491 – Detailed Process
Before you apply
You must submit an expression of interest (EOI) through SkillSelect to let us know you want to apply for this visa.
Help with your EOI
If you need help with your EOI you can use a registered migration agent or legal practitioner. For information on how to find someone to help you see Who can help you with your application.
Step 1.1 – Before you submit your EOI
You must submit an expression of interest (EOI) to let us know you want to apply for this visa.
If you score enough points, a state or territory government agency may nominate you for the visa and we will invite you to apply.
If you advised in your EOI that you will be sponsored by an eligible relative we may invite you to apply for a visa in an invitation round.
Check your occupation
Check that your occupation is on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations for a Skilled Regional (subclass 491) visa.
Get your skills assessed
You must have a suitable skills assessment at the time we invite you to apply.
The assessment must be undertaken by an assessing authority listed against your occupation in the list of eligible skilled occupations. You might have to pay for the assessment.
To be eligible for a visa your skills assessment must have been obtained within the 3 years before the date of invitation. If the assessment was for a shorter period, that period must not have passed. We can’t accept a skills assessment issued more than 3 years before the invitation date.
If your skills were assessed on the basis of a qualification you got in Australia when you held a student visa, the qualification must be from studying a course registered on CRICOS.
For medical practitioners we accept evidence of registration issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. You must hold either:
- unconditional or general medical registration
- conditional specialist registration – which allows you to practice only in your particular specialty with no further training or supervision requirements
You must show that you hold this registration at the time we invite you to apply.
Barristers and solicitors
A suitable skills assessment for barristers and solicitors is evidence of admission to practice as a lawyer in an Australian state or territory.
The relevant legal admissions authority must have admitted you to practice at the time we invite you to apply.
Check your points
You must be able to obtain at least 65 points on our points test to be eligible for this visa. If you cannot obtain 65 points we will not invite you to apply.
If we invite you to apply for the visa, you must prove the claims you make in your EOI when we assess your application.
Use the points table to check how many points you might score.
Check you meet all other eligibility criteria
Check that you meet all other eligibility criteria for the visa.
If we invite you to apply for the visa, you will have to prove the claims you make in your EOI. You will also need to show you meet the other eligibility criteria.
See what documents you will need to prove your claims before you submit your EOI in the Gather documents section.
Step 1.2 – Submit an EOI
Submit your EOI via SkillSelect. You can submit it from within or outside Australia.
Your EOI is not a visa application. There is no fee for submitting an EOI.
Select the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) Invited pathway.
You will receive an email confirming your EOI has been submitted.
Step 1.3 – After you submit your EOI
SkillSelect will estimate your points score based on the claims made in your EOI.
You must have an estimated score of at least 65 points to be invited to apply for this visa.
If you score enough points and there are places allocated for your occupation, we might invite you to apply.
If you have expressed interested in being nominated then your EOI will be visible to state and territory government agencies and they may nominate you for the visa.
If you are nominated, you will get an invitation to apply for this visa.
If a state or territory government agency nominates you, you and all members of your family unit who are also holders of the visa, will need to live, work and study in only certain areas of Australia. See Designated regional areas for more information.
We may invite you to apply for the visa if you have stated in your expression of interest that you have an eligible relative willing to sponsor you.
If an eligible relative sponsors you, you and all members of your family unit who are also holders of the visa, will need to live, work and study in only certain designated areas of Australia. See Designated regional areas for more information.
Step 1.4 – Receive an invitation to apply for visa
We allocate places for the skilled migration program to meet the Australian Government’s migration planning levels.
Once invited, you have 60 calendar days to apply for the visa. We cannot extend this time.
You could receive an invitation up to 2 years after submitting an EOI. If we invite you to apply you will receive an email from SkillSelect. Getting an invitation does not mean you will be granted the visa.
The invitation will include an indicative points score based on your EOI claims.
When you apply for the visa, you must show that you:
- can meet the points score on your invitation (which will include proving any claims you made in your EOI) and
- can meet all other eligibility criteria
If you do not apply for the visa after two invitations, your EOI will be removed from SkillSelect.
We will not process your visa application if you are 45 or over at the time of your invitation.
If you can’t show you meet the invited points score or other eligibility criteria
If you can’t show you meet the points score on your invitation or the other visa criteria, then do not apply for the visa.
Your EOI will be suspended if an invitation is issued, but you can update information once the 60-day invitation period has passed. If this is your second invitation, you will have to submit another EOI if you still want the visa.
Gather your documents
You will need to provide documents to support the claims you make in your EOI and show you meet the other visa criteria.
Provide accurate information
Provide accurate information. See what happens if you can’t prove your identity or do not provide true information.
Provide the pages of your current passport showing your photo, personal details, and passport issue and expiry dates.
- a national identity card, if you have one
- proof of change of name
Documents that prove a change of name include:
- a marriage or divorce certificate
- change of name documents from an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or the relevant overseas authority
- documents that show other names you have been known by
If you are or have been married, widowed, divorced or permanently separated, provide proof such as divorce documents, death certificates, separation documents or statutory declarations.
