What are Australian Bridging Visas?
The complexity of the Australian immigration process means that sometimes visas might expire before a new one has been issued.
However, situations may arise where someone’s visa has expired, but they need to stay in the country. That is why the Department of Immigration is able to issue certain people with “bridging visas” under limited circumstances.
A bridging visa allows a person to remain in Australia lawfully until they are issued with a new substantive visa or while they make arrangements to leave the country.
Australian Bridging Visas Types
There are several types of bridging visas (A to E) all of which have strict requirements on what a holder can do while in the country. You cannot apply for a bridging visa if you are overseas.
A person cannot stay in the country on a bridging visa indefinitely. This visa is only a temporary short-term visa granted by the immigration department while the holder has their outstanding immigration matter resolved. It should never be considered a solution to an Australian immigration issue.
There will be certain conditions attached to a bridging visa that the person must follow.
If a person is issued with an A-type bridging visa (BVA), they will not always have the right to work in Australia, even if they had a visa that entitled them to work previously. However, work rights will automatically be granted if the person has been sponsored by an employer for a substantive visa and appears to meet the requirements for the visa, and the person previously held another type of visa that entitled them to work.
Generally, a person with a bridging visa does not have the right to travel on this visa so if someone left Australia, they would not be able to get back again. However, the B-type bridging visa (BVB) does allow the holder to travel under certain circumstances. This bridging visa is usually only valid for three months, so a person will have to be back in Australia before it expires.
A C-type bridging visa (BVC) will allow someone to remain in Australia lawfully while they are applying for a substantive visa, but where they did not already hold one.
People who have been found to be unlawful or are making arrangements to leave permanently can be granted an E-type bridging visa (BVE) so they are not stopped at customs for overstaying.