Applying for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) while waiting for your 820/801 Australian Partner Visa
With global processing times currently at 23-29 months for the 820/801 Australian Partner Visa, it’s very likely that you’ll want to travel outside Australia sometime before your visa is granted, whether it be to visit your family, attend a conference overseas, or simply to take a holiday.
Unfortunately, though, the standard placeholder visa that is issued when you submit your application for residency (Bridging Visa A) does not permit you to leave the country— to be granted limited travel rights before your Partner Visa has been approved, you’ll need to apply for a Bridging Visa B. This is a comprehensive guide to applying for a Bridging Visa B, including how the visa works and who is eligible, how to complete the online application, what supporting evidence to attach, and what to expect when the visa is issued.
Read my whole series on applying for the 820/801 Australian Partner Visa for more information about preparing your evidence, lodging your application, and the next steps. If you’re just beginning, start with this post to get an overview (and to read about our story). And, as always, please remember that I am not a migration agent or affiliated with Home Affairs in any way, so all the information provided in these posts and in the comments below is based entirely on my own experience and my own understanding of the application process.
About Bridging Visas
Bridging Visa A
When you apply for permanent residency through the 820/801 Partner Visa (onshore), you are automatically issued a Bridging Visa A (subclass 010). Think of this as a placeholder visa— it comes into effect as soon as your previous visa expires (e.g. tourist visa, student visa, work visa) and remains active until your Partner Visa is granted.
For most people, this visa includes unlimited work and study rights, which means you can live a totally normal life in Australia while you wait several years (UGH) for your Partner Visa to be processed.
The one hitch is that the Bridging Visa A doesn’t come with any travel rights (or, more specifically, it doesn’t come with any re-entry rights). If you do leave the country on this visa, you’ll not only forfeit your right to remain in Australia while your Partner Visa is being processed, but you’ll probably find yourself caught up in time-consuming and expensive litigation to get your Partner Visa granted at all. Unless it’s a life or death emergency, leaving Australia on a Bridging Visa A is really not smart.
Bridging Visa B
If you want to travel outside Australia for any reason while you’re waiting for your Partner Visa to be approved, you’ll have to apply for a Bridging Visa B (subclass 020).
When granted, this visa will supersede your Bridging Visa A (with the same work/study rights) and remain active until your Partner Visa is approved— but it still doesn’t mean that you can enjoy unlimited travel outside Australia. Your Bridging Visa B comes with a limited travel period based on the dates you requested and the information you provided in your application.
It used to be that the travel period rarely exceeded 3 months, but my first BVB was approved for 4 months and my second for 12 months. Both of these were for personal travel!
You might also be granted different entry rights with your Bridging Visa B. Some BVBs will allow multiple entries within the specified travel period, meaning you can travel in and out of Australia as much as you want, while others will only permit a single entry, meaning you’ll need to apply for a new Bridging Visa B if you want to leave Australia for a second time, even if it’s within the travel period.
Both of my BVBs were issued with multiple entries even though I didn’t specifically request that, but there is no guarantee— if you really need a long travel period or multiple entries on your BVB, you should specify this in your application and provide appropriate evidence to support your request.
What is a “substantial reason” for travel?
To be issued a Bridging Visa B, you must have “substantial reasons for wishing to leave and re-enter Australia”— and it used to be that you really did need a substantial reason, like a dying family member or an important overseas conference. As wait times for the 820/801 Partner Visa have absolutely exploded, though, the general consensus seems to be that visiting family, taking a holiday, celebrating an anniversary, or attending a wedding are ALL appropriate reasons to apply for a Bridging Visa B.
Based on the (admittedly limited) forum wisdom, these visas are rarely refused if you apply correctly and provide a compelling or compassionate reason for wanting to travel. I first applied for a BVB to travel around South America for 3 months after submitting my PhD, and thankfully this was deemed to be a “substantial reason” for travel. My second BVB was only for a 2-week trip to New Zealand with my partner, but I actually got granted a full 12 months with multiple entries. Travel seems to be a totally legitimate reason to get a BVB these days!
When to apply for a BVB
One of the main reasons you are required to apply for a BVB prior to travel outside Australia is that Home Affairs needs to check on the status of your Partner Visa application before you leave the country.
