2022 Application Analysis and Discussion

I know we have the big pre-approval thread, but I think it would be interesting to run some numbers around application-to-pre-approval times to provide those of us still waiting with some extra (guesswork) detail.

Here’s what I think I know:

  • There was a huge flood of applications in Q4 2021 to beat the rule changes that took effect in January 2022.
  • SEF did not accept online GV applications through the ARI portal from January until June or July 2022. Some lawyers may have applied in person or via mail, but the system was largely closed to applications.
  • Per my lawyer, the volume of applications in 2022 was dramatically lower than in 2021.

Therefore, my hope is that I can use the existing list of 2022 applications to gauge processing rates and eventually pre-approval progress once SEF finishes processing December 2021 applications. (My lawyer says they are still seeing December 19th-ish applications currently being processed.)

The Flood

Let’s look at the data in the existing timeline spreadsheet.

As you can see, the spreadsheet only has records for 24 applications in 2022. Whereas in 2021, there were 168! While the spreadsheet obviously doesn’t include every application SEF has received, these numbers can hopefully at least give us a sense of the difference in scale between the two years (1/7th as many apps in 2022 vs 2021!)

In 2021, the spreadsheet doesn’t show even 10 applications per month until August, and that stays under 20 per month until November. This is presumably when everyone had their “oh crap, time is running out” moment and applied, because the number of applications in November and December are greater than the rest of 2021 combined. So it is safe to say that SEF has been dealing with a significantly higher volume of applications than it is used to (and is capable of processing in a timely fashion.)

If my lawyer’s data is accurate, and I have no reason to belive it isn’t, SEF is currently a little over halfway through December 2021 by day of month. That means they have processed approximately 25 of the 46 applications in our spreadsheet (also just over half.) The first December 2021 application to receive pre-approval received it toward the end of September 2022. The most recent pre-approval in the relevant thread here was for an application date of December 15, 2021, with pre-approval received on February 15, 2023. That pace is not incredibly encouraging, as it means it could take SEF another 5 months to finish December’s applications, and that assumes the reorg to APMA or whatever merely maintains the current pace rather than makes it worse. Anyway, that would take us to September 2023 before 2022 applications are likely to begin processing. (Keep in mind that SEF doesn’t go in perfect chronological order; one lucky December 17, 2021 applicant received pre-approval in October 2022!) This places the spreadsheet-listed application processing rate at around 5 per month.

SEF Offline

Looking more closely at 2022, we see only 3 applications until the end of June, and those in January appear to be secondary applications from a December primary applicant. This supports the theory that applications were more or less closed until June. Regardless, if SEF maintains its current pace and starts processing 2022 applications in September 2023, all applications through June 2022 should be done within about one month, and the applications for the rest of the year should be done by end of January 2024.

Another way to look at it is to compare January through October 2021 to November and December 2021, AKA pre-rush and rush. The average number of days from application to pre-approval for the “pre-rush” period was 83, or about 3 months. What a beautiful fantasy world early most 2021 applicants inhabited! Conversely, for those applying in November and December 2021, the average number of days to pre-approval has been 214, and for 2022 the number so 163 so far.

Given the additional turmoil regarding the phasing out of SEF – one article I read states that the agency has more or less not existed for over a year – I don’t think we can blame the rush of applications for the incredible slowdown in processing. Based on when I estimate SEF/APMA will finish 2021’s applications, I estimate the average number of days to pre-approval for 2022 applicants will be hovering around the 365 days mark by the time they actually get processed. But maybe we will get lucky and the agency will be able to process us all before the end of 2023…

Thoughts? Holes to poke in my logic or calculations? This is all obviously just guesswork, but I like having some vague idea of my own potential wait time.


Its a great analysis and I agree with the logic you have used. :+1:


It would be great if everyone who applied in 2022 would post their dates in this thread, in case you aren’t represented in the spreadsheet!

I think your timeline is quite optimistic. I have read somewhere there’s a flock of applications when SEF resumes accepting online application in June last year. My guess they might be only able to process all applications before Jul’22 by end of this year only.

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I am sure you are right about the pent-up demand from being offline for six months. And our spreadsheet’s data does feel unusually sparse for 2022, but I am struggling to find any trustworthy sources for application-level statistics. Seems to be all about granted visas rather than applications. Thus my request for people to post their 2022 application dates here!

But it seems residential real estate was (one of) the most popular choice(s) for GV until the rules changed in January 2022, so demand may still have been quite a bit lower in 2022 vs 2021…

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The hope I have is there are less GV applicants from China in 2022 due to Covid outbreak, but they can apply online anyway and if they didn’t, they would have flock to apply after their opening from Dec’22.

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If it helps, we applied for my wife’s application on 1st June 2022 (As an additional applicant to our existing application (me and parents) which was already approved in April 2022).


My application for GV pre-approval was submitted of the 17th of June 2022. Still pending as of today

Hopefully you are only a few months from pre-approval!

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14 months and 1 week and still don’t even have pre-approval or any honest indications of a time line. Honestly, feel like I’ve been completely duped with perhaps not outright lies but certainly with half truths and omissions of the truth by an entire so called “1st world” government and everyone else down the line including agents/lawyers etc in this process. It is what it is it though and I blame myself most for trusting what all the “professionals” assured me of. Of the mindset now of, if it happens, it happens if it doesn’t it wasn’t meant to be.

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good luck, hope your timeline is a lot faster than mine has been. We are still waiting for pre-approval for application 27 December 2021.

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As I posted in the other thread, your application date should be coming up in SEF’s queue quite soon, based on other pre-approvals being reported. It isn’t a matter of If it will happen, merely When it will happen!

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I admire your optimism, unfortunately I’ve learned through this process not to be.

People are still receiving pre-approval, just on longer than expected timelines. That is reason for a little optimism, imo…

But I will definitely trade you application dates if you want!