In my last entry on residency in mid-April, I mentioned that I had all my ducks in a row and my application for a de facto partner visa subclass 820 was being lodged. That went through without a hitch and Immigration issued me a bridging visa.
A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows me to say in Australia in the period of time between when my previous visa expired and my current visa application is being processed. Think of it like being in Limbo.
Despite all the planning, work, and expenses, Immigration can reject a visa application, but I guess the assumption is that they generally won’t because the bridging visa does a number of important things.
First, the bridging visa allows me to stay in Australia indefinitely. Unlike a tourist visa or a working visa, there’s no expiration date on it.
Second, the bridging visa allows me to enrol in Medicare. In the US, Medicare is a national social insurance program that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older, younger people with disabilities, and a few other folks as well. In Australia, Medicare is a publicly funded universal health care scheme. It was easy to enrol. I printed out the form from the Department of Human Services website, completed it, gathered other necessary documents, and took all down to my local Medicare office. I took a ticket, waited about half-hour, and submitted my paperwork. In about a week, the card arrived in the post.
The third thing that a bridging visa allows me to do is work in Australia. After enrolling in Medicare, the next thing I did was apply for a tax file number. Much like a Social Security number, a tax file number is a unique nine-digit number issued to to individuals and organisations to help the Australian government administer tax. You can apply online and it’s easy. You don’t have to provide much information because the Australian Taxation Office will check the status of your residency. In about a week, I had received my TFN in the post.
My de facto visa application is still being processed and it will take months, but I have public health care and a job in Australia, and that’s a lot and I’m happy about it. Looking and finding work has been its own adventure so I’ll be sure to write more about that later.
What’s your visa process been like?
The Road to Residency Part 1: The Visa Medical Assessment
The Road to Residency Part 2: Tricky Language
The Road to Residency Part 3: The Relationship
The Road to Residency Part 4: All the Extras
The Road to Residency Part 5: Death and Taxes