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What Is A Bridging Visa? How Bridging Visas Work?

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Bridging visas (in Australia) may sound simple and easy to understand until you have to actually deal with them. Despite their confidence in relation to Bridging visas, many clients’ perception about these temporary visas is imperfect, to say the least. They can be very tricky to manage and illusory to work around.

If you too are wondering as to:

  • What is a ‘Bridging Visa’?

  • Fee For A Bridging Visa!

  • How Many Types of Bridging Visas are out there?

  • What purpose a Bridging Visa serve?

  • Which Bridging Visa Will I Get?

  • Can I work on a Bridging Visa?

then you must read on.

A Bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in Australia when you do not hold a ‘substantive’ visa. In simple terms, a ‘Bridging’ visa often works as a ‘bridge’ between 2 ‘substantive’ visas. It is granted only to those applicants who apply onshore.

For example, if you hold a Student visa that is valid until 31st December 2020. But you wish to gain some practical experience in Australia before returning to your home country. One day before your Student visa expires, you apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485). The Department of Home Affairs needs, let’s say, two months to decide on your subclass 485 visa. Hence, to cover the gap between 31st December 2020 to 28th February 2021, you will be granted a ‘Bridging visa.’ If you do not hold any visa between this period, you will become an ‘unlawful non-citizen’ in Australia.

Fee For A Bridging Visa!

There is no fee for applying for any Bridging Visa, except Bridging visa B (AUD 165).

How Many Types of Bridging Visas Are Out There?

There are various types of Bridging visas in Australia. Each Bridging visa serves a distinctive purpose and may be subject to different visa conditions. For instance:

Bridging Visa A (subclass 010)

This Bridging visa allows you to temporarily stay in Australia lawfully until your Substantive visa application is decided (granted or refused). You will get this Bridging visa when you already hold a Substantive visa and apply for another Substantive visa while onshore (in Australia).

Bridging Visa A usually is subject to the same conditions relating to work rights which were imposed upon your previous Substantive visa. For example, if your previous Substantive visa restricted/limited your right to work in Australia, your Bridging visa A may be subjected to the same conditions.

Bridging Visa B (subclass 020)

This visa is much like Bridging Visa A. However, it allows you to leave and re-enter Australia. That is why it is also considered the most beneficial Bridging visa.

In order to be eligible for a Bridging visa B, you must be a holder of a Bridging visa A or Bridging visa B.

It is granted to you only if you have substantial reasons’ to leave Australia for a defined/specific period. You cannot leave and re-enter Australia on a Bridging visa, unless your Bridging visa is a Bridging visa B that has a valid ‘travel facility’.

Your Bridging visa B is likely to have the same ‘work’ related conditions as your previous substantive visa.

You must be in Australia to make an application for a Bridging visa.

Bridging Visa C (subclass 030)

A Bridging Visa C is usually granted when at the time of lodging an application for a Substantive visa an Applicant does not hold a Substantive visa. For example, if your current substantive visa has expired and you are on a Bridging visa A because you have lodged another Substantive visa application. However, while your Substantive visa application is being processed, you decide to lodge a different Substantive visa application (maybe because you changed your mind or plans and wish to withdraw your first/earlier lodged Substantive visa application). Now, since you were on a Bridging visa A when you applied for this second Substantive visa application, you will receive a Bridging visa C.

Bridging Visa C is issued with restrictions/limitations on your work rights. However, after you have received your first Bridging visa C which has work-related restrictions, you may apply for another Bridging visa C with a request to remove work-related restrictions. If the Department of Home Affairs / Case Officer is satisfied that you have a ‘compelling need to work’ (that generally means your reasonable expenses are higher than your income) then he/she may grant you a new Bridging visa C with work rights.

You will not be granted a Bridging visa C if you hold or held a Bridging visa E since last holding a Substantive visa.

Bridging Visa E

Bridging Visa E provides temporary lawful status to persons who are detected as unlawful non-citizens. It contains two subclasses:

A. Subclass 050 – (General). This subclass is generally for those unlawful non-citizens who are detected or detained by Compliance monitoring section. It is also for those individuals who are unlawful non-citizens in criminal detention.

Further, if you have made a Substantive visa application while you hold or last held a Bridging visa E you will be issued another Bridging visa E. In some case, an applicant who holds Bridging visa D (Subclass 041) may also be granted a Bridging visa E.

B. Subclass 051 (Protection Visa Applicants). This subclass is for persons who have been refused immigration clearance, or have bypassed immigration clearance, and have applied for a protection visa.

If you are currently on a Bridging visa E and apply for a Protection or another substantive visa, then another Bridging visa E will be granted without work rights. You may apply for another Bridging visa to have work rights on a new Bridging visa E. However, you will be granted work rights only if you could convince a visa officer that

  • You have c ‘compelling need to work’ (that generally means your reasonable expenses are higher than your income); and

  • if your Bridging visa E is linked with a Protection visa, then you have a satisfactory reason for delaying the lodgement of your Protection visa.

  • In certain situations, a Bridging visa may be granted without an application.

There are few other types of Bridging visas that are not very common. To learn more about Bridging and other visas please browse our ‘Visa Services’ and ‘FAQs’.

Should you wish to discuss your circumstances and options with us, please feel free to Contact Us. We are here to help you!.

Warning! Please note that Australian immigration laws and policies are highly complex and dynamic. Therefore, no information provided on this website is comprehensive and intended to be legal advice. Failure to receive professional advice - tailored to your specific circumstances - may prove costly to you in many respects. Please read our Terms and Conditions on our website.


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