Living in the community on a bridging visa


Anyone who attempts to travel to Australia by boat without a visa will be turned back or transferred to a regional processing country.

The following information is not for people whose protection claims are being assessed in regional processing countries.

This information is for people who have already arrived in Australia by boat without a visa and whose protection claims will be assessed in Australia.

You came to Australia illegally. This means you cannot stay in Australia permanently.

You will have to return home if you are not found to be a refugee.

It will not matter how long you have been in Australia.

While you wait for an immigration decision, you will:

  • stay in an immigration detention facility, or
  • be placed in community detention, or
  • be granted a short term bridging visa to live in the community.

The immigration minister decides whether you will live in the community or in an immigration detention facility. You cannot choose.

Living in the Australian community is a privilege, not a right. All people living in Australia must obey Australian laws.

You must also follow certain conditions if you are granted a bridging visa.

These conditions are written in your visa grant letter. They will be explained to you when you are granted the bridging visa.

Ask questions if you do not understand.

Your visa grant letter will say if you are not allowed to work.

Working without permission is a breach of your bridging visa conditions.

You must look after yourself if you are granted a bridging visa.

You will be responsible for managing your money. Like other people living in Australia, you will need to pay for:

  • rent
  • gas, electricity and water bills
  • clothes
  • food
  • household items
  • telephone and internet bills
  • transport.

Living in Australia can be expensive.

You might need to live away from city centres or share accommodation with other people to reduce your living expenses.

Depending on your situation, you might be eligible for some financial support to pay for your basic needs.

Your service provider can help you find out what support you are eligible for.

You will not be eligible for any support if you are found not to be a refugee.

If you are found to be a refugee, you may be eligible for other government support.

If you breach your bridging visa conditions or break Australian laws, any support you receive could be reduced or stopped.

You could also be returned to an immigration detention facility.

You can get more information from the Immigration Department and online at: Illegal maritime arrivals

Copyright and usage

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Living in the community on a bridging visa by Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.​​​​​​​