Applications for certain visas made while the visa applicant is in Australia give rise to the issuing of a Bridging Visa.
More specifically, those applying for a subclass 804 visa, a subclass 864 visa, or a subclass 884 visa – which can only be applied for when the visa applicant is in Australia – can reasonably expect to be granted a Bridging Visa A (“BVA”) when the visa application is receipted by the Parents Visa Centre.
A BVA permits the holder to remain in Australia lawfully for the duration of the processing of the visa application until it is finally determined, including any merits review should the application be unsuccessful at first instance.
It should also be noted that a BVA allows the holder to remain lawfully in Australia, but it does not allow the holder to re-enter Australia if s/he departs.
If the parent visa applicant who is the holder of a BVA wishes to leave Australia and return s/he should lodge an application for the granting of a Bridging Visa B with the Parent Visa Centre prior to departing Australia.
Applicants for a BVB must have substantial reasons for wanting to leave and return to Australia while the substantive visa application is being processed.
We have heard of BVBs being granted to individuals permitting a stay of a few years outside Australia. A validity period of such length may be particularly helpful for an individual applying for a subclass 804 visa where the processing time is likely to be 10+ years.
Those who are granted a BVA should also note that:
- The visa used to enter Australia prior to the application for the visa onshore – most commonly a visitor visa – should remain valid so long as the conditions of the visitor visa are satisfied. Most commonly this includes a permitted period of stay in Australia of up to 3 months. Once the permitted period of stay on the visitor visa is exceeded the BVA comes into effect, to allow the holder to remain lawfully in Australia.
- A BVA granted to an applicant for one of the parent visas noted above (subclasses 804, 864, and 884) does not have any conditions attaching to it. This means that once the BVA is in effect the holder is able to work in Australia.
- While BVBs are being granted quickly, the Department of Immigration recommends that those seeking a BVB apply no more than three months and not less than two weeks before the date on which the person wants to travel.
- It should also be noted that a Bridging Visa A or B can only be granted while an individual is physically in Australia.
The mechanics of applying for an onshore visa application are frequently more involved than a visa application that is lodged outside Australia, and in our experience the support of an experienced migration professional is valuable, and in some cases essential.