A Bridging Visa (BV) is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in Australia for a period of time when otherwise you would be liable to be removed (as you don’t hold what is known as a substantive visa). A substantive visa refers to any Australian visa that is not: a Bridging visa, a Criminal Justice, or an Enforcement visa.
Bridging Visas are generally used for three purposes:
- as a type of temporary ‘holding’ visa between two substantive visas
- to give you time to leave Australia if you overstay a substantive visa
- to allow you to ‘lawfully’ remain in Australia to do a specified task or for a specified period.
If you are: in Australia; a non-Australian citizen; and, don’t have a visa, or your visa has expired – you are classified as an ‘unlawful non-citizen’. A person in this situation is liable to be detained and possibly deported. This is not a situation anyone would wish to be in and you are strongly advised to speak to a registered migration agent, or a immigration lawyer to get advice and help. In short, if you are in Australia without a visa, or have an expired visa and no bridging visa, you need immediate help!
There are seven different classes of Australian BVs: BVA, BVB, BVC, BVD, BVE, BVF & BVR. BVA and BVB visas are usually issued automatically when you hold a substantive visa and apply for another substantive visa. For example, say you have a temporary sc 457 work visa and apply for a permanent sc 186 work visa. In this case a BVA will be automatically issued to allow you to stay in Australia between the period when your sc 457 visa lapses and your sc 186 visa is determined. If you hold a BVA and wish to travel home for a short period ‘in-between visas’ you will need to apply for a BVB.
However, other BVs (i.e. a BVC, BVD, BVE, BVF or BVR) are rarely issued automatically and must be applied for. Say, for example, you are an unlawful non-citizen because your visa has elapsed (inadvertently or otherwise) and wish to go home. In most cases you will need to apply for a BVE. If granted this would allow you a short period to make arrangements to leave.
The above examples are however only two or three of many different scenarios that require a BV. The laws associated with Australian BVs are generally complex. Applying for some types of BVs can also have ramifications for future entry to Australia.
If you need help or advice about Bridging Visas you are strongly advised to talk to a MARA Registered Migration Agent.
Au Visas may be contacted for help with a BV enquiry / application by ringing us on 0404329709 or submitting an enquiry via our Enquiry / Comments / Bookings Form on our Contact Us page.