A bridging visa is a temporary visa that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) might grant in certain circumstances to allow a non-Australian citizen to remain in Australia for a certain period of time. Understanding when and how to apply for bridging visas is essential, and seeking professional assistance can make the process smoother and more manageable. With the right guidance and adherence to visa regulations, navigating the complex Australian immigration landscape becomes a more achievable endeavour.

Why Apply for a Bridging Visa?

There are a number of different scenarios where you may need to apply for a bridging visa. For instance, you may need a bridging visa if your current substantive visa is about to expire, but you need to remain in the country for various reasons.

A bridging visa may also be granted if your circumstances change, and you need a temporary visa to maintain your lawful status while you address the changes. For instance, if you are on a student visa but wish to remain in Australia on a partner visa, you may require a bridging visa for the period of time between leaving your course and waiting to hear about the outcome of your application for a partner visa.

How to Apply for a Bridging Visa

Obtaining a bridging visa in Australia involves a specific application process. First, you must determine your eligibility for a bridging visa, and identify which bridging visa is right for your circumstances. This is typically done by consulting with the Department of Home Affairs or an immigration expert.

In most cases, you will also need to lodge a substantive visa application, which is the visa you want to hold after the bridging visa is granted. It is important that you complete your substantive application and attach all necessary documents, which may require you to obtain expert assistance. Once your substantive visa application is lodged, the department will assess it. If your current visa is due to expire, a bridging visa may be automatically granted to you, ensuring the continuity of your lawful status while the substantive visa application is processed.

Types of Bridging Visas

There are several types of bridging visas for different circumstances. The three most common bridging visas are A, B and C.

If your current visa is expiring and you are applying in Australia for a new substantive visa, you may be eligible for a Bridging Visa A (BVA). This will allow you to stay in Australia lawfully after your visa ceases and while your substantive visa application is being processed or finally determined. In addition, if your visa application is refused, you may have a right of appeal or review of the decision. If so, a BVA can allow you to remain in Australia until the appeal process is finalised.

In some circumstances, a BVA would have the same conditions attached to it as the visa held at the time of application. Therefore, a BVA may or may not have work rights.

You may apply for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) if you have applied for a substantial visa in Australia and are holding the associated BVA but have a good reason to need to leave and return to Australia while waiting for your substantive visa application to be processed. If you depart Australia with another type of bridging visa in effect, then that visa will cease, and you may not be able to re-enter Australia if and until the Department grants you a substantive visa.

A BVB has a defined travel period. You can leave Australia and re-enter on a BVB within this defined travel period. If you are in Australia when the travel period ends and you need to travel outside Australia again, you can apply for another BVB.

You may be eligible for a Bridging Visa C (BVC) if you are in Australia and do not currently hold a substantive visa. This could occur if you lodged an application while holding a bridging visa, or you were unlawfully in Australia after your substantive visa expired. The BVC would allow you to remain in Australia lawfully while applying for a substantive visa to be assessed.

If you hold a BVC, you cannot travel outside of Australia and generally, this visa comes without work rights.

There are four additional bridging visas that are used in specific circumstances:

A Bridging Visa E (BVE) lets people stay lawfully in Australia while they make arrangements to leave the country, finalise their immigration matter or wait for an immigration decision. A BVE comes with very strict conditions, including reporting conditions. This visa also usually comes with no authorisation to work or study.

A Bridging Visa D (BVD) is granted when someone tried but was unable to apply for a substantive visa. For example, they did not pay the correct fee or filled out the wrong visa application form or an authorised officer is not available to interview them, but they will be able to do so within the next five working days.

A Bridging Visa R (BVR) is for people who are in immigration detention but their removal from Australia is not reasonably practicable. This allows them to be released from detention pending their removal.

A Bridging Visa F (BVF) is used exclusively for suspected victims of trafficking or slavery who do not hold a substantive visa.


Australian immigration laws provide for certain bridging visas to allow temporary stay extensions or appeals. The circumstances that may lead to the need to obtain a bridging visa can be complex and it is important to ensure the right type of bridging visa is sought. Seeking professional guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer can help visa applicants successfully navigate the regulations and process.

This information is general in nature only and you should obtain professional advice relevant to your circumstances. If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on 07 3733 1390 or email [email protected].