An Australian bridging visa is a short-term visa that is issued only while you are waiting for a decision on another substantive visa. Bridging visas are also issued if your visa has expired and you need more time to leave Australia. They allow you to legally stay in Australia until you leave.
In most cases, a bridging visa is automatically attached as part of your substantive visa when you receive it, but in certain circumstances you will need to make a new application for a bridging visa.
Substantive visas include all other types of Australian visas except:
- Bridging visas
- Criminal justice visas
- Enforcement visas
What Are the Bridging Visa Types for Australia?
The types of bridging visas in Australia are as follows:
- Bridging Visa A (010). This type of bridging visa is issued to individuals who have previously held or currently hold another substantial visa. This visa is issued free of charge and must be applied for in the same manner as the substantive visa (online or on a paper application). Usually this visa is issued without the right to work, but if you can prove that you need to work, you can apply for another BVA with additional work restrictions BVAs do not allow you to travel outside Australia.
- Bridging B Visa (020). If you already have or had a comprehensive Australian visa and need to travel while your new visa application is being processed, you may be eligible for a Bridging Visa B. To qualify for this visa, you must show that there is a compelling reason why you need to leave Australia. BVB is also granted to people who are traveling on a BVA.
- Bridging Visa C (030). A Bridging Visa C is issued if you do not have a substantive visa or do not have one but are applying for one. This visa gives you temporary legal status until your application has been reviewed by the Department; you cannot change from a BVC to a BVB. This means that you cannot leave Australia while you have a valid BVC.
- Bridging Visa E (050, 051). This type of visa allows you to stay in Australia to prepare for travel when your substantive visa has expired. Subclass 051 is only available to applicants who have applied for a protection visa.
Meeting the Eligibility Criteria for a Bridging Visa
There is one main eligibility criterion for all bridging visas. You must be a resident of Australia when applying for a bridging visa.
Depending on what type of bridging visa you are applying for, you will also need to meet some additional requirements.
Document Checklist for an Australia Bridging Visa
These are the general documents required to apply for a bridging visa.
- You will need a copy of the bio page of your passport or other form of identification.
- You will need to show that you are of good character.
- You may be asked to provide your fingerprints after you apply for your visa.
- Depending on who is helping you with your application, you may submit this form if you are a designated beneficiary or if you are an immigration officer.
- Parental Consent Form (for BVB).
- Proof of compelling reason for travel (for BVB).
Preparing Your Documents
If you are applying for a bridging visa A, the documents must be written in English, but you can submit a translated version of the original. The translation must be done by a sworn translator/interpreter.
If you are applying online, you must submit scans or copies of your documents, but please make sure that the scans or copies are clear and legible.
Bridging Visa Application Process
You can apply for a bridging visa on paper or online. We recommend that you apply online so that you can apply for your visa through your imi account.
Please note that the 051 bridging visa can only be applied for in paper form.
When Should I Apply for a Bridging Visa?
You may need to apply for a bridging visa if you
- You are appealing a decision to deny your visa application
- You are seeking a judicial review of your visa application
- Your current visa has expired and you are in Australia without a valid visa
- You hold a bridging A visa but need to travel.
- You hold a bridging A or C visa but are not allowed to work and need a visa with no work restrictions.
After You Apply for Your Bridging Visa
You will be notified when your application has been received by Immigration. Once your visa is approved, Immigration will send you a Visa Grant Letter.
Are Bridging Visas Long-Term Visas?
Bridging visas are only available for short periods of time. The sole purpose of these visas is to give you legal status until you either obtain a longer term Australian visa or leave the country.
Can I Stay Longer With a Bridging Visa?
You cannot stay for an extended period of time on a bridging visa. Generally, when your bridging visa expires, you must leave Australia unless you apply for another bridging visa and your visa is approved.
Your bridging visa will expire when you no longer need it. This means that you have either been granted a long-stay visa, your application has been rejected, or your judicial review has been completed.
If Your Bridging Visa Was Granted on or After November 19, 2016
Your bridging visa will expire in 35 days.
- The Department of Immigration has refused your visa application or the Australia Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has refused your request for review.
- If the AAT considers that you cannot appeal the decision.
- You have sent a notice of cancellation of your substantive visa application or cancellation of your request for review to the AAT.
If your Bridging Visa Was Granted Before November 19, 2016
A bridging visa becomes invalid after 28 days if
- Your application for a substantive visa is denied; or
- The Department of Immigration concludes that your visa application is invalid.
- Your application is withdrawn; or
- the AAT agrees with the immigration officer’s decision to deny your visa application.
- the AAT has concluded that it has no right to decide on your visa application.
- You have withdrawn your request to appeal the decision.
- the judicial review agrees with the decision to reject your application.
What Is the Difference Between Australia Bridging Visas?
These are the main differences between Australian bridging visas:
Please note that all applications for a bridging visa are carefully reviewed by the Immigration Department, although certain cases may be excluded.