Bridging Visas for Partner Visa Applications

Bridging Visas for Partner Visas

A bridging visa will allow the applicant of a partner visa application to remain in Australia while their application is being processed.

If you are considering lodging an onshore partner visa (subclass 820), you may be aware that the processing time can be long. In the event that your current visa expires before your partner visa application is processed and decided upon, a bridging visa will carry you through until the application is finalised.

What is a bridging visa?

Bridging Visas are in place to allow visa applicants to remain lawfully in Australia between the expiry of one substantive visa, and a decision being reached on another pending application.

A bridging visa is a temporary visa that ‘bridges’ the gap between substantive visas. Your bridging visa will allow you to stay in Australia while you’re waiting for your partner visa application to be decided upon.

There are many different bridging visas, but the most common ones are bridging visa A, B, C and E.

You will automatically be granted a bridging visa when you lodge your 820 partner visa – you do not need to submit an additional application. If your current visa has not expired when you submit your application, you will remain on that visa and your bridging visa will be inactive. It will activate when your current visa expires.

Do all partner visa applications come with Bridging Visas?

When a person applies for a partner visa while they are onshore in Australia, they are usually granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA). 

Thus, this usually applies for the lodgement of an Onshore Partner Visa, subclass 820. 

In fact this bridging visa is one of the key advantages of lodging a partner visa whilst the applicant is onshore in Australia. The BVA allows them to live in Australia for the duration of the processing time of the 820. 

An Offshore Partner Visa, subclass 309, needs to be applied for when the applicant is overseas. Thus they will not receive a bridging visa: bridging visas are only issued when the applicant is Onshore.

In summary, out of all partner visa categories, it is the 820 Visa that brings with it a Bridging Visa.

What conditions does a partner visa bridging visa contain?

The partner visa’s bridging visa enables you to stay in Australia while awaiting a decision on your application. As a holder of this visa, you’re also entitled to pursue studies and enrol in Medicare. 

For onshore partner visa applicants, the Bridging Visa A (BVA) typically carries no specific visa conditions, and work rights are automatically provided to BVA holders.


  • Applicant can enrol in Medicare
  • Applicant can work
  • Applicant can study

Do I need to manually apply for a Bridging Visa when lodging a Partner Visa?

In most cases, you don’t need to manually apply for a Bridging Visa when lodging a Partner Visa in Australia. When you apply for a Partner Visa while you are in Australia, you are usually granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA) automatically.

However, if you wish to travel outside of Australia while your Partner Visa application is being processed, you may need to apply for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) to facilitate your travel and re-entry into Australia without affecting your Partner Visa application.

What bridging visa will my dependents (family members) hold?

If your family are dependents in your application, they will be placed on the same bridging visa as you.

How long will I stay on a Bridging Visa?

Bridging Visas generally remain in effect until either:

  • you are granted your temporary partner visa; 
  • 35 days after notification that your application for a partner visa application is refused;
  • You leave Australia while the BVA/BVC is valid;
  • The Department of Home Affairs decides to cancel the Bridging Visa

If you exercise the review rights on your visa, then your bridging visa will remain valid until 28 days after you are notified of the review decision.

What if I need to travel outside Australia while on a bridging visa?

If you need to travel while on a bridging visa A, you will be required to apply for a bridging visa B. You cannot travel outside of Australia and return on a Bridging Visa C or E unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Unlike other bridging visas, bridging visa B is not automatically granted. Rather, you can apply for this kind of bridging visa if you need to travel outside of Australia. This visa will allow you to leave and return to Australia during a specified period of time.

To apply for this visa you’ll need substantial reasons for wanting to leave and return to Australia while your application is being processed – and you may need to prove to the Department what you are doing when you are away.

What are the most common types of bridging visas, and what rights do they give me?

Bridging Visa A

This bridging visa will be granted if you apply for your partner visa while you hold another substantive visa, such as a student visa or a tss visa. Usually, you will also be granted the right to work in Australia. You cannot travel outside of the country and return on this visa. The Bridging Visa A (BVA) allows you to remain lawfully in Australia, but does not allow you to leave and return. If that is your intention you will require a BVB.

Bridging Visa B

The bridging Visa B (BVB) allows you to leave and return to Australia while your visa is being processed.

Bridging Visa C

This visa will usually be issued to you if you lodge an application for a partner visa while you’re already on a bridging visa. It does not allow you to travel outside of the country and return, and is usually granted without work rights.

Bridging Visa E

This visa will usually be issued to you if you apply for your partner visa when you have no valid visa. It does not usually allow you to work, and you cannot re-enter Australia if you leave.

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