Can I Work On A Bridging Visa In Australia?

I’m so pleased I’ve been able to help some of you who are applying for the Subclass 820 Defacto Partner Visa to Australia through this post.

I get a lot of emails asking me a lot of questions and understandably it’s an overwhelming experience as there’s not a lot of information out there. A few months ago I decided to write a post answering all your questions here but the main question I always get asked is ‘When Can I Work on A Bridging Visa?’. I’ve therefore decided to write a post dedicated to answering this question in as much detail as I can.

You can also check out my video I made which shows you visually how I put my application together here.

Can I work on a Tourist Visa?

Firstly, for those of you who aren’t aware, I came into Australia on a 3 month Tourist Visa with my Australian boyfriend. This meant I could not work whatsoever. I didn’t even bother to try to get work cash in hand over the fear of getting found out by immigration and I wouldn’t recommend doing it neither. Let’s face it, you’ll be paying a lot of money out for this visa so don’t push it just for 3 months extra work if you’re going to go through the same way like I did.

When Does the Tourist Visa Change to a Bridging Visa?

I spent my first 3 months in Australia getting my application ready to apply for the 820 partner visa. It took a long time to organise. I advise you to make a start your application asap. I wanted to make sure I had as much information to make sure my visa was going to be approved. Remember – all you need to do is provide information that will convince a stranger you are in a genuine relationship. That’s it. There are people out there who do try and fake it, trust me, I’ve met some of them that have done it already.

I sent my application off in the post about a week before my tourist visa was up. You can send it off anytime you like but make sure whatever visa you are on, you send your application off BEFORE your current visa expires. I didn’t have to leave the country to apply, I just stayed put in Sydney.

A few days later I was sent a confirmation email saying immigration had received my application.

Here’s the important part – The day after my tourist visa expired I automatically went onto a Bridging Visa. 

Can I Work On A Bridging Visa?

As soon as my Tourist Visa turned into a Bridging Visa meant I had full working rights to work in Australia. Just like any Australian citizen, I then had the same working rights as everyone else. If you are changing from a Working Holiday Visa onto a 820 Partner Visa, you can now work for an employer for as long as you like so you won’t have to move jobs every 6 months like on the WHV.

How Long Will I Be On A Bridging Visa For?

The Bridging Visa is a temporary visa meaning you’ll be on it until the 820 Visa is granted. I was on it for a whole year before my visa was granted. I was just sent an email saying it had been granted and that was it. Happy Days!

Can I Leave Australia Whilst On A Bridging Visa?

It’s not advised to leave Australia whilst on the Bridging Visa but if you need to do so then you’ll need to contact immigration. I know someone (a British girl) who had booked a course overseas a while back before she knew she was going to apply for the partner visa and had to pay something like $100 to immigration to leave the country before returning a few weeks later. Definitely check with immigration on this one though.

Hope this answers your Bridging Visa questions! I know it’s a stressful time applying but it will all be worth it in the end!

Disclaimer – I do not work for immigration, I am just someone who has been through the visa process. This is my account of how I found the bridging visa process whilst awaiting the 820 defacto partner visa. 

Co-Founder and Editor
  1. Quick question about the bridging visa. I see you’ve said that the 820 visa allows you to work somewhere for as long as you wish, unlike the WHV which is a maximum of 6 months. My question is, what are the rules in regards to this for the Bridging Visa? can you only work in one place for 6 months max on the bridging visa or can it be for whatever duration? Thanks!

  2. Hi Alyce, the bridging visa visa gives you full working rights so it cuts out the 6 months max of working for one employer. You can work for an employer for as long as they want you to work for them 🙂

  3. Hi Annabel, thanks for all of this information 🙂

    Do you reckon the bridging visa looks appealing to employers? Wouldn’t they be put off by the fact that your 820 visa application can be rejected? How did you find getting a job on the bridging visa


    1. Hi Isabelle, I’ve never had any problems with employers with being on Bridging Visa. All they’ve ever wanted to know is that I have full working rights and that I wasn’t planning on leaving the country any time soon. Hope that helps! Thanks

  4. Hi Annabel,

    I read that bridging Visa A “Working rights is same as visa held ( in this case, tourist visa) when application lodged, but unrestricted in some cases”

    Doesn’t it mean that one can’t work ? How does one remove the restriction to work?

