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Bridging Visas

Based on the contribution of Michael Clothier, for The Law Handbook 2016 published by Fitzroy Legal Service, as amended by Er-kai Wang, registered migration agent and Associate Lecturer at the ANU College of Law and current to 19 July 2018.

NOTE: Readers should be aware that the Migration legislation changes frequently. Before using the information listed here, we recommend that you check if the law is still current by seeking advice from a migration agent or visiting the Department of Home Affairs' website.

The purpose of a bridging visa is to allow a non-citizen lawful status in Australia between when he or she applies for a visa and when that visa is granted. The governing principles concerning bridging visas are found in Subdivision AF of the Act (ss 72 - 76). Details of the rules concerning bridging visas are largely set out in the Regulations.

Bridging visas are not substantive visas (see s 5(1) of the Act for definition of a 'substantive visa'). They provide lawful status to a person in Australia who would otherwise be an unlawful non-citizen.

There are 7 classes of bridging visas and they are generally known by a letter - Bridging Visa A (BVA), BVB, BVC, BVD, BVE, BVF and BVR, with BVA being the most advantageous. The type of bridging visa that may be granted will depend on the circumstances.

All bridging visas, except BVB, allow the holder to remain in Australia but do not allow travel. Check the effective dates and visa conditions carefully before undertaking any work or study.

Bridging Visa A

To be eligible for a BVA, the person must have lodged a valid application for a substantive visa in Australia, while holding a substantive visa; and the visa applied must be one which can be granted if the applicant is onshore.

Bridging Visa B

A BVB allows the holder to leave and re-enter Australia while waiting for the pending outcome of their substantive visa application (including merits review and judicial review). This is the only type of Bridging visa that allows the holder to return to Australia from overseas.

Bridging Visa

A BVC is for a non-citizen who has made a valid application for an onshore substantive visa, but at the time of application, he or she is not the holder of a substantive visa. The non-citizen may hold another bridging visa or be an unlawful non-citizen at the time of application. A BVC is only granted to those applicants who are not in detention and do not hold or have held a BVE.

Bridging Visa D

There are two subclasses in this type of bridging visa.

Subclass 040 (Prospective applicant) is for a person who:
  • is unlawful, or will become unlawful within 3 days, and
  • has attempted to make a valid application in Australia for a substantive visa that can be granted while in Australia, but
  • is unable to do so, and
  • will make a valid application for a substantive visa within the next 5 working days.
Subclass 041 (Non-applicant) is for a person who:
  • is an unlawful non-citizen
  • is unable to make a valid application for a substantive or does not want to apply for a substantive visa;
  • cannot be interviewed because an authorised Departmental officer is not available.

Bridging Visa E

BVE is one of the most common types of Bridging Visa. The applicant for a BVE must be either unlawful or holding a BE. Some of the circumstances which may make a person eligible for a BVE include that the person:
  • is making arrangements to leave Australia (such as being able to show an airline tickets or an airline booking and a valid passport); or
  • is applying for a visa that can be granted in Australia and that application is being considered by the Department or the Tribunal's Migration and Refugee Division; or
  • has applied for or about to apply for, merits review of a decision to cancel a visa; or
  • has applied for merits review or judicial review
  • Has requested Ministerial intervention for the first time or the Minister is personally considering a further request for intervention.
  • is a family member of someone whose visa has been cancelled and an application for revocation or review of the decision has been made.

Bridging Visa F

A BVF allows a fixed period of time (commonly 30 days) to people who are unlawful non-citizens who have been identified by the Australian Federal Police as persons of interest in relation to people trafficking, sexual servitude or deceptive recruiting.

Bridging Visa R

A BVR is for people in detention cooperating with removal but where removal is not reasonably practicable. They must have no outstanding visa applications (with the exception of a second protection visa application).

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