Australian High Commission
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Also accredited to the Republic of Maldives

Migrating to Australia

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in Colombo processes a range of partner, child, and other family visas for applicants in Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh. The information below is intended to address common enquiries we receive. For general information about eligibility and visa options see: Bringing your family or partners. Other questions and answers about Family Migration can be found at: Family Migration Questions and Answers.

Our preferred lodgement method for partner visas is online through ImmiAccount. For more information and to start an application to go:

All other family visas can be lodged in person by appointment at our Australian Visa Application Centres (AVAC) in Colombo or Dhaka. For more information on lodging an application in person see: How to lodge an application.

Refer to our local visa checklists for guidance on the types of supporting documentation that should accompany your application.

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.

Applications are allocated within each visa subclass in the order of the date of lodgement and in accordance with any relevant Ministerial Directions.

Information on global processing times can be found at: Family visa processing times. Timeframes are measured from the date we receive a complete application to the date of the final decision.

How can I reduce processing delays?

The size of the Migration Program is a significant factor in the time taken to process visa applications and this cannot be changed but there are still some things you can do to make sure your application is processed as quickly as possible. You can assist by:

  • undertaking health and character checks before you lodge your application. See our instructions for completing medicals before lodging your visa application.
  • providing with your application all the required documents, including a completed Form 80. Refer to our local visa checklists for guidance on the types of supporting documentation that should accompany your application. Only lodge your application once you have gathered all the required supporting documents.
  • providing any requested documents as soon as possible (for e-lodged applications all documents should be provided through ImmiAccount; for paper applications documents should be handed over at the AVAC or delivered to the Australian High Commission in Colombo with the file reference written on each page). Please note that applicants are required to provide original Penal Clearance Certificates which should be sent by registered mail or hand delivered to the Autralian High Commission in Colombo with your file reference written on the top right corner.
  • not contacting us to request status updates on the processing of your application. Please note that we will not respond to these enquiries where the application is within the advertised visa processing service standard timeframes. If you have lodged your application online, you can check the progress using your ImmiAccount.
  • advise us immediately if your situation changes, such as your relationship breaks down, you get married, or you have a child. For applications lodged online, you can appoint or withdrawal an authorised recipient, change your contact details, update your passport details or notify a change in your circumstances via ImmiAccount. For paper applications, Form 1022 should be completed and handed over at the AVAC or delivered to the Australian High Commission in Colombo.
  • Ensuring that you are outside Australia at the time your visa application is to be finalised. We are not able to finalise certain visa applications when the applicant is in Australia.

If you are applying for Partner Migration, please ensure you have read the local visa checklist, as well as the information found on the DIBP website at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Brin/Part. Unnecessary delays will be avoided if your application is complete and includes all relevant supporting documents.

What happens to my application after I have applied?

  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 file number.
  2. Initial assessment - An initial assessment of the application is undertaken by a visa processing officer. If 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 third party checks. If an interview is required, the applicant will be contacted by a visa processing officer to make arrangements for an appointment at the Australian High Commission in Colombo or Dhaka.
  3. Final assessment - Once there is sufficient information for a decision to be made, a visa processing officer will proceed with a final assessment of the application.
  4. Decision - The application is finalised by a delegate.

We aim to finalise 75% of all applications within the global processing times. However the actual processing time for each application may vary significantly.

What if I fall pregnant before my partner visa is granted?

As a first step, you are required to inform the Department about your change in circumstances as soon as possible. For applications lodged online, notify a change in your circumstances and upload medical evidence of your pregnancy via ImmiAccount. For paper applications, Form 1022 should be completed and medical evidence of your pregenancy attached and handed over at the AVAC or delivered to the Australian High Commission in Colombo.

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 before travelling to Australia are encouraged to request the Department to hold their visa application until after the birth of their child. This will prevent a breach of the entry condition.

If the applicant delivers their child in Sri Lanka and their visa application is under active processing at the time of the child’s birth, the child is automatically considered a secondary applicant on the application. To ensure the child is granted a visa at the same time as the primary applicant, the applicant should inform the Department about the birth of the child and submit the child’s birth certificate as soon as possible after delivery. Where possible, this should be done by uploading the birth certificate to ImmiAccount. For paper applications, a certified copy of the birth certificate with the file reference number written in the top right corner should be given to the AVAC or delivered to the Australian High Commission in Colombo.

The child will be assessed accordingly and further evidence such as medical examinations and penal clearance certificates for the sponsor may be requested. Once all the requirements are met, the child will be granted a visa at the same time as the primary applicant.

Please note, pregnancy is not considered a compelling circumstance to expedite an application.

My spouse and I had a child afer my partner visa was granted. What do we need to do?

Can I visit my spouse in Australia while my partner 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 in Australia temporarily. Visitor visas should not be used for long-term stays, for residence in Australia or for the purpose of remaining in Australia for extended periods while awaiting a migration outcome.

A 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. Among other requirements, the genuine visitor criterion must be met. Please note, you will need to provide biometrics each time you apply for a visa to Australia.

Applicants who travel to Australia on a temporary visa while waiting for their family stream visa application to be processed by should inform the Department about their planned visit to Australia with their arrival and departure dates. They should also be aware that they may be required to attend an interview at the Australian High Commission in Colombo or Dhaka as well as other third party appointments (e.g. medicals, Biometrics) and failure to attend these may result in delays in processing the application or refusal. Please note that arrangements for biometrics to be undertaken onshore will only be made in cases where there are extenuating circumstances.

If an application for a family stream visa was made outside Australia the visa generally cannot be granted while the applicant is in Australia. The exception is where a combined application was made for a subclass 309 (provisional) partner visa and a subclass 100 (migrant) partner visa. In such cases the permanent partner visa may be granted in Australia provided the applicant holds the subclass 309 visa.