visitor
    651 – eVisitor

    Thank you again for an extremely helpful website.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Tom,
      All the above are substantive visas (which are basically all visas except for bridging visas). She would be applying for a 601 visa.

  8. SanRan

    Hi, I applied for 820/801 in Aug 2011 and got my temp. 820 in July 2013.
    Do i just sit and wait to hear from DIAC to submit in more docs for 801?
    Or i can just apply online for 801 myself submitting in whats required online?

  9. Vina

    Hi Peng, my husband lodge his application for visa 820/801 since 4 dec 2012, and on 19 dec 2012, he is holding Bvc. We are planning to celebrate our wedding party with all our family and relative in our country 1 yeasr later after lodgement as our most family member still living in our country and my husband’mother too old to traveling overseas. We have explained this many times to diac And Ask for their understantable to give us permitioan for traveling as we know basicly, Bvc is not allow for travel. We also provide evidence, such as recipe of anything relates for the wedding reception. 2 weeks ago, diac answer us email, they commencing dec 2012 application and will process our application shortly. Just for a note: from 3 weeks ago, we have medical check up and police clearance, so basicly now my application is ready for assesment. Based on your experience ic you see my cAse, how long i have to wait to for visa to granted after med chck up? Thanks

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Vina,
      Sorry but we can’t predict the processing time for applications – that is completely within the control of the case officer that is assessing the case. I think that you should understand from your own queries that it is not possible to predict when a decision will be made.

  10. fahim

    Hi peng
    I applied for 820 partner visa on 6 dec 2012 and the give bridging and after 8 month when i contact to diac the assign me the case officer but the case officer send me email about that break up of our relationship which was wrong and after that i submit the affidavit of our relationship and when i talk to case officer he say some one call us from Melbourne but he dont tell us who was that.and then after the send me email to submit the national police check,medical check and some other document after i submit that document in dec 2013.then he say to me your case is in internal investigation and its from last 3 month i dont know how long its take when i talk to case officer last month he say to me that your application is in final stage but i am waiting from internal investigation people and he dont need no more document from me and i have a daughter of 14 month. can you please guide me what i have to do thank. and your page have alot of information which i really appreciate. thanks

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Fahim,
      Your application is under internal investigation – there is honestly not much that we can say about this. With such complicated applications, we’d really need to have a look at the application yourselves before we can provide advice.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>