What are Bridging Visas? Who requires a Bridging Visa?
“Bridging visas (BV) are temporary visas that allow the holder to stay in Australia for a specified period or until he moves out of Australia or until his appropriate visa is decided by the immigration authorities”.
The bridging visa is mostly a short duration visa until some decision is taken on the migrant’s visa or for a specified period.
You are either automatically considered to have applied for a bridging visa for some of the visa subclasses and for some you need to apply yourself for a suitable bridging visa until the immigration authorities decide on your visa application.
What happens when you do not have a bridging visa?
Since a bridging visa makes your stay lawful in Australia while you wait for your visa grant, an absence of one will immediately make you an unlawful entrant in Australia!
Types of Bridging Visas
There are five bridging visas for general use
- Bridging Visa A (BVA)
- Bridging Visa B (BVB)
- Bridging Visa C (BVC)
- Bridging Visa D (BVD)
- Bridging Visa E (BVE)
RPBV – Removal Pending Bridging Visa is for people who are under immigration detention and are cooperating their removal from Australia but cannot be deported at the time owing to practical reasons.
Holders of RPBV can work in the jobs through Centrelink and avail benefits such as Rent assistance and Special benefit. They are also eligible to access Medicare facilities, early Health Assessment and Intervention services. RPBV holder’s school-age children can go to public schools and access to learn English as a second language service. Torture and trauma counselling is available to holders of this bridging visa.
However, the holder cannot sponsor his/her family, travel out of Australia and breach the conditions of the bridging visa.
This visa is for those people who are facing detention cases and satisfy character and security requirements. Unless one meets the mandatory requirements for RPBV, the same is not issued to the person under detention.
General Use Bridging Visas
Bridging Visa A (subclass 010)
This visa is a default temporary visa that lets you stay in Australia until the immigration authorities decide on your new substantive visa application.
Usually, BVA gets applied automatically on your behalf when your current substantive visa is about to expire, and you are in Australia applying and waiting for your new visa. In such case, you get an intimation of BV approval from the authorities.
On the other hand, you can apply for a new BVA if your current BVA has work restrictions and you have compelling reasons to work, or your current BVA/BVB has expired, and you need another BVA until your visa application is processed.
There are no travel rights attached to this bridging visa that requires you to be in Australia when BVA is applied and granted.
Bridging Visa B (subclass 020)
BVB allows you to travel out of Australia and re-enter the country within a specified travel period if you have a compelling reason to do so, while your new substantive visa is processed. You can hold BVA and BVB simultaneously as BVB serves as travel facilitating bridging visa.
The current cost of applying for this visa is AU$145
You must already hold either a BVA or BVB to apply for this bridging visa. You must lodge a BVB with a time gap of minimum 2 weeks but not more than 3 months from the date of your travel.
Bridging Visa C (subclass 030)
Like BVA, BVC too gets automatically granted to some of the specified substantive visa subclasses. You must be in Australia while you lodge and get the grant of this bridging visa. BVC does not allow travel out of Australia and ceases to exist if you do so, after which you cannot re-enter Australia.
Few essential requirements for BVC are
- Your current substantive visa is already expired
- Your neither currently hold or never held a BVE
You can apply for a new BVC if your current BVC does not allow you to work in Australia, but you have compelling reasons to work, or your last BVC has ended, but you are still qualified to apply for another BVC. Once you get your new substantive visa approved or get a new BVC, the current BVC automatically ends.
Why do you need Bridging Visa A, B and C?
When you get Australian PR and apply for citizenship, the period you stayed as an unlawful non-citizen will adversely affect the citizenship process and grant. And, you will not get another visa for 3 years after you leave Australia.
You can seek the assistance of the MARA registered agents to apply for Bridging visas (A, B and C) online.
Bridging Visa D (subclass 040 & 041)
There are 2 subclasses in bridging visa D
- Bridging (Prospective Applicant) Visa – subclass 040
- Bridging (Non-applicant) Visa – subclass 041
BVD does not cost anything to apply. Sometimes, when you make an invalid application for a new substantive visa, you will automatically be allowed a BVD.
A BVD lasts for 5 working days within which you either must apply for a valid substantive visa, be granted a BVE or make final arrangements to leave Australia.
Bridging visa D (subclass 040) is for those of you, who are in Australia while your valid visa has expired or is about to expire within next 3 working days of applying for BVD.
This bridging visa proves necessary in those circumstances when you mistakenly fill the wrong application form or do not pay correct visa charges. You will be provided 5 working days to file accurate, substantive visa application form, and after which you will be eligible for a BVC until you get your visa grant.
Bridging visa D (subclass 041) applies to those who are in Australia on an expired visa and unable to or not willing to apply for a new substantive visa or cannot get an authorised officer interview you.
During the 5 working days, you must be either granted BVE or lodge a valid new substantive visa application or contact Status Resolution Service immediately.
Bridging Visa E (subclass 050 & 051)
BVE lets you stay lawfully in Australia for a short duration after your current substantive visa has expired and you are making final arrangements to leave Australia or waiting for a decision on your immigration matter.
There are 2 types of BVEs
- Bridging (General) Visa – subclass 050
- Bridging (Protection Visa Applicant) Visa – subclass 051
BVE subclass 050 lets you stay for few days if you hold BVD (041) or BVE (050), while your visa has expired.
BVE subclass 051 is for those lawful non-citizens falling under specific circumstances, who are eligible to apply for a relevant bridging visa.
Why do you need Bridging Visa D & E?
Staying unlawfully in Australia attracts detention and removal from the country, and you might not get another visa for 3 years after leaving Australia. You owe a debt to the Australian Government for the cost of your deportation.
There are other dos and don’ts for each category of the bridging visas. You may contact our team of expert migration advisers to provide you more details about them.