If your partner or dependent children are not included in this application, tell us the reason why (for example, they already hold Australian citizenship or are a permanent resident).
Provide an Australian police certificate if you have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia in the last 10 years since you turned 16.
- an overseas police certificate from every country, including your home country, where you spent a total of 12 months or more in the last 10 years since you turned 16.
- military service records or discharge papers if you served in the armed forces of any country
Competent English documents
Provide proof you have at least competent English at time of invitation for this
We need to see evidence of your partner’s identity and relationship with you.
- identity documents and photos
- character documents
- marriage certificate, if applicable
- documents about other relationships, if applicable
For de facto relationship provide either:
- evidence that your relationship is registered by an Australian State or Territory
- enough documents to prove you have been in a de facto relationship with your partner for at least 12 months before you apply
For both married and de facto applicants you must provide evidence that you are in a genuine and continuing relationship. Evidence can include but is not limited to:
- joint bank account statements
- billing accounts in joint names
- joint leases or mortgages
- documents that show your partner has lived at the same address as you
Proof your partner has functional English
Provide proof that your partner has at least functional English.
If you can’t provide functional English documents
If any of the dependent applicants, who did not pay the second instalment cannot show evidence of functional English, you will need to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge for each of those dependent applicants, when we ask you to.
Dependants under 18 documents
For every dependant 18 years old or younger who is applying with you, provide:
- copies of birth certificates or the family book showing the names of both parents of all your dependent children
- copies of the adoption paper, if applicable.
Dependants over 18 documents
To include your child who is over 18 in your visa application, they must be:
- over 18 years of age but not yet turned 23, and dependent on you or your partner, or
- over 23 years of age and unable to earn a living to support themselves due to physical or cognitive limitations and dependent on you or your partner
If your child is likely to turn 23 while your application is being processed, you will need to provide evidence they are dependent on you due to disability.
- identity documents
- documents about their other relationships, if applicable
Proof your dependant has functional English
Provide proof that all dependent applicants aged 18 years and older, have at least functional English.
Skills assessment documents
You must provide documents that support the claims you made in your EOI. To check the documents you need use the points table. Depending on your claims this could include evidence of your:
- skills assessment
- English language skills
- Australian and/or overseas skilled employment
- educational qualifications
- Satisfying the Australian study requirement
- specialist education
- accredited community language
- study in regional Australia
- partner skills
- Professional Year in Australia
Delegates of the Minister will now accept a suitable skills assessment for an applicant’s nominated skilled occupation which has been obtained within the 60 day invitation period.
This change of approach is made as a result of the decision of Thapa v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs  FCCA 686 (Thapa). The Minister will administer the Migration Regulations 1994 in accordance with the decision in Thapa, but the Minister reserves the right to make submissions in a Court that Thapa was wrongly decided.
One of these certificates issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency:
- unconditional or general medical registration
- conditional specialist registration – which allows you to practice only in your speciality with no further training or supervision requirements
You must be registered at the time we invite you to apply.
Barristers and Solicitors
Proof of admission to practice as a lawyer in the relevant state or territory. You must be admitted to practice at the time we invite you to apply.
Expression of interest (EOI) documents
You must provide documents to prove all of the claims you made in your EOI. Use the points table to check the documents you need.
If you are being sponsored, provide:
- proof that your sponsor is an eligible relative
- proof that your sponsor has turned 18
- proof that your sponsor is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
- proof that your sponsor is usually resident in a designated area of Australia
To prove your sponsor is usually resident in a designated area of Australia, documents you can provide include, but are not limited to:
- drivers licence
- mortgage/tenancy agreements
- utility bills
To prove the sponsor’s relationship with you, documents you can provide include, but are not limited to:
- birth certificate
- marriage certificates
- death certificates
- adoption certificates
- family status certificates or family books if officially issued and maintained
If you are being nominated you do not need to provide evidence of this with your application.
Prepare your documents
Apply for the visa
When you have your invitation you can apply online. You can be in or outside Australia.
You have 60 days from the date of your invitation to apply for the visa.
After you apply
We will let you know when we have received your application.
If you are granted a bridging visa you will receive notification of your visa grant.
Pay the second instalment
If you need to pay a second instalment, pay it when we send you the invoice.
You can add dependent children to your application after you apply but before we decide on your visa.
Use Form 1436 Adding an additional applicant after lodgement, pay using ImmiAccount, attach the form and supporting documents to your ImmiAccount
Family members who apply for the visa must meet our health and character requirements.
Family members who are not coming to Australia do have to meet our character requirement and might have to meet our health requirement.
If your child is born after you submit your application but before we decide on your visa, you must tell us as soon as possible.
Find out what to do your child is born after you apply.
You can be in or outside Australia when we decide your visa application but not in immigration clearance. We will let you know our decision in writing.
If we grant your visa, we will tell you:
- your visa grant number
- the date your visa starts
- your visa conditions, if applicable
Keep a copy of the decision.
If we refuse your visa, we will tell you:
- why we refused the visa
- whether you have a right to a review of the decision
We will not refund the application charge if we refuse your application.