485 Visa Requirements: A Guide To Making An Application For 485 Temporary Graduate Visa [Update 2021]

485 Visa - Nilesh Nandan Immigration Lawyer

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485 Visa Refusal – Rules Are Unforgiving!

It is important to make sure that you provide all the required documents at the time of your 485 Visa application.

Remember to upload the documents to your online IMMI account immediately when lodging the application.

Refusal Of 485 Visas

There are two problems that come up over and over again in relation to subclass 485 requirement – graduate skilled temporary visa applications.

The first is whether you meet the two-year study requirement. Have you studied the right courses for the right length of time and have you actually completed the course, not just completed your final submission for the course?

The second is whether you have actually been confirmed as of the date you make your application.

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Other Reasons Why 485 Visas Are Refused

There other mains reason why your 485 visa will be refused is that you have failed to meet the English Language test evidence requirement at the time of application or you have failed to meet the requirement to provide evidence of your police check.

What Is Meant By 2 Years Study Requirement?

The first step is to note that CRICOS is the Authority for “evaluating” the duration of a “course”.

The 2 year “study” can include study for one or more courses you successfully complete.

The study must total “2 years”. But this “2 year” concept is misleading, if not meaningless.

What you must do is calculate whether you’ve completed the equivalent of 92 weeks of study in total.

“92 CRICOS” weeks really has nothing to do with “2 years” study in Australia, DOES IT?

If you successfully completed Course A which CRICOS evaluates for all students as being 46 weeks of study, and you have failed 2 subjects, and it took you 18 months, then the CRICOS evaluation is still 46 weeks.

So you’ve met only 50% (46/92) of the 92 week study requirement. This means what?

Well, you’ll need to stay enrolled and on a student visa (re-apply possibly) and successfully complete another one or more CRICOS course(s) – (Course B or Course B and Course C).

The additional CRICOS course(s) you should complete must add up to the shortfall (46 weeks) in my example above.

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Failure To Upload At The Time Of The 485 Visa Lodgment

Well, the DHA will probably refuse your application.

Firstly, most 485 visa applicants are unaware that evidence of health insurance and evidence of an application for an AFP certificate within 12 months of the application date must be provided at the time of lodgement, or a refusal will result.

Secondly, remember that you must provide (among other things) the following documents to the Department:

* Evidence of English Language Ability;
* Evidence that you meet the Australian Study Requirement; and
* A valid Skills Assessment from a Skills Assessing Authority

….depending on the stream you are applying for. A skills assessment is not normally required for the “post study work stream” of the 485 visa but is required for the “graduate work” stream of the 485 visa.

Here is a snippet of the 485 English language test requirement if you don’t hold an eligible passport (which gets you exempted from the test requirement). It tells you what scores your will need for IELTS and PTE tests etc…

English Language Test For 485 Visa
(English Language Test For 485 Visa).

If the Department refuses your visa then you may have limited options in terms of what further visas you are able to lodge onshore.

If your visa application is invalid it is as if no application was made and if your visa has since expired, you could be unlawful. Note that a bridging visa will only be granted to you if you make a valid application and you are onshore at the relevant times.

2 Year Rule Case Study

485 Visa, case study, Nilesh Nandan Immigration Lawyer

The starting point is to note that two (2) academic years of study is a measure of the amount of study successfully completed, not the length of time taken to complete the study.

You cannot extend one year of study or 1 1/2 years of study into 2 years study in order to satisfy the 2 year rule.

For example, if you enrol in less than 100% of a full-time load and, as a consequence, you take two (2) years to complete a course with a registered duration of 78 weeks, then you have not completed 2 academic years of study. 

In this case you have completed only 1.5 academic years of study – you have extended the duration of your studies but not the amount of study undertaken.

It all comes down to the “registered duration” of your course.

In simple terms: you cannot artificially extend your study in order to satisfy the Australian study requirements. If your course is registered for 1 year full-time study, it will be counted as 1 year. 

In considering whether the 2 academic years requirement has been met, case officers will consider the standard duration of your course as registered on CRICOS.

What other questions do you have about your 485 graduate skilled visa application?

Let me know what questions you have in the comments section below or book in a consultation with me.

