Overview

Bridging visas are transitory visas which allow you to remain in Australia for a period of time between visa applications or until you make arrangements to depart Australia. They keep you in Australia lawfully until your formal visa status is resolved.

You cannot be granted a bridging visa if you are outside Australia.

You generally apply for a bridging visa as part of an application made in Australia for another substantive visa without needing to make a separate application. The bridging visa is then granted by operation of law for the period of time it takes to grant or refuse the application. Eligible family members who applied for the substantive visa with you will be granted the same bridging visa with the same conditions.

There are six bridging visa types all of which have slightly different entitlements attached.

A bridging visa generally has the same conditions as your previous visa. For example, if you had a permission to work on your previous visa you are likely to have a permission to work on your bridging visa. If your previous visa did not include work rights, then your bridging visa will not permit you to work noting that you may be able to apply for a new bridging visa with work rights.

Strategic considerations

COVID-19 WARNING

If you are in Australia and your current visa is ending and you cannot depart because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, you need to apply for a new visa or risk being placed in immigration detention pending deportation. You should NOT under any circumstances apply for a Bridging visa E (BVE) if you have any other visa options.

Specifically, if you cannot leave Australian because of COVID-19 travel restrictions we advise you to apply for a Subclass 408 visa.

Using bridging visas strategically

The time that it takes to decide a visa can be extensive as it includes the time it takes the Department of Home Affairs to process the application, the time that it takes the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to decide your review application, the time it takes for the Minister to decide whether to intervene in your visa process, and the time it takes the Federal Circuit Court and then the Full Federal Court to finally decide your application for judicial review of the initial decision.

Speaking bluntly, many people live and work in Australia for many years as bridging visa holders while waiting for a visa application to be finally decided on the basis of the law. This period allows people to work, get married, live an ordinary life, and meet the legal requirements for permanent residence while waiting for the visa to be decided.

Bridging visas and the review process can be used strategically to remain in Australia while you become eligible to migrate.

Bridging visas can be both simple and highly complex and we encourage you to contact VisAustralia if you have questions about your legal status in Australia.

Bridging visa A (BVA) – subclass 010

The Bridging visa A (BVA) is the most common bridging visa. It is granted automatically when you make a valid application for a substantive visa while in Australia.

It allows you to stay in Australia lawfully after your current visa ceases and while your new substantive visa application is being processed. A BVA springs into life when your old visa expires, and before that you must continue to comply with the conditions of the substantive visa including continuing to study and completing any course under a Student visa.

A BVA ends immediately if one of the following occurs:

  • you leave Australia while your BVA is in effect;
  • you are granted the substantive visa you applied for;
  • you are granted another Bridging visa (such as a BVB) in relation to the same substantive visa application;
  • the Department of Home Affairs cancels a substantive visa that you hold.
  • Work rights

    You may be allowed to work on your BVA depending on the applicable visa conditions. If your BVA does not let you work, or has work restrictions, you may be able to apply for a second BVA with work rights if you can demonstrate you are in financial hardship.

    Travel rights

    If you leave Australia while holding a BVA the visa will cease, and you will not be able to return. If you need to travel, you need to apply for a Bridging visa B before leaving or apply for a new visa from outside Australia.

    For more information visit: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au.

These are some of the common eligibility criteria:

  • you must hold or have held a substantive visa;
  • you need to be in Australia when you apply;
  • you must have made a valid application for a substantive visa or merits or judicial review within the prescribed timeframes;
  • you must meet character requirements.

A BVA will be granted automatically when you make a valid application onshore for a substantive visa while holding a valid substantive visa.

There are no separate government fees associated with making an application for a BVA.

Bridging visa B (BVB) – subclass 020

A Bridging visa B (BVB) allows you to depart and return to Australia during a specified travel period while waiting for a substantive visa application to be decided.

BVB’s can be granted for between three and 12 months depending on the reasons for your travel.

Work rights

You may be able to work on your BVB if the substantive visa or the BVA that you held had work rights.

If you want to change conditions on your BVB you will need to apply for a new bridging visa with work rights As part of this application you will need to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship.

For more information visit: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au.