    Also, I have the same question as Isabelle. I figured it may be easier to secure a casual job with a bridging visa but won’t it be even tougher if I were to look for a professional or skillful position like pharmacist as employer would naturally prefer someone with a PR.?.



    1. Hi AsianOne, I was on a tourist visa and then went onto a bridging visa and never had any problems getting a job. I would check with immigration though if I were you. Being on a bridging visa is very common in Aus so employers are used to it and it shouldn’t cause any problems. Thanks!

  5. How much time did you leave when sending you application in the mail? I want to mail our application but my husband is very anxious about the timeframe we leave for it to be opened and accepted for his bridging visa.

    This post was very helpful during this stressful process!

  6. My son travelled to Aus on a tourist visa for 2 years , 2012-2014 when he returned home he brought his girl friend with him whom he’d met in th June 2014 so they had been together about 4 months before returning to th UK , they lived with me from the October 2014 for 6months then rented a place for another 6months when the lease expired they came to live with me again in which time my sons partner fell pregnant and decided in March of this year 2016 she decided she wanted to go back to Aus so before she reached 26 weeks into her pregnancy she returned to Aus . The pair of them in there wisdom decided it would be better for them to travel back to Aus seperatly which I still can’t get my head around my son then got an 3 month visitor visa stopped off at Perth on route to visit an auntie before joining his partner in Melbourne in April .
    He has now a bridging visa in place whilst the deafacto visa is being processed .
    I’m so worried that it will be refused due to the way they have gone about things
    He has references but I feel I’m the main person to be giving a rererence but I haven’t will the immigration contact me do you think ?
    Your advice would be greatly appreciated

  7. I was just curious which tourist visa you held? There are several 3 month tourism visas on the immi site and I just want to pick the right one. Please help!! Was your tourism visa renewable or limited to the 3 months?

  8. Hi There,

    Wondering if you had any issues avoiding an 8503 no further stay condition on your tourist visa when applying?

    My partner is planning on taking the same route you did to apply for the 820 partner visa on a 3 month tourist visa, however we are worried about potentially having an 8503 condition placed on her tourist visa.



    1. Hi Nick! what did you end up doing? I have the same concern..
      The last tourist visa I issued for 3 months had the 8503

  9. Hi,

    I also applied for a 820 while being on a tourist visa and received the bridging visa notification. The notification does not mention anything about work rights.

    Does the fact that I don’t have a no work condition, mean that I have work rights?

    I would prefer that the letter would be clearer about this, as I don’t want to take any risks.


    1. Hi again,

      I found the answer myself. Sorry for posting so fast but I was too excited to receive this document that I am working for since 10 months.

      The pdf viewer that I used showed blank pages where all the visa details are. Other pdf viewer all good 🙂


  10. Hello,
    I’ve applied for De Facto Visa and received the email notice stating that they had received my application Monday. I was just wondering how long from when you receive the confirmation for your application do they usually take to grant the Bridging Visa?

    1. I think it depends on what visa you were on before. I was on a tourist visa so once my visa had expired, I automatically went onto a bridging visa.

      1. Hi, you’re such a gift!!
        I want to go through the same process as you but I have a question- when you issued a tourist visa for 3 months- did you have the 8503 (no further stay) condition? I had that last time I applied and I can’t remember if it’s something that I wrote in my application, that made them add that, Or is it something they added on their own.

  11. Heya Londoner,
    Great post (and website you have). Quick-ish question for you…
    Husband and I have been together 5 years (in July 2017), married since September 2016. We are expecting our first child in October 2017. I am Australian, he is a Brit.
    We’d like to move back to Australia in December 2017 both for my own Baby and to help my parents who are getting on (in their 70’s, both Australians).
    Do you advise starting the Spousal visa BEFORE we leave or when we get to Australia? i.e, should I start it now and fly on a one way ticket, or just hold fire, pay up for return fares and lodge on land? If we do this, can he then get a bridging visa to start working?? I wont be able to work as I’ll be looking after baby for a while…
    We will be able to finically support ourselves for a while, but will it be for the three months or when we lodge?
    Thank for your – or anyones time! – that replies… I’m a very worried 1st Mum to be!!

