Service standards

On this page

We individually and collectively uphold the Australian Public Service values. We are:

  • committed to service – we are professional objective innovative and efficient and we work collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government
  • accountable – we are open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of Ministerial responsibility
  • respectful – we respect all people including their rights and their heritage
  • ethical – we demonstrate leadership, are trustworthy and act with integrity and honesty to deliver results to the community
  • impartial – we are apolitical and provide the Government with advice that is frank honest timely and based on the best available evidence.

Our service standards

Our service standards describe the level of service we aim to deliver.

As officers of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, we will:

  • work as a professional service to deliver client service while managing areas of risk
  • treat you with courtesy and respect and work to connect colleagues partners and clients to enhance the quality of Australia's society economy and national security
  • explore opportunities to leverage existing common platforms common services and other capabilities across government to improve the client experience
  • invest in innovative and digital solutions to promote process improvement and allow clients to access our services at a time place and on a device convenient to them
  • be fair open and reasonable in all that we do
  • give you clear accurate and timely information or help you to find it
  • collect store use and disclose your personal information in accordance with relevant Australian law.

Service standards relevant to individuals

Visa applications

We aim to decide 75 per cent of  visa applications in the timeframe specified for the relevant visa category.

Actual processing times are dependent on a number of factors, such as:

  • whether you have provided all necessary supporting documents when you lodge your application
  • how well and how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to complete any required checks on information you have provided to support your application
  • how long it takes to receive additional information required from areas outside the department particularly in relation to health character and national security
  • how many places are available in the migration programme.

The decision to grant or refuse your visa application is decided on the information and documentation that you include at the time of lodgement.

Information on what you need to know before you lodge your visa application

Information on what you need to know and what you can expect after lodging your visa application

Citizenship applications

We aim to decide 80 per cent of citizenship applications in the following timeframes:

These processing times apply from the date your application is received by us. The time it takes to process your application will vary according to a number of factors, such as

  • whether you have provided all necessary supporting documents when you lodge your application
  • how well and how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to verify the information you have provided to support your application time taken to attend a Citizenship Ceremony or receive a Citizenship Certificate.

Information on what you need to know before your citizenship test or interview

Information on what you need to know and what you can expect after your citizenship test/interview

Air and sea traveller processing

We aim to complete the primary customs and immigration formalities for arriving air travellers within 30 minutes of joining the inwards passport processing queue. We aim to complete the primary customs immigration formalities for departing air travellers within 10 minutes of joining the outwards passport processing queue. We aim to process sea travellers as soon as possible once you arrive at the departing or arrival processing point.

Personal Search

This includes a frisk search (undertaken in a private room by request), the partial or full removal of your clothing or an internal search. An internal search will only be undertaken by a qualified medical practitioner at an approved medical facility. A Border Force officer will clearly explain the reasons for the search and allow you to allay any concerns. You will be advised of your legal rights and your consent or the lawful instruction of an authorised party, in some cases a magistrate or judge, will be sought prior to any personal search being undertaken.

Refunds under the Tourist Refund Scheme

We aim to process credit card and Australian bank account refunds for the Goods and Services Tax and/or Wine Equalisation Tax under the Tourist Refund Scheme within five business days. We aim to post cheque refunds within 15 business days.

Lodging a documentary import declaration for postal items

We aim to process your postal import declaration within five working days of receipt of a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Due to operational priorities and during peak processing times, we aim to process your postal import statement within eight working days from receipt of a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Lodging a documentary import declaration for air and sea cargo

We aim to process your air/sea cargo import declaration lodged with us by the close of business of the next working day after we receive a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Lodging an Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE) statement

We aim to process your UPE statement lodged with us by close of the third business day after we receive a complete and accurate statement, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Due to operational priorities and during peak processing times, we aim  to process your UPE statement within five working days from receipt of a  complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Lodging a documentary export declaration

We aim to provide an export entry advice by the close of business of the next business day after we receive a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments. For goods intended to be exported in passenger's baggage we aim to provide authority to deal for export goods within one hour of the receipt of a complete and accurate export declaration, and the declaration is given to an Australian Border Force officer at an international airport by the traveller on the day of departure, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Claim for refunds on imported goods

We aim to process your claim for refund within 30 calendar days of receipt of all necessary information. You will have 30 calendar days to provide the information requested, during which processing of the application is placed on hold. At the end of this period, we will make a decision to approve or reject the claim.

