DIAC – Department of Immigration & Citizenship – Australian Visa Processing Time Service Standards

Processing time service standards for different types of visa applications are linked to the Portfolio Budget Statements. We aim to process 75 per cent of cases within these service standards, however actual processing times may vary depending on a range of factors.

The service standards:

  • are indicative only. Processing time on individual cases may vary depending on individual circumstances and the complexity of each case, as well as by location, reflecting the differing circumstances of national and regional caseloads
    apply from date application is received by the department, including transfers from a service delivery partner and state and territory office
    Example: Processing time for an application lodged with a service delivery partner will commence once transferred to and received by the department
    apply to visa applications lodged with complete documentation. Missing documentation will result in a longer processing time for applications
    do not include the time taken to process nominations and/or sponsorship applications
    processing times for online applications may also vary.
  • Visitor Visa Processing TimesSponsored visitors, non-sponsored visitors, medical treatment, working holiday and working and holiday visas
  • Student Visa Processing TimesStudents and student guardian visas
Visa application Lodged in Australia Lodged outside Australia
Assessment Level Level 1 or 2 Level 3 or 4 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 or 4
14 days 1 month 14 days 21 days 3 months

 

Students Visa (subclass 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 580)

Note: Student Guardian visa processing times are based on the Assessment Level of the nominating student.

  • Temporary Work Visa Processing TimesSponsored and non-sponsored business visit and other sponsored temporary resident visas
  • Business Skills Visa Processing TimesLabour agreement, employer nomination, regional sponsored migration and business skills visas
  • Skilled Migration Visa Processing Times
    Skilled sponsored worker and skilled business person

Processing priority groups

Priority processing arrangements apply to skilled migration applications. They determine the order in which the department considers applications.
Applications accorded a higher priority under the arrangements will be processed ahead of lower priority applications, regardless of when the application is lodged.

The following table details processing priorities for skilled migration applications.

Note: The highest priority is listed first.

Priority Group Number Application Type
1 Employer sponsored under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) program or who have applied for a Skilled – Regional (subclass 887) visa
2 Employer sponsored under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) program
3 Nominated by a state or territory government agency for an occupation specified on that agency™s state migration plan
4 Applicants who have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – Schedule 1
5 All other applications

 

Processing times – skilled migration applications affected by processing priorities

The below table describes the processing times for the following visa subclasses.

Priority Group Number Visa Subclass Processing Time
1 RSMS (subclass 119, 857) Low risk – 5 months High risk – 8 months
2 Skilled Regional
(subclass 887)
High risk – 8 months
3 ENS (subclass 121, 856) Low risk – 5 months High risk – 8 months
4 State Migration Plans (SMP)
(subclass 176, 475, 487, 886)
Low risk – 12 months High risk – 24 months
5 Nominated Occupation on the SOL – Schedule 1
(subclass 175, 495, 496, 861, 862, 863, 880, 881, 882, 883, 885 and 176, 475, 487 if not SMP)
18 months

All visas listed in priority 3 and 4 that are not SMP or Nominated Occupation on the SOL – Schedule 1 Assessment will commence when all cases in priority groups 1-4 are finalised

Processing times – skilled migration applications exempt from processing priorities

The following visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing. These subclasses are processed in the order in which they are received.

Visa Subclass Processing Time
476 7 months
485 12 months
120, 855 Low risk – 5 months High risk – 8 months

 

Low risk applies to nationals from countries which issue Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) eligible passports. A list of these can be found on the department’s website. High risk countries are those which are not ETA eligible.

  • Family Visa Processing TimesProspective marriage, partner, child, New Zealand citizen family relationship, parent and other family visas
  • Resident Return Visa Processing TimesFormer resident, resident return and Australian declaratory visas
  • Refugee or Humanitarian Program Visa Processing TimesOffshore humanitarian and onshore protection
Visa application Lodged in Australia Lodged outside Australia
Assessment Level Level 1 or 2 Level 3 or 4 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 or 4
14 days 1 month 14 days 21 days 3 months

 

Students Visa (subclass 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 580)

Note: Student Guardian visa processing times are based on the Assessment Level of the nominating student.

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