Understanding the Bridging Visa Regime

What is a bridging visa?

Bridging Visas are simply transitory visas which permit the applicant to remain in Australia for a certain period of time and follow the expiration of the applicant’s current substantive visa while waiting for an application for another substantive visa to be processed.

How are they granted?

  • The applicant is onshore and has lodged a new application with Department of Home Affairs;
  • The applicant has applied to the AAT for a decision on a visa refusal or cancellation;
  • There is a court appeal and the applicant is awaiting on a decision on the visa;
  • The applicant has requested for a Ministerial Intervention; or
  • The applicant has been an unlawful non-citizen and is making arrangements to depart Australia voluntarily.

Types of Bridging Visas

There are six bridging visa types which all have slightly different entitlements attached to them.

Bridging Visa A subclass 010 (BVA)

The Bridging Visa A is granted when the applicant applies for a visa while they are onshore and is the holder of a valid visa. The BVA allows the applicant to remain in Australia after the expiry of his substantive visa while he waits for a decision on his pending visa application.

If an applicant holds a BVA and his visa application has been refused, the applicant has 28 days to depart Australia.  The applicant can appeal the decision to the AAT. The BVA will be automatically extend to allow the Tribunal to make a decision.

Under the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994, the BVA entitles the applicant to travel within Australia, but he is not permitted to return to Australia if he has departed the country. If the applicant intends to return to Australia after his travel overseas while waiting for a decision on his visa application, he should apply for a Bridging Visa B.

The BVA also allows the holder work and study permissions based upon the substantive visa they previously held.

Bridging Visa B subclass 020 (BVB)

The Bridging Visa B grants the holder a right to travel and return with a ‘travel authority’ and ‘travel period’ which means the applicant has permission to travel overseas and return to Australia.

The Bridging Visa B will continue to be in effect until a decision on the visa application is finalised (or a Bridging Visa A is reinstated).  The BVB can be applied online using ImmiAccount if the applicant has applied for substantive visa through ImmiAccount and a decision has not yet been made on that application.

Bridging Visa C subclass 030 (BVC)

A Bridging Visa C is available when the applicant lodges an application for a substantive visa while he is unlawfully in Australia. This type of bridging visa is granted if an applicant does not hold a substantive visa and has subsequently become unlawful before applying for a new visa.

BVC’s are granted upon the Department of Home Affairs receiving a valid application for a visa while the applicant is unlawfully in Australia, as there was a period of time between the applicant’s visa expiring and applying for a new visa.

Under the Migration Act 1958 and Migration Regulations 1994, the Bridging Visa C does not permit the applicant to return to Australia if he decides to depart the country before the decision of his substantive visa application is made. The applicant cannot apply for a Bridging Visa B for permission to travel if he holds a Bridging Visa C.

A holder of Bridging Visa C with a condition that prohibits him from working, can apply to have this condition removed. Because there are no avenues to appeal a decision granting a bridging visa with unfavourable conditions, they are required to apply for a new Bridging Visa C without the work prohibition attached to it.

Bridging (Prospective Applicant) Visas subclasses 040 and 041 (BVD)

Bridging (Prospective Applicant) Visas are granted when the applicant is about to become unlawful and has attempted to lodge an invalid substantive visa application.

This Bridging Visa does not come with work entitlements and cannot be applied for permission to travel. The applicant cannot apply for a BVB for travel overseas.

To be eligible for a BVD the applicant must be an unlawful non-citizen or will become unlawful within three business days of his application for the bridging visa, and also he has made a genuine attempt to make a valid application for a substantive visa and he will be able to lodge a valid application for a substantive visa within five working days.

Bridging Visa E subclass 050 and 051 (BVE)

Bridging Visas E are generally granted to non-citizens to allow them to remain in Australia lawfully and to provide them with time to depart Australia voluntarily. This usually occurs when a decision has been made to cancel a visa under section 116 of the Migration Act 1958.

Bridging Visas E are also granted as a way to remain in Australia while applying for a substantive visa, wait for a decision by a court on an appeal, or wait for Ministerial Intervention to grant a visa. Bridging Visas E are also granted if an applicant has applied for a protection visa.

Bridging Visas E are granted in circumstances where a non-citizen is unlawful either through their visa expiring or it being cancelled and will allow them to remain in Australia to make arrangements to return their country of origin or to finalise any outstanding migration matters.

A Bridging Visa E comes with very specific conditions, such as reporting conditions, requiring the visa holder to report to a Department of Home Affairs’ office periodically, and ‘no work’ and ‘no study’ conditions. These conditions can be removed if accompanied with submissions explaining why work or study rights should be granted.

Bridging Visa F subclass 060 (BVF)

A Bridging Visa F can be granted if a non-citizen is a person of interest to police in Australia concerning serious commonwealth offences involving trafficking, sexual servitude, or deceptive recruiting. This visa will allow the unlawful non-citizen to remain in Australia until the earliest date specified by the Minister, which is usually 30 days from the grant or until the Minister advises that the non-citizen is no longer a person of interest to the police.

Not meeting the criteria for a Bridging Visa

If you do not meet the requirements of a bridging visa you will not be granted one. If in immigration detention, you can apply to the AAT for a review of the decision, the court for judicial review, or request for Ministerial Intervention.

Otherwise, if a bridging visa is granted but it has unfavourable conditions, no avenue for appeal exists. The only option would be to apply for a subsequent bridging visa with that unfavourable condition removed.

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