Service standards relevant to businesses and trade professionals

If you are a business  that is sponsoring or nominating an employee, or a migration agent wanting visa processing times see our visa processing times under individuals and travellers. All other service standards are below.

Cargo examination

We aim to schedule a physical examination with you or your representative after you contact us:

  • Air cargo within one working day
  • Sea cargo within two working days
  • When we cannot schedule an examination within these times we will agree to a mutually suitable time
  • If the goods require special treatments such as chemical analysis or safety testing.

Compliance monitoring activity

We aim to contact you at least 48 hours before undertaking compliance monitoring activities at your premises. We will also seek your consent in writing prior to entering your premises. Alternatively, monitoring officers can exercise monitoring powers under a warrant issued by a Magistrate.

Tariff Concession Orders (TCO)

We aim to ensure your TCO application, objection, revocation or review is processed within legislative timeframes.

Request for a tariff advice, a valuation advice or an origin advice

We aim to respond within 30 calendar days of receipt of complete information. Where you ask for a Tariff Advice, Valuation Advice or Origin Advice, you should complete an Application for Tariff Advice or an Application for Valuation Advice or an Application Origin Advice.

DIBP tariff review decision

We aim to finalise the review within 60 calendar days of receipt of a submission containing full details of arguments against the decision. If we cannot finalise the review within this time, we will write to you and let you know the reason for the delay and a revised finalisation time.

If you ask DIBP to review a valuation decision or origin decision

We aim to finalise the review within 30 calendar days of receipt of a submission containing full details of your arguments against the decision. If we cannot finalise the review within this time, we will write to you and let you know the reason for the delay and a revised finalisation time.

Cheese and curd quota

We aim to complete your application to transfer your Cheese and Curd Quota within four working days of receipt of a completed Transfer of Base Quota Allocation.

Lodging a documentary import declaration for postal items

We aim to process your import declaration for postal items within five working days of receipt of a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Lodging a documentary import declaration for air and sea cargo

We aim to process your import declaration for air and sea cargo lodged with us by the close of business of the next working day after we receive a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments.

Lodging an export submanifest

We aim to transmit a notice giving a submanifest number ('CRN') within 20 minutes of receipt of a valid submanifest, provided there are no regulatory impediments.

Lodging a cargo terminal operator receival notice

We aim to provide a status for the cargo within 15 minutes of receipt of the notice.

Depot receival notice for prescribed warehouse goods

We aim to provide a consolidation status for the goods within 15 minutes of receipt of the notice.

Application for permission to move, alter or interfere with goods for export

We aim to make a decision on your completed application to move, alter or interfere with goods for export within one working day of receipt of the application.

Lodging a warehouse release notice

We aim to provide a status for the cargo within 15 minutes of receipt of the notice.

Lodging an export declaration electronically

We aim to transmit clearance within 10 minutes of receipt of a complete and accurate declaration, provided there are no regulatory impediments.

Lodging a documentary export declaration

We aim to provide an export entry advice by the close of business of the next business day after we receive a complete and accurate declaration, subject to any regulatory impediments. For goods intended to be exported in passenger's baggage we aim to provide authority to deal for export goods within one hour of the receipt of a complete and accurate export declaration, and the declaration is given to a Border Force officer at an international airport by the traveller on the day of departure, subject to any regulatory impediments

If you register a new client by document

We aim to register the client using the client's Australian Business Number or allocate a unique cargo Client ID by the close of business of the next business day after we receive all necessary information.

