What are bridging visas?
Bridging visas in Australia refer to a group of visas generally granted for a temporary period while a substantive visa (any visa that is not a bridging visa or criminal justice visa) holder waits for a new visa to be processed.
Visa processing times vary and there can be lengthy delays. A bridging visa is suitably named as it essentially ‘bridges’ the gap between visas, eliminating the need for visa holders to leave Australia while their new visa is being processed.
For example, an international student studying in Australia on a student visa who is intending to apply for a Subclass 485 Graduate Visa to stay and work after finishing their studies will be granted a bridging visa to remain lawfully while their new substantive visa (Subclass 485 Graduate Visa) is processed.
Who is eligible for a bridging visa?
The following groups of people are eligible for a bridging visa:
- Those who have applied for a substantive visa(the visa) and are waiting on the visa application to be finalised
- Those who have applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a merits review of a visa refusal or cancellation
- Those seeking a judicial review of a visa refusal or cancellation
- Those who have made an initial Ministerial Intervention request
- Unlawful non-citizens who are planning to depart Australia voluntarily
How long is a bridging visa valid?
A bridging visa will be valid for different time periods and expire under different circumstances depending on the type of bridging visa. Most bridging visas are no longer valid if the visa holder leaves Australia.
Types of Bridging visas
Within the broader category of bridging visas are six main types of visas. Each type of bridging visa serves a slightly different purpose and carries different entitlements. The type of substantive visa, or lack of substantive visa, will inform the type of bridging visa that is granted or applicable. Generally, working restrictions will be the same as that of the substantive visa that a holder was previously on except under limited circumstances.
Bridging Visa A
Bridging Visa A is the most common bridging visa. It is granted to current substantive visa holders when they make a valid application for a substantive visa while in Australia. This bridging visa automatically comes into effect when the current substantive visa expires.
Bridging Visa B
This Visa is similar to Bridging Visa A, however, those who are granted a Bridging Visa B are permitted to travel overseas. This is the only bridging visa that allows travel overseas. Travel overseas on all other bridging visas is not permitted.
Bridging Visa C
This bridging visa is granted to those who apply for a substantive visa while they are on a bridging visa(non-substantive visa) or are unlawful in Australia. For example, if a person, who had entered Australia on an expired visitor visa and have been unlawful for a period of time, applied for a partner visa, a bridging visa C will be granted.
Bridging Visa D
There are two subclasses of Bridging Visa D, namely Subclass 040 (Prospective Applicant) Visa and Subclass 041 (Non-applicant) Visa Subclass 040 (Prospective Applicant) Visa is granted when a person is unlawful and has attempted to apply for a substantive visa as their application was invalid. This type of visa allows holders five working days to submit a valid substantive visa application. Subclass 041 (Non-applicant) visa is for those who do not want to apply for a substantive visa and an authorise officer is not available to interview them.
Bridging Visa E
Bridging Visa E is usually granted to a non-citizen who has overstayed their visa, or had their visa cancelled, and allows them to lawfully remain in Australia while they make arrangements to depart.
This type of visa is also granted while a person makes a substantive visa application, seek a judicial review of a decision to refuse or cancel a visa or seeks Ministerial intervention. This bridging visa is also granted to refugees who have applied for a protection visa.
Which bridging visa is right for you?
The above descriptions provide a broad overview of each type of bridging visa including general purpose and eligibility. However, it important to understand the specific circumstances surrounding how and when to apply, relevant restrictions and validity.
Your personal situation can also make a difference when it comes to applying and the granting of a bridging visa. This is a notoriously complex area of law and mistakes are commonly made. The experience and guidance of a professional migration agent will be invaluable to a successful application. Phone Taylor & Scott Lawyers on 1800 600 664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure a smooth visa ride.
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