This is a common term that most people seem to have heard about, but few know exactly what they are. So confusion reigns supreme amongst Australian Filipina couples looking to bring the lady from Philippines to Australia. I get questions like:
- Can I apply for a bridging visa for my offshore partner visa?
- Can I apply for a bridging visa for my prospective marriage visa?
- When will you be able to apply for a bridging visa for me?
- Can we “bridge the visa”?
So what is a bridging visa actually?
A bridging visa is a way of keeping a person LAWFUL in Australia. Australian migration-speak doesn’t use the term “illegal”, or “illegal alien”. Some genius in Canberra came up with the term “unlawful non-citizen” for some reason, therefore that is what we must say.
Any non-citizen inside Australia needs to have a visa, otherwise they are unlawful and can be tossed into immigration detention, which is obviously not good. Most of the nasty stories are true, so you need to do whatever you can to avoid this. This is why you need to watch the date the visa expires and never let it go past. This is NOT the responsibility of Down Under Visa to monitor for you either.
A bridging visa is there to keep a person lawful in Australia, so they can’t be tossed into Villawood. Nothing more mysterious about it than that. It’s that in-between visa that….well…..makes a bridge between one visa and another. If they haven’t made a decision on Visa #2 and Visa #1 runs out? A bridging visa fills up the gap.
And what that means is you can NOT get a bridging visa for an offshore visa! Full stop (and exclamation mark)!
Bridging Visa A
This is the most common one, and it is granted automatically when the existing visa runs out. We do not need to lodge a separate application for a Bridging Visa A.
- Apply for another visa, be that a partner visa or another tourist visa before the existing visa runs out.
- When the existing visa runs out, if the new application is not finalized yet they will immediately grant a Bridging Visa A
- The applicant remains on the Bridging Visa A until the new visa application is finalized!
- Applying for an onshore partner visa inside Australia when the applicant is in Australia.
- Applying for a further tourist visa inside Australia before the existing one runs out.
- Applying for the onshore temporary partner visa after marrying on a prospective marriage visa
If the new visa isn’t granted before the existing one runs out? The applicant goes automatically onto a Bridging Visa A.
What if the visa runs out first? Do I still get a Bridging Visa?
Complicated. Talk to us first. But first and foremost, try not to let it happen as it can cause dreadful problems. And if you get caught out, you may be locked up and then deported. Normally you would receive a Bridging Visa C if a valid new visa application is lodged while the applicant is unlawfully in Australia (ie. without a visa).
Need to travel? Bridging Visa B
Bridging Visa A’s (for partner visa applicants) come with work rights, but they have no travel rights. If you exit the country on a Bridging Visa A, you don’t get back in. Be aware of this, or you can get stuck overseas. Read the visa grant notice! It’s all there.
What if you want to travel or need to travel?
You may apply for a Bridging Visa B based on your need to travel. We don’t apply for you, because we’re here in Manila. Needs to be done inside Australia, and can’t be done electronically. But it’s really simple. You just need to apply before you travel, normally about 2 – 3 weeks beforehand. So you need to have firm travel plans. Not difficult. Just be aware that you need to do it.