Who can qualify for this visa?
In general, the Bridging Visa B is granted to applicants who already hold a Bridging Visa A or B and want to leave and return to Australia while their substantive visa application (or application for Judicial review) is being processed.
In order to be eligible, an application must establish a genuine need to travel and ‘substantial reasons’ that their desire to depart Australia – as well as to re-enter Australia – is not contrary to the public interest.
‘Genuine’ and ‘Substantial’:
In considering whether a person’s need to travel is ‘genuine’, a decision maker must weigh up what those reason are and whether they are ‘important’ and of ‘real worth and value’.
In practice, this would include factors such as: the nature of the travel proposed, whether there are compelling personal or business reasons for the person to travel and whether the person, or their family, would suffer unduly from being denied the right to travel (for example, if they needed medical treatment offshore or if they would suffer significant financial loss).
In determining whether an applicant has a ‘genuine’ need to travel, the Department can request evidence to support the claim. In general, this would mean documentary proof of the stated reason (e.g. a letter from an employer or educational institution / medical certificates / statutory declarations).
Departmental officers should only seek information that it is feasible to provide – and weight up the length of proposed travel with the effort that would be expended seeking the evidence requested.
The term ‘substantial’ is not defined for these purposes and accordingly, the decision maker holds significant discretion to refuse to grant the visa on this basis. There are, however, some basic expectations around how the decision maker would apply their discretion.
A substantial reason for wishing to travel would generally be associated with the person’s:
Employment, education or business:
This might include attending conferences, business meetings or to present academic papers or research.
Family, other relatives or people close to that person:
This might include visiting a seriously ill family member or friend, attending a wedding, funeral or important cultural event or celebration.
Substantive visa application:
This might include undergoing relevant medical treatment for an existing condition, obtaining important documents or resolving custody issues.
It is also possible that the person would be allowed to travel outside Australia for personal reasons (including on holiday) if their application has taken a long time to process.
This list is a guide, but in reality the decision maker can take into account any factors they consider relevant and are required to apply their own judgment to each individual person’s application.
Travel on a Bridging Visa B:
The BVB can be either a single-entry or multiple-entry visa.
For the purposes of the Migration Act 1958, travel undertaken by a Bridging Visa holder is counted as time spent in Australia.
Be aware that despite the above, the Department must consider that your return to Australia is not contrary to the public interest. This includes, for example, the possibility of exposure to infectious diseases.