What are Visa Processing Times.


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A reminder on Australian Visa Processing Time calculations.

For this explanation I will use examples of the subclass 309 visa.

In 2019-20, there were 11,702 subclass 309 visas granted.

The average processing time during that period was 11 months.
That means that half were finalised in under 11 months, and half took over 11 months.

The official processing time figures were quoted as 15-19 for that period, with a further breakdown of:

25% took under 9 months.
25% took between 9 and 11 months.
25% took between 11 and 15 months.
15% took between 15 and 19 months.
10% took over 19 months.


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Some people get confused by the way that immigration quote the visa processing times.

What does that 15-19 really mean?

It means that 75% were finalised in 15 months or less and 10% took OVER 19 months.
Therefore 15% took between 15 and 19 months.

It does NOT mean that they all took between 15 and 19 months. (Even though some websites say it does.)

I have seen at least one immigration agent saying that visa processing takes between those two numbers.

But the official immigration website does specify that 75% took up to the first number of months in their quoted figures.

Who decides how long a visa takes to be processed?

The answer to that question is really a combination of the applicant, the case officers, and various other people, some being in government departments in the applicants own country, involved in the application.

If the applicant submits a perfect application it can speed up the process.

If other organisations, such as the overseas ones that confirm security checks etc., are slow, then that can slow down the process.

If cases officers are overburdened by exessive numbers of cases or enquiries, then that might slow down the processing.

And of course if the limits on total grants available is not sufficient for the number of applications, that will hold back the processing time for some visas.

Where do the numbers such as 15-19 come from?

Some people are told that their visa application will take a specific time, such as 15-19 months after they apply, but then notice that the time frame changes each month.

The numbers do change, normally about the 20th of each month.

The numbers are actually the real times for the visas finalised in the previous month, and are given as a guide, not as a guarantee of your own application.

Fastest and Slowest AVERAGE times in 2020.

The subclass 309 average for 2020 was 11 months, but these average processing times vary throughout the year, as shown by these examples.

  • The fastest average time for subclass 309 processing during 2020 was in April 2020, with an average of 8 months.
  • The slowest average times for subclass 309 processing during 2020 were in June, August and September 2020, with an average of 14 months.

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The information we give is based on personal experiences, reading and formulation of available statistics.
Some Visa Applicants might find an Experienced Australian Migration Agent of great assistance.

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