  12. Hello, my partner and I are going through the defacto visa process, he’s been granted his bridging visa however is finding it very difficult to find work due to being on a temp visa, even casual retail work (in which he has many years experience). I’m wondering if you came across similar situations once your temp visa came into effect? Thanks.

  13. How do you get a bridging visa in Australia ???? How many hours can a person on a bridging visa work per week, this person from Mexico works at least 40-50 hours currently, can they do cash jobs, is this legal?. I thought cash jobs were illegal in Australia full stop! I know this person is not in a relationship with an Australian he dates a women on a temporary student visa from Columbia. I know this person has been here for over two years. How can that be fair when some citizens of Australia are living in poor conditions. Lastly there are humans from war torn places like Syria who can’t get their foot in the door!!!

  14. Hi Annie,

    Thank you for this super helpful post! I am planning to go through the same process, but am weighing up between getting a 3 month visitor visa or a WHV. Do you have any thoughts on which is best? Originally I thought WHV would be better, but from my understanding you only go onto the bridging visa when your other visa expires… So let’s say I got a job on my WHV (able to work for 6 months) and then applied for defacto. Would I then have to wait out the final 6 months of that visa (i.e. not able to keep working with that employer) before getting the unlimited working rights of the defacto? I hope that makes sense. Thank you in advance for any guidance 🙂

    1. Hi Lauren, your question sounds about right. From my understanding, the bridging visa doesn’t come into effect until your current visa expires. It also depends on what industry you work in as you *might* have a chance of getting sponsored if you come in on a WHV which would mean you wouldn’t have to pay for the defacto. Otherwise you have 2 choices, come in on the tourist visa and not work for 3 months whilst you apply for the visa. Then you’ll get the bridging visa and you can work from then on, or; come into Australia on the WHV (if you’re under 31 and from one of the countries that applies for it) for the year and change employers every six months (unless you get sponsored), then apply for the visa at the end of the year. Hope that helps! I always advise everyone to call immigration though as they are the only people that can give the correct advice! Thanks

  15. u are very humble blogger god bless u always i am very fullfilled of the informations and experienced u have. thank u so much from the bottom of my heart. awesome lady

  16. Hi, it’s a relief to find someone with some usable advice. If your able to could you offer my partner & I some advice.
    My partner & I have been together 5yrs. Two yrs ago I found that because I was born in Oz I could return as a citizen. My partner & I came over to have a look & decided to start the process while I stayed in Australia to get things started. I proposed to her earlier this year & we made a start on the prospective marriage visa subclass 300, it was lodged in June 2017 & were told it would take 4/5 months. We are now told it could take another year! We have been apart for the best part of 18months and we cannot do it for another year, is there any way at all I can get her here prior to the approval? I cannot seem to find a clear cut answer. She does have two kids.
    Thanks for your time

    1. Hi Ian, did you apply whilst you were both in Australia? If you applied out of Australia I think you have to wait until it’s approved before she can come over. She’d be able to come in on a tourist visa for 6 months but I don’t know how that would work with the kids and school. Have you called immigration? The number is 131881. Best of luck!

  17. Hi
    My husband is Australian PR and he just moved to Sydney. He is working there now.
    I am working in Singapore. I will move there after few months.
    He is plaining to apply Visa 820 for me when I am in Sydney later.
    When I read you’re posted “As soon as I applied the visa subclass 820 visa – temporary visa, part 1, I went straight onto a Bridging Visa which gave me full working rights in Australia”
    May I know how long I need to wait for Bridging Visa so that I can have full working rights in Australia? If I am not wrong, you received an approval for Bridging Visa after 1 year.

    1. Hi Lena, I was on a tourist visa for 3 months. I then applied for the 820 defacto visa when my tourist visa was about to expire. Because I had applied for the 820 visa, once my tourist visa expired, I automatically went onto the bridging visa the day after the tourist visa expired. This meant I then had full working rights. I was then on the bridging visa for 1 year until my 820 visa was approved. I know it’s a confusing process but hope that helps. You must be in Australia to gain access to the bridging visa which is my understanding. Thanks

  18. Hi,

    I will be moving to Australia end of next month February 2018. I have been with my partner (Australian Citizen) for nearly 6 years, 2.5 years long distance and 3.5 years living together. Would like to know which Tourist visa you applied for, was it the eVisitor 651 visa or Electronic Travel Authority 601 visa? I have all my documents and 802 application ready to lodge when I arrive in Australia as a tourist and when will I know when I receive a bridging visa ? Do I get an email from the application I’ve lodged of the 802 partner visa or is it a different department ? How will I know which bridging visa I will get (class) as I will need to work to earn some money after not working for 3 months.