You should submit an application for a Bridging Visa B no sooner than 3 months and no less than 2 weeks before your intended travel dates. I applied for my second BVB about 10 days out and it was approved with no issues, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this.
How to apply for Bridging Visa B
Starting an online BVB application
The easiest way to submit an application for a Bridging Visa B is through your Immi Account:
- After logging in to your Immi Account, you should see your submitted Partner Visa application on the “My Applications” homepage.
- Click View Details just below your application.
- This will take you to a page that says “Application Home” and shows the application history for your visa (e.g. the date you submitted, etc). On the lefthand menu, click Bridging Visa Information.
- On the “Bridging Visa Information” page, you should see the original grant date of your Bridging Visa A listed under “Current Bridging Visas for This Application”. Directly above this, click the link that says Apply for a Bridging Visa (it might also be called Bridging Visa Information).
- This will bring you to an “ELodgement Page” where you can begin applying for your Bridging Visa B.
BVB application questions
If you’re wondering what information you’ll need to provide on your Bridging Visa B application, here’s an overview of all the questions:
Select the reason for applying for a Bridging Visa
Tick to seek permission to travel outside of Australia (application for a Bridging visa B).
Request permission to travel
Complete the form with your personal details (name, passport number, expiry) and intended dates/countries of overseas travel. You can enter multiple countries on the form, but you only need to provide travel dates for when you’re actually leaving and returning to Australia. Finally, you have 2000 characters to tell Home Affairs about your “purpose for travel”.
Keep in mind that you can also attach a letter to your application to provide additional information about your travel plans, so this doesn’t need to be exhaustive. In this box, I just wrote that I was “hoping to travel outside Australia to visit my parents, enjoy a holiday with my partner and celebrate the submission of my PhD” and also provided dates of when I was travelling to each country and with whom.
Enter details of your residential and postal address. If you’re staying more than 14 days at an overseas address (e.g. staying at your parents’ house for a few weeks), you should provide this address; otherwise, just provide your address in Australia. This should match the address information that you put on your Partner Visa application!
Answer yes or no: “Has any applicant… ever had, or currently have, tuberculosis? … been in close contact with a family member that has active tuberculosis? … ever had a chest x-ray which showed an abnormality?”
Answer yes or no to a long series of questions about whether you’ve ever been charged with a legal offence, been involved in illegal activity, etc. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you’ll need to provide further details.
Answer yes or no to a series of questions about whether you understand the visa process, have provided true and correct information, etc.
Attaching evidence to your BVB application
After reviewing all of your responses and clicking Submit on the application, you’ll be taken to an Attachments page, where it’s possible to upload relevant supporting evidence. There’s pretty minimal guidance on what documents you should include to demonstrate a “substantial reason for travel”, but the upload categories (in the photo below) give you some idea of what you might provide.
If you’re going to visit a sick relative, for instance, you might upload medical records or a letter from a doctor explaining the condition. If you’re going on a business trip or attending an international conference, you might upload a letter from your employer or proof of conference registration. Personally, I uploaded a colour scan of my passport, a summary of my travel plans, copies of my flights, and a few assorted bookings (e.g. hotels, tour reservations).
Submitting your BVB application
After uploading any supporting documents, you will be taken to a payment page, which is the final step in submitting your application to Home Affairs. The application cost for a Bridging Visa B is $145 (as of June 2019) and can be paid either with a credit/debit card or Paypal (both incur a $1-2 fee).
If the payment has successfully gone through, you should be given a PDF receipt and your Bridging Visa Information page on ImmiAccount will display the status of your application as “Submitted [date]”.
Update: As of 1 July 2019, the application fee for Bridging Visa B has increased to $155AUD.
IMMI BVB Grant Notification
I’d previously heard that Home Affairs might only grant your BVB a week before your travel dates, so I was prepared to settle in for a long (and somewhat stressful) wait. Thankfully, that was far from the case! I applied on a Friday afternoon (5 weeks before my trip) and received my BVB via email the following Monday morning. My second BVB was exactly the same. Of course, everyone’s wait time will depend on personal circumstances and how busy Home Affairs is, but it’s nice to know that a long wait isn’t a guarantee with this visa.
