Publish Date: May 01, 2015
In an ideal world, we'd apply for a visa once and have the ability to live and work in the country indefinitely. However, the nature of immigration laws means that this is far from the case - and you may find your visa expiring sooner than you'd like.
Bridging visas serve to allay the anxieties that may arise out of such a situation. In essence, they are temporary visas that allow you to remain in the country lawfully while you sort out the paperwork to renew your substantive visa.
What types of bridging visa are available?
Australian bridging visas come in five classes - A, B, C, D and E - and each has its own unique conditions and requirements.
Depending on the class of visa you apply for and your circumstances, you may or may not have the right to continue working in Australia while you hold a bridging visa. It may even be possible to apply for and hold two different classes at once - for example, many people can possess a bridging visa A and bridging visa B concurrently.
Ultimately, your individual and personal circumstances will determine which class of bridging visa is most appropriate for you. To navigate the complexities of the bridging visa system and select the most suitable solution for you, it's best to consult the advice of an expert immigration lawyer.
What else do I need to know about bridging visas?
It is essential to remember that bridging visas are a temporary solution, designed to let you stay in the country until you sort out a longer-term arrangement. Attempting to stay in Australia for longer than the term granted by your bridging visa comes with substantial risks, including having future visa applications declined.
Your international travel during the term of your bridging visa may also be limited, depending on which class you have applied for. For most classes, you will not be able to re-enter the country once you leave, so you'll have to remain in Australia until your immigration issue is resolved.
The only exception is the bridging visa B, which allows you to leave and return to Australia while your application is in progress. On the other hand, a bridging visa E expires the moment you leave Australia, so you'll have to apply for an new substantive visa in order to re-enter.