Most of the people who have had to go through Australia’s immigration system will not hesitate to tell you that it is quite a complex and stressful process. While some are lucky enough to have a relatively straightforward journey in their quest to make Australia their home/place of study/place of business, the vast spectrum of human circumstances can make the process all the more complicated. This element of unpredictability is compounded given the array of different visas that is available.
In accordance with the old Heraclitus’ saying “the only constant is change”, for any given applicant it is inevitable to predict a change in circumstances. However, as circumstances change, so does an applicant’s eligibility for a certain visa class/subclass. This is where Australia’s Bridging Visa System comes into play.
In essence, a Bridging Visa acts as the temporary ‘bridge’ between one visa to another for an applicant, accommodating for specific circumstances that the applicant may be placed in. Generally, a Bridging Visa is granted when an applicant’s current visa has expired and is awaiting the outcome of a completed application (whatever the subclass may be). Bridging Visas are granted to maintain a person’s lawful status in Australia. However, as with all tools of a temporary nature (and with visas generally), there are certain classes that an applicant must be aware of.
Firstly to outline the categories, there are Bridging Visas A to E, each with their own respective rights and restrictions. Tailored to your particular circumstance, Australia’s Department of Immigration will assign you one Bridging Visa (should you be eligible or require one). The information below will give you a brief description of each Bridging Visa type:
- Bridging Visa A (BVA): BVA’s are granted upon lodgement of a ‘substantive’ (i.e. not a Bridging Visa) application. As a requirement, upon lodgement, you must hold a substantive visa. It allows you to stay in Australia after your current substantive visa ceases while awaiting the outcome of your application for another substantive visa. A significant restriction that is carried by the BVA is that this Bridging Visa does not allow you to return to Australia should you decide to leave Australia’s shores.
- Bridging Visa B (BVB): Similar to the BVA, BVB allows the holder to legally stay in Australia while awaiting the outcome of their substantive visa application. The only exceptional difference with the BVA (and other classes) is that BVB allows the holder to leave Australia’s shores (given that they return within the specified period assigned to the BVB). As a note, you are allowed to hold a substantive visa as well as BVB simultaneously.
- Bridging Visa C (BVC): Having traits of the other Bridging Visas above (i.e. acting as a ‘bridge’ between visas), the trait particular to BVC is that holder of BVC are NOT required to hold a substantive visa already. For some applicants (such as refugees), this is the ideal Bridging Visa to hold whilst awaiting the outcome of their substantive visa application. Furthermore for BVC, there is the restriction of not allowing the holder to return to Australia once they leave.
- Bridging Visa D (BVD): BVD is unique in that holders of this Bridging Visa lets you stay in Australia lawfully for a short time until the holder is able to make:
a. A substantive visa application; or
b. Make arrangements to leave Australia; or
c. Are granted a Bridging Visa E (see below).
d. As a restriction, the holders of BVD are not allowed to return to Australia should they decide to leave the shores.
- Bridging Visa E (BVE): BVE is very similar to BVD, but with a little more time to arrange your affairs. Like most of the Bridging Visas, the BVE will not allow you to return to Australia if a holder decides to leave Australia’s shores.
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, when an applicant’s dictates for a need for a Bridging Visa, they will be assigned one of the following from above. So if you are caught in the situation, the team at Valet Migration will be more than happy to walk you through any concerns or questions that you may have relating to Bridging Visas.
We are located on Level 9, 84 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW and we can be contacted on (02) 9191 5590.