This is the fifteenth in a series of blogs that will focus on Migration Law.
If you have a migration issue and you are not sure if it you should file or what documents to file, do not delay; please seek legal advice straight away. Do not wait until it is too late.
Nothing here should be taken as legal advice or a substitute for speaking to a lawyer from our office if you have any questions on 08 63238613. Unsure of what stage your matter is at, or what to do next? A solicitor from Kean Legal Barristers & Solicitors is ready to help.
By Mr Anthony J Aristei
If a person does not have Australian citizenship, they must hold a current Visa in order to stay in Australia legally. If not, they will be classed as an unlawful non-citizen. This raises significant questions for people who are uncertain about your visa status because if you do not have a visa you will likely be detained and then deported from Australia.
Background of Bridging Visas
A person will still be regarded as an unlawful non-citizen if they held a valid visa that has since expired or has been cancelled. If so, they can be detained and deported.
To overcome some of the practical difficulties, the Migration Department can grant ‘bridging’ visas on a temporary basis. By doing so, the visa applicant will be allowed to remain lawfully in Australia while their main visa problem is being determined.
Bridging Visas vs Substantive Visas
As the title of a ‘bridging’ visa suggests, the period of the visa is only for a limited ‘bridging’ time necessary to sort out the main visa problem.
The main visas are often referred to as ‘substantive’ visas. For example: student, spouse, business, and residency visas.
The primary purposes for the grant of a bridging visa to an applicant are that they:
- Are awaiting the outcome of a ‘migration decision’ (i.e. concerning their main visa);
- Need time to make final arrangements to leave Australia; or
- Are finalising particular matters which warrant the grant of this type of visa.
Types of Bridging Visas
There are different types of bridging visas that can be granted. Each has a different purpose and effect. Each type also has a different expiry date.
Where the bridging visa has been granted, pending a migration decision, it will ordinarily expire within 28 days after that decision has been made.
The major types of bridging visas are commonly referred to as ‘A class’ through to ‘E class’.
- A Class
An ‘A class bridging visa’ is generally granted once you have lodged a valid application for a main visa, but it has not yet been approved.
However, this type of visa might also be granted if you are awaiting the outcome of a review or appeal against the Department’s refusal of your main visa application.
- B Class
The ‘B class bridging visa’ is generally granted if you want to leave or return to Australia while your main visa application is being processed.
The period of these visas is often for a period of up to 3 months. Yet, longer time periods have been allowed upon application to the Department (and sometimes depending on the purpose of the trip).
- E Class
The ‘E class bridging visa’ is also quite commonly applied for. It is available to cater for a variety of difficult or unusual circumstances.
For instance, it may be applied for where the applicant:
- has overstayed on their main visa, but needs time to make arrangements to depart from Australia; or
- had not lodged a valid application for a main visa, but seeks time to do so.
Some of these types of visas are relatively straight-forward. Others can become complicated for a variety of different reasons.
If you believe it is ‘better to be safe, than sorry’, then professional assistance from a migration lawyer is recommended.
Feel free to contact our office line if you need any legal advice or help in preparing an application for a bridging Visa. Call our office on: +61 8 6323 8613