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How long does an Australian family visa take to process

See all articlesFamily visa approval time
Partner & Family
Australian Migration Lawyer
May 1, 2024
minute read

An overview of Australian family visas

Living apart from family members abroad can be a challenging time for any family. However, there are various legal pathways available that can facilitate family reunification within Australia.

This blog will help demystify the processing times for Australian family visas, providing some further clarification and assistance to potential applicants. For more information, or if you need additional support, contact Australian Migration Lawyers who can help you with this process.

An overview of Australian family visas

Generally, Australian Family visas allow different types of family members who reside outside of Australia to relocate here to be with a family member who is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

The term 'Australian Family visa' encompasses a broad range of visa types available for application within Australia. Consequently, there exists a variety of subclasses tailored to different circumstances and locations of applicants. Among these are the Adoption visa (subclass 102), designed for children adopted outside of Australia seeking to join their parents, and the Child visa (subclass 101/802), which enables children of parents holding valid Australian visas to apply for residency. 

For elderly relatives reliant on financial support from family members in Australia, the Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 114/838) offers an avenue for migration. In cases where an Australian relative is coping with a long-term medical condition without adequate care options, the Carer visa (subclass 116/836) facilitates the relocation of a family member to provide essential assistance. Additionally, the Remaining Relative visa (subclass 115) is available for applicants who are the sole remaining relative residing outside of Australia. For individuals with parents or partners permanently settled in Australia, a range of visas (parent visa/partner visa) may be accessible.

Australian Family visas have numerous benefits for applicants (as a majority of them are permanent, not temporary visas). Most importantly, Family visas allow for reunification of family members living apart for a variety of reasons. When a permanent visa is granted, applicants are able to stay in Australia indefinitely, work and study in Australia, enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme (Medicare), leave and re enter Australia, sponsor other eligible family members and, if eligible, apply for Australian citizenship. 

Should you require support in determining the suitable visa category for yourself or your family, assistance throughout the application procedure or any additional guidance, feel free to reach out to an Australian Migration Lawyer, who can apply their wealth of knowledge and experience to your specific circumstances.

Factors influencing processing time

Prospective applicants should understand that the processing time for applications can vary due to an array of factors.

Presently, there is a discrepancy between the amount of available visa places and the demand that exists for Family visas. Moreover, the diverse range of Family visa options, coupled with their varying costs and eligibility requirements will influence the volume of applications which are made against different subclasses.

Delays often stem from incomplete or inadequate applications. Beyond submitting the application form and paying the requisite fee, applicants usually must furnish various relevant documents to bolster their case. These documents typically include identification papers like birth certificates or any sponsorship documents such as further information about the relationship. Errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the documents that applicants lodge with the Australian Government necessitate additional time for rectification and resubmission. This is only exacerbated as Family visa applications sometimes require postal submission, with some subclasses not being able to be applied for in person or online.

Likewise, the Department may occasionally require extra time to validate applications or request applicants to meet additional criteria. This can include applicants undertaking different security and health checks. These processes can further extend the time it takes to process an application. 

At Australian Migration Lawyers, our dedicated team offers comprehensive assistance throughout the application process, ensuring accurate completion of forms and timely submission of relevant supporting evidence, mitigating the chances of any unnecessary delays arising.

Current processing times for family visas

Since each application for a Parent visa undergoes individual assessment, the duration of processing varies based on different factors, including the complexity and completeness of an application and the workload of the Department. While this variability makes it challenging to estimate the decision timeframe accurately, an Australian Migration Lawyer will strive to ensure your application is meticulously prepared and meets the high standards required, resultantly minimising any avoidable delays.

On their website, the Department of Home Affairs does publish an indicative timeline guide for how long some visa applications will take. At the time of writing, half of Child visa (subclass 802/101) applications are processed in 14-16 months, with 90% being processed within 23-29 months. Similarly, half of Adoption visa (subclass 102) applications are processed in 6 months, with 90% being processed in 20 months. It is important to remember however that these timeframes are an estimate and should only be used as a guide.

Ultimately, processing times are subject to change and can fluctuate based on the aforementioned factors, and while an Australian Migration Lawyer can assist in preventing some delays, the Department will assess the specifics of each visa application in making a decision which inevitably takes time.


Book consultation

If you are interested in getting more information about a family visa, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a consultation.


Tips for a faster processing time

At Australian Migration Lawyers we have several tips for a faster processing time.

Firstly, it is crucial to thoroughly review and complete your application in its entirety before submission. As previously mentioned, the processing and verification of applications already demand significant time. However, incomplete, inaccurate or inadequately supported applications can exacerbate processing delays. This is compounded given many Family visas must be submitted via the Australian postage system, which already adds additional time. Therefore, it is essential to meticulously review your application and gather all necessary documentation before the initial submission. 

Secondly, staying aware of any changes in Australia's immigration policies, laws or processing timelines is paramount. The visa process in Australia is subject to constant changes which is influenced by varying factors. These changes can both directly and indirectly affect a visa application and the time it takes to be processed. Keeping informed about relevant changes or information provided by the Department enables applicants to understand Australian immigration and their visa processing time.

Thirdly, engaging the services of a migration lawyer or agent, such as Australian Migration Lawyers, can offer significant advantages. Although individuals can pursue a visa independently, lawyers and agents possess extensive knowledge and experience in Australian visa matters. Therefore, these professionals can help mitigate avoidable delays and advise on the visa processing time.

How Australian Migration Lawyers can help

At Australian Migration Lawyers, we are committed to being readily accessible to prospective clients, offering personalised initial assessment and consultation. We adopt a tailored approach, providing advice relevant to the unique circumstances of each client. Our services are holistic, aiding applicants in identifying the most appropriate visa, unpacking any additional requirements and aiding in the organisation and submission of relevant supporting evidence. Furthermore, we ensure clients receive regular updates on the progress of their applications and act as representatives on their behalf for any Departmental enquiry. Visa applications can often be a challenging time for families seeking reunification, yet with the support of Australian Migration Lawyers, applicants can navigate through this process with confidence and without apprehension.

Australian Migration Lawyers

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