You'll see it mentioned all the time when talk of game delays or patches comes up. "Oh, we're just waiting on the approvals process", or "we're just waiting for the patch to be certified, then we're good to go". Those kind of excuses/explanations sound great from the developers end, but to us? It's meaningless, because we have no idea how long those processes take. Or, we didn't. We have at least some idea now, thanks to the always-helpful "Ask Capcom" letters section the company runs every week. Capcom fanboy Ryu vs Ken asks "How long does the approval process usually take?". Seeing as he's asking about SSFIIHD, it's probable this explanation covers only downloadable games, but the answer is interesting nonetheless:
Depends on the territory and the time of year/how busy the submissions team is. It also depends on territories. SCEA and MS can turn things around in 5-7 days most times. SCEE is closer to two weeks but they have a system where you can see the progress and bugs as they're testing (which means, you can anticipate your pass or fail and potentially be ready to have a resubmission ready to go when you fail). That said, you generally want to get reports from SCEA and SCEE, fix all issues and resubmit to both at the same time so it's not always such a benefit easy. SCAsia is a bit easier on the submission side as their evaluation focuses mostly on the material submisisons, not on code approval (provided you have code approval from SCEA or SCEE).
See? Interesting! Now the next time someone says "oh, the game will be available as soon as it's been approved", you've got a rough idea of how long you've got to wait. Ask Capcom Round-Up: Heavy on HD Remix [Capcom]