491 Visa Processing Time

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa, commonly known as the 491 visa, is an Australian visa category designed for skilled workers who wish to live and work in regional Australia. This visa is part of Australia’s initiative to promote regional development through immigration, helping to address labour shortages in less urbanized areas.

491 visa applicants should be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency. Or they can be sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area. Understanding the processing time for the subclass 491 visa is crucial for applicants to plan their relocation and employment in Australia effectively.

491 Current Processing Times

The processing time for the 491 visa can vary significantly based on numerous factors, including the volume of applications received, the completeness of the application, the need for additional information, and the applicant’s health and character checks. Generally, processing times are updated regularly by the Department of Home Affairs, and we recommend consulting a migration agent for more accurate information.

Family-Sponsored Regional

  • 50% Processed in 9 months
  • 90% Processed in 19 months

State Regional

  • 50% Processed in 9 months
  • 90% Processed in 17 months

Factors Influencing the Processing Time

Several factors can influence the processing time of your 491 visa application, including:

  • Application Volume: High demand can lead to longer processing times, especially in popular categories or states.
  • Application Accuracy: Incomplete applications or those with errors can face delays. Providing all required documentation in the correct format can expedite the process.
  • Health and Character Checks: All applicants must meet health and character requirements, which may require additional time if further investigation is needed.
  • Labor Market Testing: For certain occupations, labour market testing results may influence processing times.
  • State or Territory Nomination: Processing times can also vary depending on the state or territory that nominates the applicant, as each region has its own criteria and processing capabilities.

Tips for a Smoother Subclass 491 Application Process

  • Ensure Accuracy: Double-check your application and supporting documents for accuracy and completeness.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on any updates to processing times and requirements on the Department of Home Affairs website.
  • Prepare Documents: Gather all necessary documents in advance, including proof of skilled employment, language proficiency tests, and educational qualifications.
  • Health and Character Checks: Complete health examinations and police checks as early as possible to avoid delays.


While the 491 visa offers a pathway to permanent residency in Australia for skilled workers willing to contribute to regional economies, the processing time can be a variable factor to consider. By understanding the factors that influence processing times and following the tips provided, applicants can enhance the efficiency of their visa application process.

How long does it take for the 491 visa to process?

For the most part, the 491 visa process can take anywhere from 9 to 19 months in most cases that don’t have any extremities.

Remember, the most current and detailed information is always available from the Australian Department of Home Affairs or a registered migration agent.

Disclaimer: The above information is a general guide and not professional immigration advice. Be aware that immigration laws and regulations can change swiftly, potentially rendering some or all of the information outdated. Thus, before using the information above, we recommend checking the current laws with assistance from a migration agent or the Department of Home Affairs website.