These are some of the common eligibility criteria:

  • you must have held a substantive visa;
  • you must already hold a BVA or a BVB;
  • you need to be in Australia when you apply;
  • you must have made a valid application for a substantive visa or merits or judicial review within the prescribed timeframes;
  • you must have a substantial reason for wanting to leave and return to Australia;
  • you must meet character requirements.

Processing times are not available for this visa.

This visa costs AUD$155.

Please note that the above amount does not include related costs or the professional fees of an immigration lawyer/agent.

Bridging visa C (BVC) – subclass 030

A Bridging visa C (BVC) is granted if you are hold a bridging visa or are an unlawful non-citizen when you lodge a valid application for a substantive visa.

A BVC ceases if the following occurs:

  • you leave Australia while your BVC is in effect;
  • you are granted the substantive visa you applied for;
  • you are granted another bridging visa in relation to the same substantive visa application; or
  • the Department of Home Affairs cancels your BVC or another substantive visa that you held.
  • Work rights

    If your BVC does not let you work, or has restrictions on working, you can apply for another BVC that lets you work. To be considered for a BVC that allows you to work, you will need to demonstrate you are experiencing financial hardship.

    Travel rights

    You are not permitted to travel outside Australia with this visa. If you leave Australia while holding a BVC you will not be permitted to return on this visa but would need to apply for a new visa from outside Australia.

    For more information visit: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au.

These are some of the common eligibility criteria:

  • you must not hold a Bridging visa E (BVE) and you must not have held a BVE since you last held a substantive visa;
  • when you lodged your application for a new substantive visa, you must not have held a substantive visa;
  • you need to be in Australia when you apply;
  • you meet character requirements.

Processing times are not available for this visa. Depending on your situation, a BVC may be granted automatically or after you make a separate application for the BVC.

There are no separate government fees associated with making an application for a BVC.

Bridging visa D (BVD) – subclass 041

The Bridging visa D (BVD) is a short term visa valid for 5 days. It is granted to people with no valid substantive visa or to people whose substantive visa will expire in 3 working days.

A BVD permits you to stay in Australia lawfully for a short time until to prepare and make a new visa application, make arrangements to leave Australia, or are granted a Bridging visa E.

Work rights

This visa does not give work rights in any circumstances. If you work on a BVD your BVD may be cancelled.

Travel rights

You are not allowed to travel with this visa. If you leave Australia while holding a BVD you will not be able to return unless you apply for a new visa from outside Australia.

These are some of the common eligibility criteria:

  • you must be present in Australia to apply for this visa;
  • you must not hold a substantive visa or the substantive you held should be expiring within three working days.

The BVD has no defined processing time an is dependent on the individual case.

The BVD carries no government application charge.

You may have to pay additional fees if you require professional assistance with the visa application process from an immigration lawyer/agent.

Bridging visa E (BVE) – subclass 051

The Bridging Visa E (BVE) is a visa of last resort generally granted to unlawful non-citizens to allow for a graceful departure from Australia in preference to being placed in immigration detention pending deportation. They are also granted to people waiting for the final resolution of other visa processes including Ministerial Intervention.

A BVE can be granted with very specific conditions including regular and intrusive reporting conditions, no work and no study conditions, the obligation to apply for a new BVE every three months or go into immigration detention or be deported, and restrictions on applying for any further substantive visa while in Australia.

COVID-19 WARNING

You should not under any circumstances apply for a BVE if you have any other visa options. Specifically, if you cannot leave Australian because of COVID-19 travel restrictions you should apply for a Subclass 408 visa rather than a BVE.

Work rights

If your BVE visa does not have work rights, you can apply for a new BVE with work rights if you can establish you are in financial hardship.

The Australian Government has a predisposition not to give people work rights on this visa.

Travel rights

You are not allowed to travel with this visa. If you leave Australia while holding a BVE you will not be able to return unless you apply for a new visa from outside Australia.

For more information visit: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au.

These are some of the common eligibility criteria:

  • you must be an unlawful non-citizen, the holder of a BVE, or the holder of a BVD when you apply for this visa;
  • you must meet character requirements.

Processing times are unavailable for this visa.

The BVD carries no government application charge.

You may have to pay additional fees if you require professional assistance with the visa application process from an immigration lawyer/agent.

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