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FAQ: 485 visa English language requirement at the time of application


“Hi, i want to ask some questions about applying to temporary resident 485 visa.

currently I’m holding a student visa 500 and i just graduated from my degree. However my student visa is going to expire in the end of next month.

I know i can submit my application without ielts test, but someone told me that if you don’t submit ielts test they are going to reject your visa. Can i submit my ielts test after i submitted my application? due to the current pandemic i can’t book ielts test in the near future. The earliest test is available in the end of next month, which i’m not sure that the result will come out before my student visa expired.

I’ve been living in English speaking countries for more than 5 years and i don’t need ielts test when i applied for master degree here. i don’t know if this informations is relevant for this case.

Thank you.”


Unfortunately, pursuant to Migration Regulation 485.212, application for 485 visas must be accompanied with the English results reaching the minimum requirement. Attaching the IELTS result late may result in your visa application being refused.

The fact that you have been living in English speaking countries is not relevant. Unless you have a passport from a limited number of countries, you will need to satisfy the language requirement.

Depending on the circumstances of your individual case, you could consider lodging an application for sc 600 visa first so you have enough time to obtain the required English result.

I hope this clarifies your very important question. If you get it wrong you could forever deny yourself the opportunity of attaining any 485 visa which is quite a treasured visa for most international students choosing to study in Australia.

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Your Experience?

Please share your comments with me.

I’d love to know more about your experience with applying for this visa subclass!

Nilesh Nandan is Australia's most sought after immigration lawyer for visa refusals and visa cancellations. Appeal your visa or get help to relodge your Australian visa application or citizenship application.
  • My name is Bikram singh And my visa sub class is 485 and i applied my wife visa on 4th December 2019 and I already send requested documents and it is still taking time . I just want to know How long it will take for visa

    • I can understand how frustrating this must be for you both to be waiting until the 485 dependent partner visa is granted.

      I would have expected that the decision would already have been made in relation to your application by now.

      You have little choice but to simply wait and make sure that you properly monitor the contact details which you have provided to the department.

      Here is a link to where you can check processing times published by the department. Unfortunately this tool is only of limited use. At best it is a guess!


  • I appeared in Ielts after lodging the application for 485 visa on 31st January 2020 but Not yet received a response from the department. I know it’s going to be refused. What options am I left with? Someone please help me as I am in big touble 🙁

    • Yes, unfortunately your subclass 485 visa application is likely to be refused because of 485.212 of the Migration Regulations. This rule applies to things that must be done (test result held) at the time of the application.

      Solution: If you still hold a substantive visa, and you are still within the 6-month period since you completed your course, you may be able to withdraw and re-lodge a fresh subclass 485 visa application.

      Feel free to book a 10 minute free chat if you’d like to discuss: https://myvisa.com.au/services/

  • Thank you Nilesh for responding. I am on Bridging A visa now and cannot withdraw and relodge my 485 application since more than 6 months have passed from my course completion date. Is there possibility that I can apply for student visa again while awaiting decision on my 485 application?

  • I am an international student in Melbourne; used 5 years to gain success in my PhD studies and the certificate just received. I need to apply for a post study visa as my student visa expires in December, but three issues:
    1. booked last month for the IELTS test, but because of stage 4 restrictions, I don’t even know when the date will be rescheduled;
    2. I am very worried, can I receive the English exemption for the 5 years study?; and
    3. as time is not on my side, can I apply without the English but show the English booking?
    – Insurance ready
    -AFP certificate ready
    – PhD Testamur ready
    * the main problem is whether for studying in Australia for 5 years, the English requirement can be waved

    • There are exemptions and relaxations of the rules in place because of covid-19 complications.

      You should get some specific advice about what is exempted and what is not exempted.

      You might also be able to lodge a visitor visa for a very short period of time whilst you can get your ducks in a row. This is a last ditch option but I have used it successfully recently.

      I strongly recommend you get advice about your specific circumstances from a qualified practitioner.

      I hope this helps.

  • Hi Nilesh, I am applying for a 485 visa, I was just wondering if it is classified as a migration visor or a visitor visor (I am filling out form 1221 question 34) thank you

  • Hi Nilesh,
    I finished MIT and got my completion letter on 13 November 2020. My student visa is expiring in March 2021.
    Is it a problem if I apply for 485 (TR) after 2 months of getting the completion letter.
    Please suggest🙏

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