How Bridging Visas Work

So this week I want to talk about Bridging Visas, What are they? How do you apply for one? Where are they used? These are really common questions we get asked about and it can be a bit confusing as there are a few different types depending on the situation. We are looking at bridging visas in the context of partner visas.

I’ll start first by explaining who might actually apply for or be granted a bridging visa.

Who can apply for a Bridging Visa?

The first criteria you need to meet for a bridging visa is that you need to be inside Australia to start with. If you are outside Australia then and have no option to travel to Australia temporarily then no need to read any more of this blog post as a bridging visa will not be applicable for your situation.

What is a Bridging Visa?

So a Bridging Visa is exactly as the name suggests it’s a bridge from one Immigration status to another Immigration status allowing you to remain legally in the country until the new immigration status is decided or clarified. So essentially it’s a visa that may keep you legal while you wait on the outcome of another visa.

How do I apply for a Bridging Visa?

In some cases you don’t actually have to apply for the bridging visa via an additional process, it may be automatically applied for when you apply for your visa. Take the case of an onshore Partner Visa (Subclass 820) application, you don’t actually apply for the Bridging Visa A directly as it is automatically applied for when you lodge the partner visa application. It is not active however until the visa you held at the time of applying for the partner visa is expired.

For other situations and Bridging Visas, you may need to apply. For example in the case where you hold a Bridging Visa A and you want to travel outside the country you would need to apply for a Bridging Visa B.

This area of Immigration law is notoriously complicated so definitely seek advice before pursuing or relying on a Bridging Visa as part of your Immigration plan.

Why would I get a Bridging Visa?

Some of the reasons why you might get a Bridging Visa are; to keep your immigration status lawful while you wait for the decision of another visa or to rectify your Immigration status temporarily for example if you are unlawful and you are making arrangements to depart from Australia.

How a bridging visa is normally used in a Partner Visa Application.

The classic example of where a Bridging Visa might come into play where a Partner Visa Application is concerned would be say, for example, you or your partner have been using Visitor Visas (Subclass 600) to come to Australia to spend time together. During one of these visits, you decide you want to be together permanently in Australia and think that a Partner Visa might be an option for you. Now, as long as there is no 8503 (No further stay) condition on the Visitor Visa and you are inside Australia the Onshore Partner Visa (Subclass 820) is available to you. You decide to lodge the subclass 820 visa before the Visitor Visa runs out so you are in the country at the time of lodging the Partner Visa Application.
Currently, the time taken by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to decide the Partner Visa can be 12-18 months. This is where the Bridging Visa comes in. At the time of applying for the Onshore Partner Visa (subclass 820), an automatic application for a bridging visa A is made. Upon expiry of the Visitor Visa, the Bridging Visa A ‘wakes up’ and comes into effect transferring you to a Bridging Visa A to keep your Immigration status legal until a decision is made on the Partner Visa. One advantage of this is that the applicant will be granted work rights as soon as the Bridging Visa comes into effect.

So does this sound like you?

If this pathway sounds like it might be the route you and your partner might like to take, keep in mind ‘wanting’ to pursue this pathway doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your situation. You need to check that you can meet all the requirements for this option. The discussion here is a very general overview to help you understand some of the circumstances in which a Bridging Visa may be needed. It is of course by no means advice. In this case, we have used the example of how a Bridging Visa might be used in an Onshore Partner Visa (Subclass 820) application, there are so many other examples for bridging visas but they will have to wait for another blog post, I got to get back to lodging visas.

If you have more Partner Visa related questions then check out our FAQ page or if you feel it’s time to get answers to your specific questions call and get yourself booked in for a Visa Planning/Advice Session on Ph: 07 3063 1200.

IMPORTANT: Please note, this does not constitute Immigration advice. Always seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent before applying for an Australian Visa. Migration Law is constantly changing. This information is accurate only at the time of publication.

  • Editha says:

    hello,Is there a way to stay legally with my fiance in AUS while my PMV is still on process?

  • Helen says:

    hi, I and my boyfriend ( he is aussie) decided to get married in 2 months
    (we are living together nearly a year) but my current visa which is student visa will be expired in 3weeks.
    I am also eligible for post study visa 485.
    in my case, do you think I should apply for 485 first then lodge the partner visa after?
    because I am worried that 3weeks is so rushing for us to prepare all the documents? can we get married and submit the marriage certificate after lodging that visa?

    • Emma Drynan says:

      Hi Helen,
      good position to be in, you have options… A visa strategy session would be great for you as we can have look to see what option would be best for you. Give us a call on 07 3063 1200

  • Syed Ayubkhan says:

    Hi Iam syed iam already in Australia for 17 months,is in Bridging visa A (protection), my family is in India is it possible to bring my family to Australia or can I change my visa to bring my family to Australia plz reply me. My mail id

    • Emma Drynan says:

      Hi Syed, our company specialises in Partner Visa Applications. We don’t normally handle other visa applications, however, please call our office so we can send referrals your way to help you with your case. Here’s our number: 07 3063 1200

  • Cathy says:

    Hi, good day! When exactly does the visitor visa subclass 600 run out? I have a valid visitor visa for 1 year, allowing multiple entries with 3 months per visit. Does it run out after 3 months when I enter? Or does it run out after the 1 year? I’ve booked for the online demo and looking forward to it and signing up for the PVA. Thanks!!

    • Emma Drynan says:

      Hey Cathy, it’s great to hear that you’ve signed up for our online demo. Hope you have a great time!
      As for your question, our Partner Visa Academy Manager will be in touch to answer them. Have a good day Cathy!

  • Sabine says:

    I’m planning on applying for the defacto Visa 820 whilst in Australia on a 601 ETA. I’m wondering if, once the application is lodged, if i’ll be able to travel internationally for work whilst the application is pending. Would this change if a bridge visa A was put into place?
    Thank you for all the wonderful articles and resources.

  • Timo Kemilä says:

    I have applied a bridging visa E, because my visitor visa expired and expired 30 days earlier. I have not got that visa yet. Can I apply a partner visa before getting this bridging visa E ( my wife and kids have Australian passports and we been married 45 years and visiting Australia more than 40 years but are not moving here)?

  • About the Author Sophia Emberson-Bain

    I was born in the Caribbean and schooled in England before moving to Australia. I studied law and now work at the best migration agency...and no I am not a pirate. Arrhhh. I enjoy helping people, which is why I studied law. Unfortunately, all this time studying has meant my hunting skills are not so strong, and so for that reason, I am a vegetarian.