In March 2021, the number of Bridging visa holders in Australia mounted to a historic high of over 350,000. But what are bridging visas, and what rights and conditions do they come with?
Alan Rigas from Alan Rigas Solicitors in Sydney says everyone in the Australian migration zone must be lawful, and bridging visas perform that function when someone is waiting for their new visa and their old one has expired.
Generally, a Bridging visa will have the same conditions as the visa held at the time of application, explains Mr Rigas.
- The benefit of a Bridging Visa A is that it will allow you to apply for a Bridging Visa B, which will allow you to travel. So if you lawfully make an application whilst you hold a valid visa, you'll be should be on a Bridging Visa A.
- A Bridging Visa B allows people to leave and return to Australia during a specified travel period while their application for a substantive visa is being processed
- There are many types of visa with different conditions aside from Bridging Visa A and B, such as Bridging Visa C, D,E, F, and R. It's possible to apply for a bridging visa directly to the Department of Home Affairs, but in complex circumstances, it's advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible, especially if the visa has expired.
"There are two types of visas. There are substantive visas, which people obtain before they enter, such as a Visitor Visa, Holiday Working Visa and even Permanent Residency, if you're not a citizen. The other ones are bridging visas. And as the word suggests, they are a bridge between one substantive visa and the other. Obtaining a bridging visa isn't an outcome; it's part of the outcome process, and that outcome process may be a new visa application to become lawful or making arrangements to depart Australia."