You want to move to Australia and you need to complete your visa application. The problem is, you don’t know how long it’s going to take. Here are some of the general visa processing time frames for popular Australian visas.


There is no exact answer when it comes to Australian visa processing times, they are constantly in flux and there is no way of knowing exactly how long it will be before you get an answer on your visa. These times are guidelines set out by the Australian government and are subject to change.

Government prioritising "on-hand" visa applications

The Australian government has stated that it is working to reduce the time it takes to finalise visa applications by increasing the number of staff processing applications. They are currently prioritising applications lodged by people outside of Australia, including Temporary Skilled, Student and Visitor visas.

Visa processing times from fastest to slowest

The Australian Department of Home Affairs updates its site with the full list of visa processing times monthly. These times are averages as the time period can change based on application volume, seasonal peaks and complex cases.

The Australian migration skill stream

If you are looking to immigrate to Australia, these are work and study visa options to fill shortages in the Australian labour market.

The processing times are:

Visa subclass Visa name 25% of applications processed in 90% of applications processed in
417 Working holiday visa One day 44 days 
858 Global Talent visa 32 days Three months
500 Student visa – Higher Education sector 14 days Five months
500 Student visa – Postgraduate Research sector 22 days Nine months
190 Skilled Nominated visa Three months 11 months
494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (provisional) – Employer Sponsored stream 73 days 12 months
491 Skilled Work Regional visa (provisional) – State/Territory 79 days 12 months
186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa – Direct Entry Four months 14 months
491 Skilled Work Regional visa (provisional) – Family Sponsored Regional Three months 20 months
188 Business Innovation and Investment visa (provisional) – Significant Investor stream Seven months 22 months
188 Business Innovation and Investment visa (provisional) – Business Innovation stream 15 months 37 months
489 Provisional Skilled Regional Sponsored   28 months 37 months
188 Business Innovation and Investment visa (provisional) – Investor stream 21 months 40 months
476 Recognised Graduate Route 36 months 41 months
189 Skilled Independent visa – Points Tested 34 days 45 months

See also: A guide to Australian work visas

The Australian migration family stream and visitor visas

These are residential visas to reunite Australian citizens and permanent residents with loved ones from other countries. The processing times are:

Visa subclass Visa name 25% of applications processed in 90% of applications processed in
600 Visitor visa – Tourist 16 days Four months
600 Visitor visa – Sponsored Family  20 days Six months
801 Partner visa – Permanent Seven months 23 months
100 Partner (Migrant) visa Eight months 27 months
300 Prospective Marriage visa Eight months 37 months
309 Partner (Provisional) visa 10 months 38 months
820 Partner (Temporary) visa Six months 39 months

Factors that influence visa processing times

There are many circumstances that can affect how long your Australian visa takes to get processed. These include factors such as:

  • Whether your visa application is complete and all the supporting documentation is included
  • The time taken to respond to Australian Home Affairs’ requests for additional information
  • How long it takes to receive information from external agencies. This includes, but is not limited to, health tests, character tests, and national security requirements
  • How many places are available in the migration programme

How we can help you move to Australia

Don’t know what supporting documentation you need to include in your Australian visa application? Want to know more about a visa not on our list above? We’re here to help. Hiring us means hiring a business with over 20 years of immigration and nationality experience who treats every case on an individual basis.

We have offices in Cape Town, Melbourne, and London to help you navigate this complicated time in history.

Considering the move to Australia? If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at or by calling +27 (0) 21 657 1526.

Our registered migration agents can offer you expert advice and representation for moving to and gaining permanent residency in Australia.

You can also take our free Australian visa assessment.

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