Bridging Visa Applications – Do I Have One Or Don’t I?
Bridging Visa Applications
New Application for bridging visa
A formal bridging visa application is usually not needed if you apply for a further visa while you are in Australia and you already hold a substantive visa at the time of making your further visa application.
The reason why a formal visa application for a bridging visa might not be required is because by operation of law, the application for the further visa is typically deemed to be an application for a bridging visa, which is usually automatically granted.
The purpose of a bridging visa is to bridge the gap, if any, between the time at which your current substantive visa expires and the point in time when your new substantive visa is granted.
The bridging visa is a mechanism for keeping you lawfully present in Australia. If the bridging visa was not to be granted then it would mean that you would be an unlawful non-citizen present in Australia for that period between when your substantive visa expires and your further visa is granted.
Bridging visa types
The three most common types of bridging visas are bridging visa a, bridging visa b, and bridging visa e. Which bridging visa do you have?
Find out more. The most important thing to check is that you always have a visa whilst you are in Australia (if you’re not the holder of an Australian passport).
You can check the visa that you hold at any time by completing a vevo check. It’s online and free.
Be careful with a bridging visa b (bvb). Its purpose is to allow you to leave and return to Australia whilst you are waiting on a further substantive visa to be granted to you; you may exit Australia for a very finite travel period, and must re-enter Australia by a specified date.
The biggest risk with a bvb is that you forget the period for which your bvb is granted, and you then fail to re-enter Australia before the date specified.
Take very careful note to start returning to Australia several days before your bridging visa b expires, so that you have ample time to re-enter Australia if you leave.
When you re-enter Australia your bridging visa b does not change back to a bridging visa a, but will show as a bridging visa b allowing you to continue to stay in Australia but importantly does not then still have any exit and return facility. You will need to take care to lodge a further bridging visa b if you wish to again exit Australia in the period in which you are waiting for the grant of your further substantive visa.
If you hold a bridging visa a or a bridging visa b you can apply for a bridging visa b (bvb). Unfortunately if you hold a bridging visa c or a bridging visa d or a bridging visa e then it’s not possible for you to apply for a bvb.
Think of it this way – if you hold a bridging visa c or d or e, you can never go back to get a bridging visa b, at least until after your further substantive visa application has been granted.
As existing above, bridging visas “bridge” you from when an existing visa ceases to be “in effect” till the time decision on any new visa you may have applied for. Usually, the visa will run for a period of up to 28 days after the decision of the Department, allowing you or your migration agent enough time to make an appeal if you are unsuccessful.
Bridging Visa e to Exit
The Department of Immigration can issue these visas for a fixed period. For example, you might be without a visa and need a week or so to get things in order before you can exit Australia – Immigration will often grant you this type of visa for a fixed term which will allow you time to exit the country or lodge another application.
Bridging Visa “In Effect”
Although your bridging visa may be granted (and you may have received a letter from Immigration saying that you have been granted this visa) take care to note that this visa will usually only come “into effect” when your existing visa expires and will remain in place while your new visa application is being considered.
For example, suppose you are a holder of a Subclass 600 Visitor Visa. And you apply for a Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage Visa while onshore. You will not automatically become the holder of a bridging visa as soon as you make that 482 visa application.
You will still be on your Subclass 600 until it expires. Your bridging visa will usually kick in, if at all, immediately upon the expiry of your Subclass 600 Visitor Visa.
Bridging Visa “Never In Effect”
It is very possible that the Department grants your 482 Visa Application while your Subclass 600 Visa is still in effect. This means the bridging visa granted to you in association with your Subclass 582 Visa Application will be extinguished and never come into effect.
Bridging Visas – Practice Tip!
Stay onshore if your bridging visa is not yet in effect. Exiting Australia will usually extinguish this visa and you may well find yourself stuck offshore.
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