Australia is a must-visit destination for nature lovers because of its immense natural beauty. The indigenous flora and fauna of this country is so diverse and beautiful that it attracts admirers from all over the world. To arrive and stay in the country legally, you need to apply for a substantive visa. A substantive visa is basically any visa that is not a bridging or a criminal justice visa or an enforcement visa.
What is a bridging visa?
The substantive visa is only valid for a specified time-period. Most people apply for extensions on their substantive visa before it expires. To ensure that you are not illegally residing in Australia during the period when their substantive visa application is being processed, you have to apply for a Bridging Visa A (BVA). A BVA is a temporary visa that allows you to reside within Australia legally while your new substantive visa application is being processed. However, you must apply for the BVA while your current visa is still valid. One thing you must remember is that the BVA does not allow you to leave Australia and return again.
The Bridging Visa B (BVB) allows the holder to travel overseas temporarily and return within a specified time-period. To apply for a BVB, you need to hold a BVA. The BVB will enable you to travel overseas temporarily and return to Australia, where you can lawfully remain while your substantive visa application gets processed. The BVA is of subclass 010 while the BVB is of subclass 020.
Eligibility for a BVB
Any individual currently residing in Australia is eligible for receiving a Bridging Visa 020 if they satisfy the following conditions:
- They have applied for a substantial visa already which is getting processed currently.
- They are currently in Australia on a Bridging Visa A.
- They have reasons to travel overseas and return to Australia while their substantive visa is getting processed.
What are “substantial reasons”?
To be eligible for a Bridging Visa B, you need to present “substantial reasons” to the Australian immigration authority. Substantial reasons are not particularly defined in Australian immigration law. However, they can include situations such as:
- Attend a family function – such as a wedding, engagement, or funeral.
- Visiting an unwell relative.
- Engage in business activities.
- Take a holiday while your substantive visa application is being processed.
To ensure that your BVB application is not denied, you should provide immigration officials with proper evidence of your substantial need to travel. For example, wedding invitations or medical certificates of your sick relative can act as verifiable evidence and can assist in the smooth processing of your BVB.
When should you make the application for your Bridging Visa B?
You should apply for the BVB no earlier than three months and no later than 14 days before your planned travel dates. You should also note that a BVB can be granted for up to 12 months, but the requested travel duration should be consistent for your substantial reasons for wanting to leave Australia.
What exactly does the BVB allow you to do?
The Bridging Visa B Subclass 020 will let you leave and come back to Australia while the application for substantive visa is being processed. As mentioned before, it is very important that your requested travel duration should be consistent with your reasons for wanting to travel in the first place. Providing unclear/vague reasons to immigration officials can result in unnecessary hiccups during the processing of your BVB application.
Why is a BVB necessary?
A Bridging Visa 020 is necessary if you want to return to Australia from overseas in a lawful manner. You require a proper BVB if you want to remain in Australia legally while your substantive visa application is getting processed. Residing in Australia unlawfully can cause numerous problems later on. These problems have been explained below:
- Unlawful residency in Australia for some time can cause your permanent visa application to be denied.
- Unlawful residency in Australia can cause problems if you apply for citizenship later on, and can become a major hurdle in the path to your citizenship processing.
- Unlawful residency in Australia can also delay your application for a work permit.
- If you leave Australia without a BVB and apply for another visa while you’re outside, you might not be able to get another visa for up to 3 years.
What if the substantive visa is still valid?
With a substantive visa, you can leave Australia and return whenever you’d like. However, if you see that your substantive visa would expire before you could return to Australian soil, then it is imperative that you apply for Bridging Visa B. You should apply for the BVB, present immigration officials with verifiable evidence of why you want to travel and only decide travel dates after you receive your BVB.
When does the BVB expire?
Here are the situations in which a BVB expires:
- Your substantive visa application is processed and granted to you.
- You are granted another Bridging Visa.
- Australian immigration cancels your BVB or the substantive visa you held while your BVB was granted.
- You are outside Australia when your travel period ends.
- You leave Australia after your travel period ends.
How to apply for a BVB?
The process of applying for substantive visas, bridging visas, etc. is extremely complicated and involves navigating a lot of bureaucratic red tape. To ensure that you and your family don’t have to undergo any sort of harassment during your stay/travel, it is best that you elicit the services of a licensed Migration Agent in Perth. The best migration agents are intimately familiar with Australia’s immigration laws, visa application requirements and other nuances. That is why they can provide you with valuable advice and assistance with the application paperwork, red tape, etc.
To ensure that you and your family have a wonderful experience during your stay in Australia, it is recommended that you take professional help while navigating the complicated channels of Australian immigration law.