What you may not know about bridging visas in Australia

When you're in between substantive visas, a bridging visa allows you to stay legally in Australia.

sydney harbour

"I applied for a skilled visa, targeting Sydney; but I didn't get an invite. We needed another plan. I almost lost hope." Source: Pixabay

Melbourne-based immigration agent Paul Dizon has had his fair share of clients asking him for help with bridging visas.

"I've had clients who just wanted to apply for a bridging visa. What they don't seem to understand is that in order to be issued a bridging visa, you have to have an immigration matter or another visa that's pending onshore. A bridging visa is only a means to regulate immigration status in Australia," he says.

According to Mr Dizon, here are some of the important things people need to take note of when it comes to bridging visas:

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1. A bridging visa is not a substantive visaImage

Bridging visas are temporary visas and are not classified as substantive visas. This means that they simply allow a person to remain in Australia until their next visa application is processed or an ongoing immigration matter is finalised.

In general, these visas are automatically issued and are not applied for.

But while bridging visas are not substantive, they are lawful visas. This means that the time you hold a bridging visa will be considered as part of the required four-year period for citizenship.

2. There are different types of bridging visasImage

Depending on your status and situation in Australia, there are five types of bridging visas you may be given:

  • Bridging Visa A (BVA) is automatically issued when a person applies for another visa before their current visa expires. In general, the conditions of their previous visa is carried onto the Bridging Visa until their new visa is approved.
  • Bridging Visa B (BVB) allows a BVA holder to temporarily exit Australia. BVB is only applicable to BVA holders.
  • Bridging Visa C (BVC) generally means you have lodged multiple visa applications onshore. You may not be able to work and you cannot depart Australia.
Should you need a bridging visa to stay in Australia, BVA and BVC are the most ideal.

  • Bridging Visa E (BVE) is issued to overstayers or unlawful people, cancelled visas or immigration detention. You must not work and you cannot depart Australia. You are also likely to be banned from returning to Australia.  

3. The are travel restrictions attached to BVAImage

BVA holders are not allowed to travel outside of Australia unless they apply for a BVB.

"You can do it online. There's a fee of $140," Mr Dizon shares, adding "They issue you a BVB for about three months - that’s the general amount of time they give you for a BVB depending on how long you want to leave. Your BVA will be reinstated once you return."

4. A BVE will have a travel ban attached to it once you leave AustraliaImage

According to Mr Dizon, a BVE should be avoided.

"The thing to understand about BVE is that you may be banned from coming back to Australia for 3-10 years," he shares.

5. Understand the restrictive conditions of your bridging visaImage

Mr Dizon shares that those on a bridging visa need to understand the type they are on as well as the restrictive conditions attached to them, particularly when it comes to work.

It should be noted that not everyone on a BVA will be allowed to work. Those who are not permitted to work should be able to prove financial hardship in order to be granted permission to do so.

"Make sure you adhere to the conditions of your bridging visa," he emphasises.

For more information on visas, visit the

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3 min read
Published 1 August 2019 at 4:05am
By Nikki Alfonso-Gregorio