As soon as you receive a visa grant email, your Bridging Visa B will replace your Bridging Visa A, typically with the same work and study conditions (i.e. if you had unlimited work rights on your BVA, you will still have unlimited work rights on your BVB).
Your Bridging Visa B Grant Notification email will tell you whether you have single or multiple entries and also specify your approved travel period— as an example, you can see my travel period in the screenshot below, which extends from the date of the visa grant to 20 October 2019. This is a full week after my requested date of re-entry into Australia, so it’s great that Home Affairs has given me a little cushion in case my flights are delayed. Overall, a very simple and speedy process to get a BVB!
I hope this information has been helpful and I wish you so much luck on your Australian Partner Visa journey! Feel free to ask any questions below and I will do my very best to answer them.
* I am not a migration agent or affiliated with Home Affairs in any way, so all the information provided in these posts and in the comments below is based entirely on my own experience and my own understanding of the application process.
If you found this post helpful and want to contribute to some of the costs associated with running the blog, I would be infinitely grateful!
You can use the PayPal button below to donate whatever you feel this information is worth. If you aren’t able, don’t worry— I will always keep my posts free and accessible for everyone!
UPDATE: A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who’s commented to let me know that you found these posts helpful— I can’t tell you how much it means to me to read your success stories! I worked incredibly hard to compile all of this information (while getting my PhD & teaching), but it’s genuinely been worth it to make even a small difference for my fellow immigrants.
More importantly, though, THANK YOU to everyone who has shared their own experience or answered questions for other readers in the comments below! We are building a wonderful & supportive community of Partner Visa applicants here, and every comment and question is a resource for others.
If you felt like these posts helped with your application, I’d encourage you to come back after your visa is granted (or even after various milestones) and let us all know what happened— it might mean the world to someone else struggling with this process! Best wishes to you all xx bb
Thank you for all the info,however a quick question. I have done research and everyone seems to have a different answer for it:
Once granted the BVB and the period you are granted is over, do you then go back to a BVA or do you remain on a BVB visa until you receive the outcome of your 820.
It is so confusing to find the right answer.
Technically, you stay on the BVB and do not go back onto the BVA, but the travel period will eventually expire, so the BVB will at that time function exactly like a BVA. I know it’s a bit confusing, hope that makes sense!
Your going back to BVA
I need help on this matter please.
i applied for spouse visa and it got rejected due to lack evidence. Actually migrant agent did not submit enough documents. Now the case is with AAT for almost 3 years. Me and my wife wants to travel overseas to see my sick father for 2 weeks. Last time i saw him in 2017. Didnt get a chance to go overseas then.
I applied for a bvb travel. My question is will the department grant me a travel exception and how long will it take. I already told them its very urgent. Thanks
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation, but I imagine your BVB (if it hasn’t already) will be granted very soon! This is a situation that fully deserves a travel period and Home Affairs has been known to grant BVBs for much less, so I’m crossing my fingers that you’ve already received good news.
Best of luck to you and wishing your father a swift recovery.
Hi thank you for your article. I recently applied for BVB from May to December since I am going for my marriage. Although when I recieved the grant they approved it till October. Is it possible to extend it
I haven’t heard of the BVB being granted for less than the requested time, so I’d definitely contact someone at Home Affairs to query whether there’s a process for you to apply for an extension. Alternatively, you may have to apply for another BVB altogether (after the first travel period expires), but you do need to be in Australia to do that.
Best of luck!
Hi Brooke, thank you for this helpful guide!
Q: Do you know if the BVB applications are looked upon differently if you have only recently applied for your Partner Visa?
Context: I’ve been in Aus on a tourist visa from mid Feb which expires mid May & I will soon be applying for a Partner Visa. I have a quite ambitious plan to go to the UK for 3 weeks from mid June until early July for a close friend’s wedding, both my parents’ birthdays and Glastonbury festival (I might leave this bit out of the application?)
Am I pushing my luck or do you think it’ll be fine?
