Estimating average processing times and checking your application status
How long will it take for a decision to be made?
Short (unhelpful) answer—it depends. Some applicants receive their eVisa a few days later, a few hours later… and we’ve heard of applications being processed five minutes after being submitted! However, it seems that it takes a few weeks for a decision to be made for most applicants.
As of April 2019, the Department of Home Affairs states that 75% of applications are processed in 27 days and 90% of applications are processed in 40 days. These are just estimates based on previous applications, it’s not exact science. A number of factors can affect processing times, including when you submit your application (e.g. over the weekend, on an Australian bank holiday, etc.) and the number of applications being submitted.
Bottom line is, don’t wait until the last minute to submit your WHV application, plan ahead. You may be one of the lucky applicants who get the visa right away, but more realistically, you will have to wait a few weeks for it. We are noticing that it takes longer and longer, maybe because the WHV program is pretty popular!
Note: You will get the following message after submitting your application:
“Please ensure you have attached all required supporting documentation. Failure to do so may result in delays in processing. Please refer to the ‘Attach documents’ link on the left-hand side of this page.”
This message is shown to all applicants, even those who have already submitted all the required supporting documents (two for WHV applicants, see section 7).
To make sure you’re not missing anything, click on “Attach documents” then on “Checklist of documents.” If you don’t see any new document, it means the Department of Home Affairs already received the necessary documents.
Receiving the WHV by email
Your WHV could be sent by email to the address you provided when you filled out your application. Check your spam folder regularly—the email subject is a series of numbers and letters, followed by your last name and first name, so it might get flagged by your email provider. The sender is homeaffairs.gov.au and it says “Immi Grant Notification.”
A PDF “grant letter” will be attached to the “no reply” email. The first page of the PDF looks like the letter below:
This page contains all your WHV information—date of grant, latest day you can arrive in Australia, your personal information, etc.
Note the two visa conditions at the top of the page:
- 8547 - Employer work limitation (The holder must not be employed by any one employer for more than 6 months without the prior written permission from the Secretary.) There are legal exceptions to this condition, read WHV in Australia—How to Work More Than 6 Months for the Same Employer for more info!)
- 8548 - Study limitation: The holder must not engage in any studies or training in Australia for more than 4 months.
Both conditions are detailed on the next page of the grant letter.
The letter also offers information on workplace rights, minimum wage, pay rates and the Tax File Number (TFN). It also explains what to do if there are changes in your situation before your departure to Australia (e.g. change of passport).
You don’t need to print all the pages of the grant letter. The first one is the most important—it’s your eVisa and you should keep a copy of it when you travel to Australia.
Australia no longer issues “traditional visas,” i.e. a visa stapled or glued to a page of your passport. It’s always a good idea to keep your eVisa (i.e. the first page of this letter) folded inside your passport during your WHV adventure. You may have to show it to potential employers who need to check that you can legally work in Australia.
Checking your application status online
Many applicants do not get their eVisa by email, either because of a system bug or because it’s a busy season with tons of applications. Don’t worry, there’s another way to check if you were granted a visa!
If you’re compulsively checking your emails but nothing is coming from Down Under, try one of these two options.
Option 1 – Logging into ImmiAccount
Click on this link and enter your username (i.e. your email address) and your password.
You can now see your ImmiAccount homepage. Read the section below your last and first names and “Work & Holiday” (in the orange box in the screenshot below).
- If it says “Received,” it means your application is still being processed. Make sure to click on “View details” to make sure you didn’t get a message or a request from the Department of Home Affairs.
- If it says “Information requested,” it means the Department of Home Affairs needs more information or documents. Click on “View details” to find out what you have to provide.
- If it says “Finalized,” it means your application has been processed. Click on “View details” to learn more about the decision made.
After clicking on “View details,” if you see “Granted,” it means the decision was positive—you got your WHV! Click on “Visa grant details” to download and print your grant letter.
Occasionally, you will see this error message when you try to download the grant letter:
You can try again later or follow the second option steps as explained below.
Option 2 – Connecting to Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO)
Click on this link.
Then click on “Check your visa details and conditions” in the “Visa holders” section.
In “Document type,” select “Passport” from the drop-down menu.
In “Reference type,” select “Transaction Reference Number”—remember, this is the number you saw throughout the application process, at the top of the page.
- Your Transaction Reference Number (TRN)
- Your date of birth
- Your passport number for “Document number”
- Your country of citizenship
Tick the box to accept VEVO’s terms and conditions and click “Submit.”
On the “Entitlement details” page, you’ll see if you have a “Visa grant date” and a “Visa grant number. If you do, it means your application was processed and that you were granted a WHV.
If so, click “View as PDF,” then save the document and print a copy.
This document is similar to the grant letter and it looks like this:
Much like you would have done with a grant letter, take this document to Australia and keep it folded in your passport during your stay.
As of 2015, you can also use the myVEVO app to check your application status and access your personal information from your smartphone during your year in Australia. For more information, see section 10 of this guide.
“I’ve been waiting for a decision to be made for weeks!”
If no decision has been made after several weeks (at least more than a month), you can contact the Department of Home Affairs through the Working Holiday maker application enquiry form. Select “Post-lodgement” at “Lodgement enquiry type” and provide your details (name, email address, TRN, country of passport, phone number). Use the “Message” field to explain your situation (in English!). Sending a message may speed things up. One of the forum users was surprised to receive the visa by regular mail after contacting the Department of Home Affairs directly!
Main articles about the WHV to Australia
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller
Applying for a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) To Australia: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide with Screenshots
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
Your first steps in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
Working in Australia: Opportunities, tips for backpackers and job search advice
Fruit Picking Jobs in Australia: What, Where, How (and Why!)