A Bridging Visa A (BVA) lets a visa applicant remain inside Australia, while their additional visa application is being processed. This might be another tourist visa application, or it might be something like a partner visa application which takes a whole lot longer to be processed. (See also this previous article on bridging visas www.downundervisa.com.au/2015/04/10/bridging-visas-can-you-get-one/)
A Bridging Visa A normally has the same conditions as the previous visa, and in some cases like when you’ve applied for an onshore Partner Visa (Subclass 820), they will give work and study rights on the Bridging Visa A. But one thing they will NOT do is to allow the bridging visa holder to travel!
Need to be very aware of this. Bridging Visa A’s do not allow travel!
What happens if you travel on a BVA?
You may leave Australia on a Bridging Visa A. The problem? You may not come back!
We had somebody the other day whom we stopped from traveling on a Bridging Visa A. We had explained previously, but she thought it didn’t matter and that she could get a tourist visa back to Australia after her visit. No, sadly not at all.
I had an awful situation a number of years ago. Applicant who was in a long-standing de facto relationship with an Australian man, and had applied inside Australia for a partner visa. They had settled in nicely together, however the problem was that she had not included her little boy. He was back in the Philippines.
Well, little boys being little boys, he decides to fall from a great height and end up in hospital. Mum rushes onto the next plane, as mums will also be mums. So she ends up outside of Australia on a Bridging Visa A. We apply for a tourist visa for her to return. What do they do? They refuse it! Why? Because she has no intention of returning. That’s how the Regulations work.
And before anyone panics about this, yes tourist visa holders may apply for further visa applications inside Australia. They may even apply for partner visa applications whilst inside Australia, as long as that isn’t the primary reason for going to Australia. This poor lady had no other reason to go to Australia other than to wait for them to process and grant her partner visa application, which they couldn’t do while she was outside Australia. Tried again. Failed again. The ended up refusing the partner visa because of this!
So do NOT travel on a Bridging Visa A!
Bridging Visa B (BVB) – The perfect solution
What do you do? You ask that most skilled of Registered Migration Agents Jeff Harvie to apply for a Bridging Visa B for you, based on your intended travels. And you do this within 3 – 4 weeks of your intended travels. This will allow you to enter and leave as many times as you want, all within a specified time period.
In fact, the Bridging Visa B takes the place of your Bridging Visa A, and will be with you until they make the final decision on your substantive visa application (eg partner visa application, or whatever you’ve applied for). And it will allow the BVB holder to leave Australia, and to freely return again during the travel period.
What is this “travel period” of which I speak?
Well, you need a reason for a Bridging Visa B. Whilst it’s not something you need to stress over, it’s still a visa application, and as such they can refuse it if they have a good reason to. You can’t apply for one and say “Well, I wanted to have one just in case I needed it”. That would meet with a refusal. You have a Bridging Visa A because you want to be in Australia, because you applied for the main visa ALSO because you wanted to be in Australia. It’s actually a privilege that they gave you the Bridging Visa A in the first place. It’s a bit like sticking your hand up in the classroom to ask the teacher permission to leave the room. So take the application seriously.
So, if you apply for a Bridging Visa B to attend your sister’s wedding in November, and you would like hubbie to join you to celebrate New Years with your parents, then this is what you put on the application. You say you wish to leave on 15 November, and return on 10 January. The visa grant will come back probably saying you have between 1 November and 1 March to travel.
So you may only travel in those timeslots. Don’t try to come back on 2 March, or you will be in for a rude shock.
What if you want to travel again in May because your son is graduating Elementary School? You apply later for another Bridging Visa B, and you will get something similar.
So, that’s how it works. Take it seriously. Never assume. Things can go horribly wrong if you mess this one up.
- No travel on Bridging Visa A’s.
- And by the way, if you have a Bridging Visa C then you can’t apply for a BVB at all. You need to stay put.