I personally wouldn’t imagine it’s an issue, they seem to grant BVBs very liberally these days (although your instinct to leave the festival out and emphasise the family aspect probably doesn’t hurt). I was sweating majorly about getting a BVB approved for travel, but I got both of mine with no issue– and the second was for a full 12 months! I think you’ll be fine 🙂
Brooke — thank you so so much for these amazing tips it really helps! I was wondering, I have a family trip planned for my nephew’s baptism in August which I will need to apply for a BVB for, but do you think I could try to specify two different trips on one application? I will be doing the baptism trip and then I’m also planning on seeing family over the holidays as well, but don’t have a ticket yet. Would there be any way to get it granted for both and if so how do you think I’d go about doing this?
Thanks so much!
You should be able to apply for both trips in a single application, you may just get a 6 or 12 month travel period! Make sure you explain the dates clearly and I imagine it will be no issue.
Thank you Brooke – this is by far the most useful thing I’ve read while applying for a BVB, and I’m no stranger to visas!
Will be reading more while I wait for my 820/801!
Glad you found it helpful, Bridie!
Hi Brooke, thanks so much for providing this incredible resource! Super helpful and written up very nicely. Wonder if you can shed light on the ‘automatic’ grant of a BVA after applying for the 820 whilst in Australia on a visitor visa that permits multiple three-month entries within a 12 month period. Does the BVA immediately supersede the visitor visa, and thus confer rights to work etc? Or does that happen only after three months (legal entitlement to remain in Aus expires) or after 12 months (visa expires, period). Thanks a bunch!
Your BVA is ISSUED immediately upon applying for the 820 (and you should get an email to this effect), but it only becomes ACTIVE once your current visa expires.
However, it seems a bit ridiculous that you would be expected to wait the full 12 months without work rights just because you had a long visitor visa, so it’s possible that there is some exception in this circumstance and it’s only the 3-month period that would need to pass before your BVA becomes active. I was on a student visa when I applied, so I can’t personally comment, but maybe one of my other readers can jump in and provide information about their experience!
Thanks Brooke for all your info and replies to comments. I am trying to apply for my partners 820 when she is on shore next week on Visitor Visa. But her Visitor Visa 600 is for 3 years until 2025 but only 3 months at a time. Does that mean BVA or BVB kicks in after the 3 month stay period or after the entire 3 years?
Thanks a lot for your help 🙂
Sorry I think you have kind of already answered it haha might be better to check with a migration lawyer.
Thank you so so much for all of your advice and blog posts. They are so helpful. My partner and I just lodged a partner visa (820) and I am on a BVA. I’m looking to go home in Jan 2022 to complete my university degree (that I’ve deferred for 2 years) and see my family after over 2 years (like all of us).
I really need this BVB to be accepted for a good amount of time (6-12 months) so I looked into using a migration agent and they quoted us a jaw dropping amount of money.
Do you know if BVBs are a lot harder to get at the moment with COVID? Does anyone else have any other insights? I think I’m capable of doing the application on my own but I wanted to see your thoughts, especially with the way COVID has changed everything!
I feel like I can’t get the correct answer out of migration agents because unfortunately a lot of them are financially driven in their responses.
Thank you again, I appreciate all of your hard work.
I am so glad you found these posts helpful! I can only comment from my own experience with a BVB, but I had one granted for 12 months without even requesting that long (I asked for 3-4mo) and this was for an international trip, purely for enjoyment. Given that you have an even more legitimate reason for requesting the BVB, I can’t imagine it would be an issue getting 12mo to finish your degree and see your family.
Would your partner be coming with you? That would help, but again, I got mine for travel without my partner (he joined for a few weeks), so it’s clearly not a requirement.
In my opinion (and this is just my opinion!), you should be totally fine to apply for the BVB without a migration agent. It’s a very simple process (if somewhat stressful, since you have to wait last-minute), but it’s designed for situations just like this.
Perhaps another reader can comment on having a BVB granted during COVID, just to give you some additional peace of mind!
Best of luck to you,
Hi Amanda, I applied BVB on 29 nov and got it approved for 12months on 30 nov literally the next day! I only requested for 6 mths actually but they gave me 12 months. So don’t worry about it just apply 🙂 Btw the reasons I gave was, work related stuff and visit my parents. Hope this helps 🙂
I’m Viqar, I have applied for 2nd time student visa extension because I’m left with just 2 subjects to complete my masters course,
Now I want go to India for visit to my parents but I’m on bringing A visa now, I understand that I have to take Bridging B to travel but the question is,
>while I’m in India will i get a extension visa decision, if yes what if I get a refusal on extension visa while I’m offshore????