    I hope I get a reply, It’ll be really helpful! Thank you

    1. Hi there, I can’t remember which tourist visa I came in on although the 651 visa is free. It was for 3 months. Do you mean the 820 defacto partner visa? As long as you apply for the 820 before your tourist visa is up, the day after your tourist visa expires, you automatically go onto a bridging visa. I rang them to make sure I had been put onto the bridging visa. Once you’re on the bridging visa, you will be able to work. If you need to speak to an immigration agent for FREE advice, check out my post here:

      1. Hi there, thank you so much for your reply. I have read the AUREC immigration agent advice and might contact AUREC for more information. I believe if I apply for a 457 on-hire labour visa through AUREC and work in Australia while I’ve lodged my 820 de facto partner visa (in Australia), will that be possible instead of getting a tourist visa for 3 months and having to wait for the 3 months to end and expire and get a bridging visa (then start work). If AUREC processes a visa within 2-4 weeks, It’ll be the best option for me to do that and as soon as I arrive in Australia then lodge my 820 de facto visa the first few days of arrival and work to earn an income (to pay off my $8,000 spent on the de facto for sure). What do you think or advise?

        You’ve been so helpful with your blog.

  19. Hi!
    My wife is currently in Australia on tourist visa with 3 months stay on 1 year visa granted. Can I apply spouse visa and change her tourist visa to bridging visa? If yes, does it allows work permit on bridging visa class she will held ?

  20. *note – I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice*
    It appears the BVA generally carries over working rights from your previous visa though there are some exceptions. These are known as “conditions”. For example, if you are on a working holiday visa, condition 8547 may apply. This restricts employment with 1 employer to 6 months. You may be eligible to apply for permission to work longer than 6 months with 1 employer by completing form 1445:

  21. Please could you advise me regarding a Bridging Visa B application.
    I am currently living in Australia on a 12 month tourist visa which has been extended for four years but I must leave for 6 months in an 18 month period.
    If I applied for the Bridging visa B would I be able to remain in Australia longer than the 12 months and be able to select a time and date when I come and go from the country.

    I also have a substantive permanent parental 143 visa application in the system since 2017, with no idea when it will be granted I applied for the 600 tourist visa to be with my family.

    I wish to stay in the country until my permanent visa is processed but also need the flexibility to leave and return when I choose.
    Any advice that you could give to me on my situation would be very much appreciated.

  22. Hi
    I’m about to apply for a partner visa. I’m currently on a 3 month tourist visa. I’ve been told that i will automatically get work rights when I get a bridging visa A, but all the information I am now seeing is saying that my work rights will be the same as my current tourist visa, which is no work rights at all. This is a vital issue for me. Can you help with any information please. Thanks.

  23. @ Steve Mason – Indeed…..I came to Australia too May last year on a Tourist Visa & finding it hard now to get Work Rights….Work Rights that i applied for last September but was flatly denied due to my case “not being compelling enough”, official reason given to me by Department of Immigration. Now i have to wait “some more time” before re-applying again which is frankly very annoying. NOT WORTH IT AT ALL to relocate in Australia if you can’t secure Work rights !
    Don’t even bother abt gaming the system by looking for “cash in hand” jobs, proper waste of time as the employers are too scared of getting caught if ever the Authorities come to know that they’re hiring folks without Work Rights….

  24. Hey guys,

    You have all been so helpful to others so I am just wondering if you can help me too!

    I am currently on a 500 student visa, my partner is hoping to be put onto a skilled 482 visa which would apply for me too. My questions is, once the skilled visa is being processed, will I be able to work full time on a bridging visa or will I have to only work 20 hours until it has been definitley accepted?

    thanks for any help you guys can provide!

  25. This was a great and interesting article to read. I have really enjoyed all of this very cool and fun information. Thanks

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