Availability of electronic systems for all cargo reporting and lodgement of import entries

We aim to provide access to electronic cargo systems 24 hours a day, excluding scheduled maintenance periods. In instances of failure by any departmental user or network system, we will let you know the failure has occurred and the expected resolution time as soon as practicable. We will maintain contingency arrangements for processing urgent consignments.

Claim for refunds

We aim to process your claim for refund within 30 calendar days of receipt of all necessary information. You will have 30 calendar days to provide the information requested, during which processing of the application is placed on hold. At the end of this period, we will make a decision to approve or reject the claim.

Duty Drawback

We aim to process your claim for Duty Drawback within 30 calendar days of receipt of all necessary information. You will have 30 calendar days to provide the information requested, during which processing of the application is placed on hold. At the end of this period, we will make a decision to approve or reject the claim.

Contact with the Department regarding intellectual property rights infringement

We aim to inform you within five working days of your options under relevant legislation (e.g. the Trade Marks Act 1995, or the Copyright Act 1968) and the arrangements that can apply to protect your intellectual property rights against infringement by imports.

Application for a notice of objection in respect of imported goods infringing on your trade mark or copyright

We aim to process your application within 15 working days of receiving all necessary documentation and securities.

New warehouse licence or a licence for an approved place to store customable goods

We aim to make a decision on your completed application within 60 calendar days. If you are renewing a warehouse licence, we will make a decision on a completed application within 14 calendar days.

Warehouse licence renewals

We aim to make a decision on completed licence renewals within 14 calendar days.

Weekly settlement permission

We aim to make a decision within seven calendar days.

Lodging a new depot licence

For a new application, we aim to make a decision on your completed application within 60 calendar days of receipt.

Depot licence renewals

For depot licence renewals, we aim to make a decision on renewal notices within 14 calendar days of the date the government approves the relevant licence fees and we aim to make a decision on applications for renewal within 14 calendar days of receiving the completed application and the appropriate fee.

Do you need to contact us?

By telephone

We will aim to answer an average of 85 per cent of calls to our national contact numbers (131 881, 131 880 and 133 177) within ten minutes.

By email

We will acknowledge emails and provide a likely timeframe for our response within one working day of receipt of your email.

Within seven working days of receiving your application, we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of the application
  • advise you with reasons if your application is invalid (for example, incorrect application form or fee).

Within seven working days of receiving advice from a Court or Tribunal, we will acknowledge receipt of the decision or information and advise you if there are any further requirements.

Visiting us in person

We will see you within:

  • 10 minutes of your arrival if you have an appointment
  • 20 minutes of your arrival if you do not have an appointment.

You will be attended to within 30 minutes of joining the passport-processing queue at an Australian airport.

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National

  • We will answer 90 per cent of telephone calls to a TIS operator within 30 seconds.
  • A telephone interpreter in a major community language will be provided within three minutes. 
  • We will respond to 85 per cent of requests for an appointment within three working days. 
  • We will process 90 per cent of fee-free translations within 20 working days of request.

Translating and Interpreting Service

Freedom of Information

We will acknowledge Freedom of Information requests within 14 calendar days from date of receipt and provide a decision within 30 calendar days from date of receipt.

Make a Freedom of Information request

How you can help us

To help us help you, we ask that you:

  • actively familiarise yourself with the relevant Departmental requirements in relation to your enquiry
  • comply with Australian Government requirements relevant to your enquiry
  • be open and honest with us
  • be courteous and respectful towards our staff and work with us to solve problems
  • ensure anything you submit to us is accompanied by all information/documents required at the time of lodgement and by the due date
  • keep accurate and complete paperwork and be able to provide copies or reference numbers if necessary.
  • give us details of changes in your circumstances as soon as the changes occur
  • lodge documents or payments by the due date
  • let us know if you have special requirements, such as needing an interpreter or any assistance in understanding or accessing our services
  • provide us with feedback on our service to you, whether it is positive or otherwise, to help us improve our services and recognise staff
  • not offer us gifts, money or other favours and report corruption, misconduct and behaviour that is unethical or lacking in integrity.