Bridging Visas Explained

  • Sharebar

In my time as a migration agent, and in my former life as an employee in the Department of Immigration, I have noted that one of the most commonly misunderstood visas are in fact bridging visas (BVs). There seems to be a commonly held view that you can ask for a bridging visa when you need more time. For the most part, this is not at all true.

What is a Bridging Visa?

Australian visas can be classified as two main types: substantive visas and bridging visas. The term “substantive visas” covers the gamut of the “normal” or “proper” visas, such as student visas, skilled visas, family visas, employer sponsored visas, etc.

Bridging visas are different. The easiest way to answer the question “what is a bridging visa?” is this: Bridging visas are there to allow you to remain lawfully in Australia while you have another substantive visa application in progress. In most cases, you obtain a bridging visa only after you have applied for a substantive visa. The bridging visa is what keeps you lawfully in Australia while your application is being assessed, which could be months, or in some cases, even years.

For example, let’s say you are in Australia as the holder of a student visa which expires on March 15th. You apply for your skilled permanent visa on March 10th. You only have 5 days left on your visa, but the skilled visa is expected to take 12 weeks to process. You need something to keep you lawful in Australia during the processing—that’s what the bridging visa does. (Here are some other basic facts about bridging visas in Australia.)

How is a bridging visa granted?

In some cases, like in the example immediately above, the bridging visa will be granted automatically when you make your visa application. In the scenario above, for example, you would receive a Bridging Visa “A.”

In some other cases, you must apply for your bridging visa separately. This could be the case, for example, if you had become unlawful in Australia (i.e., your previous visa expired while you were still in Australia), or if you want to change conditions on your bridging visa (e.g., work rights), or if you want a different bridging visa which allows you to travel (see below).

Which BV is for me and can I travel?

There are a number of different bridging visas. The one for you depends on your situation. Whether or not you can travel depends on a number of factors. A very basic summary is as follows:

Bridging Visa “A”: This is the most common bridging visa. It is used to bridge the gap between substantive visas. You can generally only obtain this bridging visa if you make a valid application for a substantive visa while you are lawfully in Australia. As a general rule, you cannot travel while holding this visa. It is much safer to obtain a BVB if you want to travel.

Bridging Visa “B”: This is the bridging visa which allows you to travel in and out of Australia. You can only obtain this visa if you already hold a bridging visa “A” or a bridging visa “B.”

Bridging Visa “C”: This is similar to a BVA, but you would normally obtain this visa if you did not hold a substantive visa at the time you made your visa application. This visa generally does not allow work rights, and you cannot travel while holding this visa.

Bridging Visa “D”: This is a very short-term visa (5 days) which is granted only to people who are about to become unlawful (for example, on a weekend) and need a visa to bridge that short gap before they can apply for their next visa. It can also be granted to people who are unlawful in very limited circumstances.

Bridging Visa “E”: The BVE has many purposes. It is only granted to people who are unlawful or already hold a BVE. You cannot travel while holding this visa.

Bridging Visa “F”: This visa is only for people, or their family members, who have been the victims of human trafficking. It allows travel in some circumstances.

Bridging Visa “R”: This “removal pending” bridging visa is only for people who are in immigration detention, but once the visa is approved will live in the community pending removal from Australia when reasonably practicable.

Can I work while holding my BV?

Work rights on bridging visas are very complex. There is no single accurate answer to this question. Some bridging visas allow unrestricted work rights, while some have a mandatory no-work condition imposed. Some bridging visas allow you to make an application to change the conditions, so while you may originally be granted a BV with no work rights, in some instances it is possible to obtain work rights.

You should discuss your situation with one of our migration professionals to understand how bridging visa issues (including work rights) relate to you.

How to get started:

How to start the process with us depends on your situation. If you know which visa you are applying for, you can get the process started by taking an online assessment on our website. From there, you will be provided service options.

If you are not sure about your situation and would like to talk to one of our friendly advisors, a good place to start is to book a Skype consultation to have a face-to-face chat with us.

I look forward to being able to help you with your visa situation in the future.

Finding reliable, professional visa help can be very challenging. If you have found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it using the icon visible on the left-hand side of this page.

John Bell
General Manager and Senior Migration Agent
MARN 0321386

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • DZone
  • Ping.fm
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks

John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Popular Articles

Study in Australia: 10 Basic Steps You Should Know

TweetSharebar TweetAustralia, one of the top five best countries to study in the world, offers sought-after quality education on top of exciting cultural diversity. Proof of delivery on this promise is the fact that five Australian universities have made it to the top 100 of the 400-plus higher education institutions worldwide ranked by Times Higher [...]

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • DZone
  • Ping.fm
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks