A Bridging visa B (BVB) is a temporary visa. It allows you to leave and return to Australia while your application for a substantive visa is being processed.
Provided you return to Australia within the specified travel period, a BVB will then allow you to stay in Australia while your substantive visa application is being processed.
You can hold a substantive visa and a BVB at the same time.
If you still hold a substantive visa that allows you to travel and you believe you can return to Australia before your substantive visa ceases, it is your decision whether or not you want to apply for and be granted a BVB before you travel.
If you decide not to get a BVB but use your substantive visa to travel, you will need to apply for a new bridging visa of the same type as your previous one as soon as you return to Australia and before your substantive visa ceases.
How does this visa work?
A BVB allows you to leave and return to Australia during a specified period of time while your substantive visa application is being processed. The department will take into consideration your reasons for travel and when your substantive visa application is likely to be finalized.
Once you have been granted a BVB, the specified travel period cannot be changed or extended.
If you still hold a substantive visa when your Bridging visa is granted, you must abide by any conditions that are on that substantive visa. When your substantive visa ceases, the conditions of your BVB will apply.
Working in Australia while you hold a BVB
When your BVB is granted, the department will tell you whether your BVB prevents or restricts you from working in Australia. If it does, you cannot get a replacement BVB that will allow you to work without any restrictions.
Contact your case officer to discuss what options are available to you if you have a compelling need to work, such as being in financial hardship.
Travelling outside Australia while you hold a BVB
When a BVB is granted, the department will advise you whether it is a ‘single entry’ or a ‘multiple entry’ BVB and when the specified travel period will end:
- a ‘single entry’ BVB will allow you to leave and return to Australia only one time within the travel period
- a ‘multiple entry’ BVB will allow you to leave and return to Australia multiple times within the travel period.
If you hold a BVB where the specified travel period has ended but you need to travel outside Australia again, you will have to apply for another BVB.
When the specified travel period of your BVB ends, if you are still outside Australia the BVB will cease and you will not be able to use it to return to Australia. If you do not also hold a substantive visa that allows you to return, you would have to apply for another visa before you could return to Australia. There is no guarantee that you would be granted a visa.
Visa application process
Active Migration Australia will assess each application individually and provide extensive checklists consisting of instructions to help you successfully complete the forms required.
Lodge the application form with all necessary documents at any Australian Processing Centre. You can choose the processing centre that is most convenient to you.
You and anyone included in your application must be in Australia when the application is lodged and the visa is granted.
When to apply
You should apply for your BVB no more than three months, and not less than two weeks, before the date on which you want to travel.
Some visas can only be granted while you are in Australia. If you apply for a BVB too far in advance of your travel, it may be difficult for the department to assess whether your substantive visa will be ready for decision.
If you leave it until the last minute to apply for a BVB, you risk not being granted a BVB before you are due to leave Australia. If this happens, you might not hold a visa that allows you to return to Australia. You would then have to apply for and be granted a substantive visa before you could return to Australia. There is no guarantee that you would be granted a visa.
After you have applied for the Visa
Provide more information
You can provide more information to the department, in writing, at any time until a decision is made on the application.
If you want to correct information you provided in your visa application, use:
- Form 1023 Notification of incorrect answer(s)
The department could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After this date, the department will make a decision about your application using all the relevant information it has.
If another person gives the department information that could result in you being refused a visa, the department will generally give you the opportunity to comment on the information.
You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.
Report changes in your circumstances
You must tell the department if your circumstances change. Use the following forms:
- Form 929 Change of address and/or passport details – if you move to a new address or change your passport
- Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances – if there are other changes in your circumstances.
Withdrawing your application
You may withdraw your application by advising the department in writing at any time before a decision is made on your application. To do this, you must send the department a letter of withdrawal including your full name, date of birth, date of application and file reference number/transaction record number (if known).
Everyone in the application who is 18 years of age or older must sign the letter of withdrawal.
You can apply for a BVB if you meet all of the following:
- you are in Australia
- you already hold a Bridging visa A (BVA) or a BVB
- you have applied in Australia for a substantive visa that can be granted to you while you are in Australia
- you have substantial reasons for wanting to leave and return to Australia while your substantive visa application is being processed.
Including family in your application
If you and your family have applied together for substantive visas, you can apply together for BVBs. This means you and your family have to complete only one application form and pay one visa application charge. However, each member of the family will have to meet the requirements for a BVB in their own right.
Only those family members who have substantial reasons for needing to travel outside Australia should be included in your BVB application. If some of your family members do not need to travel outside Australia, they can stay in Australia on their current Bridging visas.
You may include the following people in your visa application:
- your partner (married or de facto)
- you or your partner’s dependent children
- other dependent relatives who live with you