Bridging Visas are in place to allow visa applicants to remain lawfully in Australia between the expiry of one substantive visa, and a decision being reached on another pending application.
In the case of partner visas, bridging visas will allow your partner to remain in Australia while your partner visa application is being processed.
If you are considering lodging an onshore partner visa (subclass 820), you may be aware that the processing time can be long. In the event that your current visa expires before your partner visa application is processed and decided upon, a bridging visa will carry you through until the application is finalised.
But what is a bridging visa? What do the different types mean? And what can you do if you don’t have the rights you need? Find out below.
What is a bridging visa?
A bridging visa is a temporary visa that ‘bridges’ the gap between substantive visas. Your bridging visa will allow you to stay in Australia while you’re waiting for your partner visa application to be decided upon. There are many different bridging visas, but the most common ones are bridging visa A, B, C and E.
You will automatically be granted a bridging visa when you lodge your partner visa – you do not need to submit an additional application. If your current visa has not expired when you submit your application, you will remain on that visa and your bridging visa will be inactive. It will activate when your current visa expires.
What are the most common types of bridging visas, and what rights do they give me?
Bridging Visa A
This bridging visa will be granted if you apply for your partner visa while you hold another substantive visa, such as a student visa or a tss visa. Usually, you will also be granted the right to work in Australia. You cannot travel outside of the country and return on this visa. The Bridging Visa A (BVA) allows you to remain lawfully in Australia, but does not allow you to leave and return. If that is your intention you will require a BVB.
Bridging Visa B
The bridging Visa B (BVB) allows you to leave and return to Australia while your visa is being processed.
Bridging Visa C
This visa will usually be issued to you if you lodge an application for a partner visa while you’re already on a bridging visa. It does not allow you to travel outside of the country and return, and is usually granted without work rights.
Bridging Visa E
This visa will usually be issued to you if you apply for your partner visa when you have no valid visa. It does not usually allow you to work, and you cannot re-enter Australia if you leave.
What if I need to travel outside Australia while on a bridging visa?
If you need to travel while on a bridging visa A, a migration agent can help you apply for a bridging visa B. You cannot travel outside of Australia and return on a bridging visa C or E unless exceptional circumstances apply.
Unlike other bridging visas, bridging visa B is not automatically granted. Rather, you can apply for this kind of bridging visa if you need to travel outside of Australia. This visa will allow you to leave and return to Australia during a specified period of time.
To apply for this visa you’ll need substantial reasons for wanting to leave and return to Australia while your application is being processed – and you may need to prove to the Department what you are doing when you are away.
What if I need to work, but my bridging visa does not give me work rights?
If your bridging visa does not give you work rights, a migration agent can help you apply for a bridging visa which does.
To be successful in obtaining work rights, you will need to show a ‘compelling need to work’. A person will have a compelling need to work only if they are suffering financial hardship.
What bridging visa will my family be on?
If your family are dependents in your application, they will be placed on the same bridging visa as you.
How long will I stay on a Bridging Visa?
Bridging Visas generally remain in effect until either:
- you are granted your temporary partner visa; or
- 28 days after notification that your application for a partner visa application is refused;
If you exercise the review rights on your visa, then your bridging visa will remain valid until 28 days after you are notified of the review decision.
Need help applying for a bridging visa B to travel outside of Australia while you wait for your partner visa application to be decided? Or do you need assistance in applying for work rights? We can help. Contact us today to find out how we can make your partner visa application easy and stress free.