Your Guide To Australian Bridging Visas
What is a Bridging Visa?
It is a requirement for anyone who is not an Australian citizen and is staying in Australia to have a valid Australian visa.
There are mainly two types of visa:
- Substantive visas: any visa other than a Bridging visa; and
- Bridging visas.
All bridging visas are temporary visas and are generally granted while you have another visa application or review process in the system. You have to be physically in Australia when you lodge your application to be granted a Bridging Visa.
Types of Bridging visas
There are several types of bridging visas that you might come across. We discuss the main ones below. If you come across another type of bridging visa, we ask that you contact a professional to fully understand the conditions on your visa and to know your rights.
- Bridging Visa A –BVA
This is the main bridging visa that you will most likely come across. If you are in Australia on a substantive visa (i.e. not a bridging visa) and you decide to apply for another visa in Australia and you lodge a valid application, you will be granted a Bridging Visa A. In most cases, it is not necessary to use a separate application form for a BVA. You will be granted this visa automatically by the Department of Immigration almost instantly after you lodge a valid visa application while you are in Australia. Your family members on your application will also be granted a Bridging Visa A if they have been included in the application and meet all other criteria.
This BVA will allow you to stay legally in Australia until a final a decision is made on your visa. Your BVA will only come into effect once your current/former visa expires. For example, if you hold a Student visa that is expiring on 15 March and you lodge an application for a Skilled Graduate visa on 1 March, you will be granted a BVA on 1 March but this BVA will only come into effect from 16 March, i.e. once your old substantive visa expires.
Like any visa, a BVA will have certain conditions that can be different in each case. The one condition that will always be imposed on any BVA is no travel. This means that you cannot leave Australia nor come back on your BVA. If you need to travel while you are on your Bridging Visa A, you will have to apply for a Bridging Visa B. If you left Australia on your BVA, contact me to discuss your options prior to returning to Australia as you might not be allowed back in the country.
- Bridging Visa B- BVB
A Bridging Visa B is a temporary visa that is mainly applied for to allow travel outside of Australia for a specific period. Generally BVA holders apply for a BVB to allow them to travel or a particular pressing reason. Once you are back in Australia, you will still hold a BVB, however, the travel rights will expire based on the travel dates granted by the Department of Immigration on your visa. You will need a valid business or personal reason to travel and a holiday is not an accepted reason to leave Australia while you are on your Bridging Visa A. Also you generally will need to provide documents in support of your intent to travel. We recommend you apply for a BVB well before your proposed travel date, to ensure it is granted in time.
- Bridging Visa C- BVC
A Bridging Visa C is also a temporary visa that is granted to allow you to stay lawfully in Australia. If you apply for a substantive visa while you are on another Bridging visa (other than a Bridging Visa E), you will be granted a BVC instead of the usual BVA.
You cannot travel on a BVC and you also cannot apply for a BVB to allow you to travel. If you are on a BVC you will be bound to stay in Australia until you get another visa. If you leave the country for any reason, you will lose your right to come back on this basis.
You might be granted permission to work depending on your circumstances.
- Bridging Visa D- BVD
This is a temporary visa that is granted in very limited circumstances. You might be eligible for a BVD if you:
- Do not hold an Australia visa and you are an unlawful non-citizen (or will become one within 3 days); and
- tried unsuccessfully to make a valid application in Australia for a substantive visa of a kind that can be granted in Australia; and
- you will make a valid application for a substantive visa within the next 5 days;
- if you are an unlawful non-citizen who is unable to, or does not want to, apply for a substantive visa and an authorised officer is not available to interview you.
You will usually be granted this visa by the Department of Immigration. However if you need to apply for this visa directly, you will need to use Form 1007.
You cannot work nor travel while you are on a Bridging Visa D.
- Bridging Visa E- BVE
A Bridging Visa E is another temporary visa that can allow you to stay in Australia temporarily in certain situations. You will usually get a Bridging Visa E if you are unlawful and:
- You apply for another substantive visa;
- You want to make arrangements to leave Australia but you are not yet ready to leave on your current visa;
- You apply to the tribunal to review your case;
- You apply to the Minister of Immigration to intervene in your case, after your review case got refused by the tribunal; or
- You apply to an Australian Court for judicial review.
You cannot travel on this visa nor apply for another bridging visa. If you want to apply for a Bridging Visa E, use Form 1008 to apply. You might be eligible to apply for multiple BVE.
Useful tips if you are on a Bridging Visa or your visa is about to expire soon:
- Usually Bridging Visas are valid for 28 days after a negative decision is made on your visa application or your review matter.
- If you leave Australia on certain Bridging Visas, you might be subject to a risk factor and might be banned from coming back to Australia for a three year period on a temporary visa.
- If you Bridging Visa expires, you will become unlawful and might face detention and removal from Australia.
- If you hold more than one Bridging visa, generally the most favourable visa prevails.
About the authors
This article was written by Marial Lewis.
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