>suppose if a get a visa refusal while I’m offshore can I apply for TR (485 visa) from India?
> BVB duration will be how much?
Kindly help me so that I can see my parents please help me,
brooke brisbineMohammed viqar
This is a special circumstance and it might be worth contacting someone from Home Affairs to confirm, but I’d imagine that if your BVB is granted and then your student visa extension is declined while you are overseas visiting your parents, you’d either be able to appeal that decision or apply for another visa from India and return to Australia to organise further.
Wishing you the best of luck!
Hi Brooke, thanks so much for your blog!! Super helpful!! I have 2 quick question if you don’t mind.
If the BVB gave me one year travel, but let’s say I am only overseas for the first three months, they would still assume I am overseas for the next 9 months and can’t grant me the 820? Even if I am in australia during the next 9 months? So it sort of delays the 820 approval in a way?
Second questions, if the BVB happens to expire while I am overseas, can I enter Australia with my tourist visa? Mine is still valid for 2 more years.
Thanks s much!!
I actually had a BVB granted for 12 month and then my visa was approved before those 12 months expired, but AFTER I’d returned to Australia from my trip. I’d assume Home Affairs has access to border data and therefore is be able to determine whether you are in the country!
To answer your second question, definitely not, you MUST return within the travel period of your BVB or risk invalidating your visa application.
Hope that helps 🙂
Hi Brooke wow that’s great news. I heard from my friend that they would not approve your Partner Visa if you are overseas, but reading your situation means they still consider your application and approved it, but they waited for you to come back to Australia to do so. After you came back to Aus, did you have to update your situation in immi website?
I never officially updated anything on IMMI to say that I was back in the country after travelling, but it’s certainly not a bad idea! I suppose they would have just confirmed it somehow in the system (that I’d crossed back into Aus), but who knows! Hopefully that at least provides some peace of mind 🙂
Hey Brooke, first of all thank you so much for this information about BVB, much appreciated!
I had applied for a temporary graduate visa back in June and currently live in Australia on a BVA, I need to go back to India in December for my brothers wedding, I wonder if they would grant me the visa, secondly I would like to return in January but due restrictions I doubt that will be possible, I wonder would they give me the visa with a long expiration period?
It’s hard to answer those questions definitely, but based on my own experience with the BVB (I had a 12mo BVB granted just for travelling), I’d say that you should be able to get a long-duration BVB for your bother’s wedding!
Best of luck!
Thanks for the time and effort you put into this post. It’s the information that we needed that we couldn’t find on government websites or had to pay lawyers for.
Happy to help, Alana!
Thank you so much for your blog! It has helped so so much. My husband is actually from Seattle and i’m from Aus too! Just wondering after we put through the application for his 82o/801 visa and we apply for the BVB (havent met his family yet because of covid so wanting to go for 3 months to meet them), what if we are overseas when it is granted? Would they just reject the visa or do they not look at the visa whilst we’re gone? Thank you again!
brooke brisbineKatie Kapoor
Hi Katie, very cool!
The whole point of getting the BVB is to make sure the department knows when you’re offshore, so based on my (and many readers’) experiences, that means they’ll either review your application early to see if it’s complete enough to just approve or review it once you return.
If you had a valid BVB and somehow they approved it by mistake while you were out of the country, you also have to figure that you’d have very real justification for an exemption back into Australia, so I think you’re safe any way you look at it.
Hope that helps 🙂
Hi brooke can i apply for a bvb because of i want to attend my brother wedding day? But i was not applying for a partner visa
brooke brisbineJun wah
The BVB is not specific to the partner visa, so if you are on a BVA for another application, then yes, you should be able to get a BVB for your brother’s wedding!
Best of luck 🙂
Brooke: What a monumental undertaking you’ve got here… clearly a LOT of work and diligence went into this. Tremendously helpful at every turn for me. My hat’s off to you for what is probably the most practical and useful of any documents or guidance on Australian partner visa process. Well done!
Hi David, thank you so much for the comment!
It really makes my day to know that these guides are helping other couples in their visa application– because, you’re right, it did take a massive amount of work to put this together 🙂
Best of luck with your application!