Bridging Visas - Types, Cost & Guide

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When you await the decision on a visa application or the finalisation of an immigration matter in Australia, you might come across the term Bridging Visa. Now, what is a bridging visa? It is a transitory visa that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) grants in certain situations. A bridging visa allows the holder to be a legal resident of Australia until the resolution of their immigration status. You cannot be on a bridging visa while awaiting a decision on your Australian citizenship application unless the decision is in a merits review or a judicial review process.

When in Australia, every non-citizen must have a lawful resident status with the right visa for it. However, when that individual’s visa expires, and they are yet to get the new visa for which they have applied, a bridging visa would let them maintain the said status in the nation.

Getting this form of visa is not an outcome in and of itself. Rather, it is an element of an outcome, such as between the duration of the grant of a new substantive visa when in the country. The term substantive visa* refers to any visa other than an enforcement visa, a criminal justice visa, or a bridging visa in Australia.

Types of Bridging Visas

There are different forms of bridging visas, which we will address below. The conditions that are imposed on these visas and the rights they grant, vary considerably. If the Department of Home Affairs grants you a bridging visa, it would inform you about all the conditions applicable to that visa. If you have a valid substantive visa while the DHA grants your bridging visa, you must keep adhering to the conditions that apply to the former visa. When your former visa expires, however, the conditions for your specific bridging visa type would apply.

You might be wondering how to apply for a bridging visa B or another type of bridging visa. Most bridging visa subclasses are automatically applied during the process of lodging an application for a new substantive visa. The DHA would let you know if your bridging visa application is automatically launched. You could use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) documentation to check whether you already have this visa. This piece of information could come in handy if you are wondering how to check bridging visa status.

Bridging Visa Name Work Rights Separate Application Requirement International Travel Rights
Bridging Visa A Identical to the visa when the BVA application was lodged No None
Bridging Visa B Same as for BVA Yes Yes
Bridging Visa C None, but there can be no employment restrictions in certain cases No None
Bridging Visa D None Yes None
Bridging Visa E None, but you can apply to the DHA for the rights to be reinstated Yes None

1. Bridging Visa A (Subclass 010)

The DHA issues a bridging visa A (BVA) to a person who applies for a new substantive visa as they hold an expired substantive visa. The conditions associated with this visa will generally be identical to the conditions related to the visa that the person holds when making that application.

For instance, the DHA would allow you to hold a bridging visa A for the duration between where your visitor visa ends and while the department is still processing your application for a student visa.

The bridging visa usually becomes effective when your existing substantive visa expires in a way that does not require you to submit a separate application for it.

The BVA would end if:

  • You leave the country when it is effective.
  • The DHA grants you the new substantive visa that you applied for.
  • The DHA grants you a further bridging visa in association with the same application that the BVA is related to.
  • The DHA cancels either the substantive visa you had when it granted you a bridging visa A or your BVA.

  • 2. Bridging Visa B (Subclass 020)

    Bridging visas may allow staying lawfully in Australia, but only a person with a BVB can leave and come back to the country within a specified period while the DHA processes their substantive visa. The DHA would tell you up to what time you can travel from and to Australia after you apply for a bridging visa B. Be sure to be in Australia before the travel period ends to maintain a valid bridging visa. If you are overseas when the travel period completes, you would have to apply for another bridging visa B. You are likely to qualify for this visa in the event that you:

  • Hold a Bridging Visa A or a BVB that is about to expire.
  • Wait for a determination on a visa application that the DHA is yet to finalise or that is in a merits review or a judicial review process.
  • Have a valid reason to leave and come back to the country as you await the result of your new visa application.

  • One of these outcomes will dictate the last date of your bridging visa B stay period:

  • The DHA refused your application for a substantive visa.
  • A decision has been made on your request for a review at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the Federal Circuit Court.
  • You took back your formal request for a substantive visa, merits review, and/or judicial review.
  • The DHA granted you the visa associated with the BVB.
  • The DHA cancelled your new bridging visa B application or your expired substantive visa when it granted you a BVB.
  • The Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to look into your merits review application.

  • When you are informed about an outcome, check your VEVO documentation to know the duration of your stay in the country with this visa.

