Australia bridging visas are short-term visas that are issued only while you wait for a decision on your other substantive visa. Bridging visas can also be issued in cases where your visa expires and you need some time to leave Australia, this allows you to stay legally in Australia until you leave the country.

Most of the time bridging visas are attached automatically a part of substantive visas when you receive your visa but, in some specific circumstances, you are required to submit a new application for your bridging visa.

A substantive visa includes all other types of Australian visas with the exception of:

  • Bridging visas
  • Criminal justice visas
  • Enforcement visas

What Are the Bridging Visa Types for Australia?

The following are the types of Australia bridging visas:

  • Bridging Visa A (010). This type of bridging visa is issued to those that previously held or hold currently another substantive visa. This visa is free of charge and must be submitted the same way that the substantive visa was (either online or via a paper application). Usually, this visa is issued without working rights but, if you can demonstrate that you need to work then you can re-apply for another BVA with some work limitations. A BVA doesn’t allow you to travel outside Australia.
  • Bridging Visa B (020). You are eligible for a bridging visa B if you have or you had previously another substantive Australia visa and you need to travel while your new visa application is processed. You must show that you have very compelling reasons why need to leave Australia in order to get this visa. A BVB can also be granted if you have a BVA and you want to travel.
  • Bridging Visa C (030). A bridging visa C may be issued to you if you didn’t have or don’t have a substantive visa but, you have applied for one. This visa will grant you legal status temporarily until your application is finished being reviewed by the Department. You cannot switch from a BVC to a BVB, which means that you are not allowed to leave Australia while you have a valid BVC.
  • Bridging Visa E (050, 051). This type of visa allows you to stay in Australia as you prepare your travel arrangements if your substantive visa expires. Subclass 051 is granted only to applicants who have lodged an application for a protection visa.

Meeting the Eligibility Criteria for a Bridging Visa

There is one main eligibility criterion for all bridging visa types: You are required to be in Australia when you apply for a bridging visa.

Then depending on what bridging visa suits you the best you have to meet some additional requirements.

Document Checklist for an Australia Bridging Visa

These are the general documents you need to present for your bridging visa application:

Preparing Your Documents

When you apply for a bridging visa, your documents should be in English or you can submit translated versions of the original documents. Your documents have to be translated by the  National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

In case you are applying for the visa online, you have to submit scanned copies of the documents or photocopies but, make sure the scans and photocopies are clear and visible.

Bridging Visa Application Process

You can apply either on paper or online for your bridging visa. The Department prefers you submit online applications so if you can then apply for a visa via the ImmiAccount.

Please keep in mind that, you are allowed to apply only on paper for a bridging visa 051.

When Should I Apply for a Bridging Visa?

You need to apply for a bridging visa if:

  • You are applying for an appeal of a denial decision on your visa application.
  • You are applying for a judicial review of a visa application.
  • Your current visa has expired and you are still in Australia without a valid visa.
  • You hold a bridging visa A and you need to travel.
  • You hold either a bridging A or C that doesn’t allow you to work and you need a visa without work limitations.

After You Apply for Your Bridging Visa

You will be notified when your application is received by the Department of Immigration, and once your visa is approved, the Department will send you the visa grant letter.

Are Bridging Visas Long-Term Visas?

No, bridging visas are only available for a short period of time. These visas serve only one specific purpose; to grant you legal status until you have a long-term Australia visa or you leave the country.

Can I Stay Longer With a Bridging Visa?

You cannot stay longer with a bridging visa. Generally speaking, once your bridging visa is no longer valid you have to leave Australia unless you manage to apply for another bridging visa and you are granted the visa.

Your bridging visa stops being valid the moment you don’t need one. This means you either received a long-term visa, your application was denied, or your judicial review case is finished.

If Your Bridging Visa Was Granted on or After November 19, 2016

You have 35 days until your bridging visa expires after:

  • The Immigration Office denied your visa application or the AAT (Australia Appeals Tribunal) denied your review request.
  • It’s determined that you cannot apply for an appeal at the AAT.
  • You send a cancellation notice for your substantive visa application or cancellation of your review request at the AAT.

If your Bridging Visa Was Granted Before November 19, 2016

Your bridging visa will become invalid after 28 days if:

  • Your substantial visa application was denied.
  • The Immigration Office came to the conclusion that your visa application is invalid.
  • You withdrew your application.
  • The AAT agrees with the denial decision by the Immigration Office on your visa application.
  • The AAT comes to the conclusion that they have no decision power over your visa application.
  • You withdraw your application for an appeal against the decision.
  • The judicial review agrees with the denial decision.

What Is the Difference Between Australia Bridging Visas?

These are some of the main differences between Australia bridging visas:

Bridging Visa A- subclass 010 Bridging Visa B- subclass 020 Bridging Visa C- subclass 030 Bridging Visa E- subclass 050 Bridging Visa E- subclass 051
Must have or had a previous visa. Must have or had a previous visa. A previous visa is not required. Must have or had a previous visa A previous visa may not be required.
Online and paper applications are applicable. Online and paper applications are applicable. Online and paper applications are applicable. Online and paper applications are applicable. Only paper applications are available.
Free of charge. Must submit the application fee. Free of charge Free of charge Free of charge
Travel is not allowed. Travel is allowed. Travel is not allowed. Travel is not allowed. Travel is not allowed.
Applying for a BVB is allowed. N/A Applying for a BVB is not allowed. Applying for a BVB is not allowed. Applying for a BVB is not allowed.

Keep in mind, that sometimes specific cases can be excluded from these situations, all applications for bridging visas are reviewed carefully by the Immigration Office.