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How long does an Australian parent visa take to process

See all articlesParent visa approval time
Partner & Family
Australian Migration Lawyer
May 3, 2024
minute read

An overview of Australian parent visa timelines

Living away from your children abroad can be a stressful and difficult time in any parent's life, and many elderly parents would benefit from living close to their children in order to provide support. These factors have been recognised by the Australian Government, and as a result there are various visa types available that recognise the importance of family reunification.

This blog will provide an overview of processing times for an Australian parent visa, and provide advice on how to ensure a smooth application process. For more information or if you need additional support, contact an Australian Migration Lawyer today.

Understanding Australian parent visas

Broadly, an Australian Parent visa facilitates the relocation of parents living outside of Australia to live and stay in Australia with their child who is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

There are various different types of Parent visa subclasses, with some visa types only providing temporary visas, so it is important to consider your circumstances before you apply for a visa. The Parent Visa (subclass 103) has broad eligibility requirements and is not based on an applicant's age, whereas, for parents who meet the age criteria linked to the Australian age pension, the Australian Aged Parent visa (subclass 804) may be a more suitable option. Alternatively, for applicants and families who are willing to pay an increased visa fee, the Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143/173 or subclass 864) is available. For applicants who just want to visit Australia, the Sponsored Parent visa (subclass 870) is a fantastic option. 

The eligibility criteria for a Parent visa can vary depending on what is applied for. All visas require that applicants are a parent of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and are subject to health and character requirements. However, some visa options are subject to a balance of family test (a test requiring that at least half of the applicant's children must be living in Australia), family unit requirements or an assurance of support. 

Parent visas do have several benefits that will depend on whether the visa is a permanent or temporary visa. A permanent visa allows applicants to remain in Australia indefinitely, work and live in Australia, enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme (Medicare), leave and re enter Australia, sponsor other eligible family members and apply for Australian citizenship if eligible. While temporary visas do not provide Australian permanent residence (and its associated benefits), a temporary visa still allows for entry into Australia, can be more cost effective, can have shorter processing times and may have more lenient requirements.

If you or your family need assistance identifying what visa type is appropriate for you, guidance during the application process or any further advice, contact an Australian Migration Lawyer who can help you with Australian Parent visas.

Factors influencing processing times

Applicants should be aware that there are a number of reasons why the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ application processing time can fluctuate.

Currently, for Parent visas, there is a significant difference between the supply of visa places and the demand from families seeking reunification. Additionally, while there are various different types of Parent visas available, the visa costs and circumstances of each type can affect the number of applications which are received for different subclasses, further compounding any application backlogs.

Delays will also arise if applications are incomplete or insufficient. On top of submitting the visa application form and paying the visa fee, applicants will also need to provide several required documents to support their application. These supporting documents will often include identification documents such as the applicant’s birth certificate or relevant sponsor documents like an assurance of support. Where these forms are incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, it will take additional time for these issues to be resolved and any required documentation resubmitted to the Department for consideration.

Similarly, sometimes the Department may need additional time to verify the application or request that an applicant undergo further requirements to assess their eligibility. When this occurs it will also increase how long an application may take.

At Australian Migration Lawyers, our team will guide you throughout the application process to ensure that the application form is completed correctly and that any supporting documentation is provided where relevant to minimise the risk of unnecessary delays. 

Current processing times for Australian parent visas

As applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, processing times for a Parent visa are subject to the complexity of your case, the completeness of your application and the caseload being processed by the Department of Home Affairs. While this can make predicting the timeframe for a decision difficult, an Australian Migration Lawyer will endeavour to ensure your application is of a high standard and comprehensive to help reduce mitigable delays.

The Department, on their website, does provide provisional timelines for each Parent visa type. At the time of writing, these processing times range from 137 days to 9 months for temporary visas, with permanent visas potentially taking a minimum of 12 years due to increasing demand. These processing times highlight the importance of submitting an application properly at the first instance, something that an Australian Migration Lawyer is able to assist with. 

Applicants should be aware that all Parent visa applications are subject to capping and queuing. ‘Capping’ refers to there being a maximum number of available visas that can be granted each migration program year, which when exhausted, means no more of that visa type cannot be granted, placing all remaining applications in a ‘queue’. This is a process which inevitably increases how the final processing of a visa application will take. Although an Australian Migration Lawyer cannot change these circumstances, they are able to assist a prospective visa holder to explore other options that may be available.


Book consultation

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


Tips for a smooth application process

At Australian Migration Lawyers, we do have several tips to recommend to ensure that you have a smooth parent visa application process.

Firstly, it is important to make sure that your application is correct and complete before it is submitted. As we have detailed above, applications already take a long time to be processed and verified. This process however can take even longer where an application is incomplete, incorrect or does not include sufficient supporting documentation. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that before initially submitting the application, it is vigorously checked and all relevant material is collected.

Secondly, staying up-to-date with any changes in Australia's immigration policies, Australian laws or processing times is important.  Australia’s immigration landscape is constantly changing and is impacted by a range of factors. This can have direct and indirect implications on any visa applications, and can change how long the process takes. Being aware of these changes or any relevant information published by the Department allows any prospective applicant to remain informed about how their application is being processed.

Thirdly, using a migration lawyer or agent, like Australian Migration Lawyers, can provide immense benefits. While the visa application process can be undertaken independently, a lawyer or agent has immense knowledge and experience pertaining to Australian visas. As a result, these professionals can help ensure that any avoidable delays are prevented and support applicants during the process.

How Australian Migration Lawyers can help

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.

Australian Migration Lawyers

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