    3. Bridging Visa C (Subclass 030)

    The Department of Home Affairs is likely to grant you a bridging visa C (BVC) in the event that you are on a bridging visa and have applied for a relevant substantive visa. For instance, if you have an expired visitor visa and applied for another substantive visa, such as an employer-sponsored visa, the DHA would grant you a BVC. You cannot travel back to Australia with this form of bridging visa, and it generally comes with no work rights.

    A BVC would become effective in one of these situations:

  • The DHA grants it.
  • The DHA cancels either the visa you held as it granted you a bridging visa C.
  • Your existing substantive visa expires.
  • A different, more beneficial bridging visa of yours expires.

  • You would not be able to work if you have not applied for one of these visas in Australia.

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888)
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
  • Business Talent Visa (subclass 132)
  • Skilled — Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)
  • Skilled — Independent Visa (subclass 189)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (subclass 187)
  • Skilled — Nominated Visa (subclass 190)

  • If a bridging visa C does not allow you to get employment in Australia, you could also apply for the work rights to be reinstated from the DHA. To be able to have a BVC with work rights, you will generally need to show the DHA that you experience financial hardship. The DHA would then assess your situation in association with your claim about employment, and you would have to meet its conditions for work rights.

    4. Bridging Visa D (Subclass 041)

    This is a visa granted to someone who either has a substantive visa that will end in three working days or does not even have a substantive visa. The DHA would grant it to you if you could not apply for another substantive visa for some reason, like, for instance, the unavailability of an immigration officer to interview you. The BVD allows staying in Australia for five days until you make all preparations to leave the country, lodge a new substantive visa application, or get a Bridging Visa E (BVE).

    The BVD will not allow you to work in Australia in any situation. In the event that you work when you hold this visa, it is likely to be cancelled. You cannot travel internationally with the bridging visa D. In case you go away from Australia when on this visa, you cannot return if you do not submit an application for another visa from overseas.

    5. Bridging Visa E (Subclass 050)

    The BVE is a bridging visa for an unlawful foreign national to remain in Australia up to the time their immigration status is resolved. One of the events related to that status can be: the cancellation of your existing bridging visa E, the grant of your substantive visa, or you leaving Australia. For instance, you can be on this visa when making arrangements for your legal departure from the country. A person with a bridging visa D (subclass 041) can also apply for this visa. You would also need this visa if you have an expired version of it and are submitting an application for a new one.

    You cannot travel internationally when on this visa. It will not allow you to work either, although you could formally request the DHA to reinstate work rights if you can prove that you experience financial hardship.

    If you need further assistance with your visa, reach out to our migration agents at AECC to understand your immigration situation better and solve it. You would appreciate the solutions and services our migration agents provide, as the immigration process is more complex than you’d think!

    Frequently Asked Questions About Bridging Visas

    1. What is the Bridging Visa Processing Time?

    Now, how long does it take to get a bridging visa? Unfortunately, there are no statistics available in this regard. Fill out the application correctly with all the necessary documents or information to help confirm that the DHA processes it as quickly as possible.

    2. Can Everyone in a Family Get a Bridging Visa?

    No. Have you and a Member of Your Family Unit applied for substantive visas in Australia? If so, you might have applied for this form of bridging visa at the same time. If you lodge an application specifically for it, you could add only a Member of your Family Unit to it if that person is in your application for a substantive visa. The DHA would assess each dependent’s application and determine which form of bridging visa to grant them.

    3. How Long Does a Bridging Visa Last?

    It depends on an immigration-related outcome, like the grant or refusal of your application for a substantive visa. After you become aware of that outcome, look at your VEVO documentation for the length of your stay in Australia.

    4. Can You Work On a Bridging Visa in Australia?

    It hinges on what form of bridging visa you have. If it is a BVA or a BVB, you would have work rights. However, a BVC or BVE comes with work restrictions, so you must make another application for work rights.

    5. Is a Bridging Visa Applicable for Permanent Resident Status?

    No, it is a visa allowing a temporary stay in Australia.

    6. What is a Bridging Visa A and a Bridging Visa B?

    A BVA or a BVB is a subclass of a bridging visa, which allows staying in Australia until the holder’s immigration status gets resolved. The main distinction between the two is that a BVA does not allow return travel to Australia, whereas a BVB does.

    7. What Bridging Visa Should I Apply for or Get?

    For us to better understand your situation and discover which bridging visa is most applicable to you, please visit any of our AECC offices so that our team can help and assist you with your situation. Alternatively, you can also contact us at 1800-960-591.

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