how to include a cover letter in your visa application

Are cover letters for partner visa applications necessary?

Cover letters are not just for job applications, they can also be handy for your partner visa applications. Why you ask? Is it necessary you ask? Well they're not necessary per se but they're a nice to have and I find that it helps to make the life of the case officer easier. Imagine if you're handing in 50 or so documents (either paper or online) and there's a few missing that will be uploaded or sent off a bit later. You can’t expect the case officer to look at your list of documents and know exactly what’s missing and whether you will be uploading it. Once again the goal is to help out the case officer as much as possible and not to make their jobs harder than it should be.

If you’re missing documents or some of your documents are a little unclear then you want to explain this to the case officer.


Online applications and cover letters

If you're submitting online there's no  need for cover letters that detail what is included in the application as the system ticks them off when you upload the relevant document. However, I find it helps with organising the submission and acts as a final review checklist for yourself.

Cover letters are also good to highlight or direct the case officer to which evidence is for which category. With 50 or so documents, don't make it hard for the case officer to piece together your evidence and then match it to the requirements. Lead them there. You want the case officer to read your cover letter and go 'OK, passport copy is evidence of identity. Check. Birth certificate is evidence of identity. Check'. You don't want them to go 'Ok, evidence of identity, where in all of these documents do I find it? Are they labelled properly?'

Unclear documents

You can only upload 60 documents in the online system and each can only be 5MB in file size. Therefore you have to be very selective when you are choosing your evidence. So when I say ‘unclear documents’ I don’t want you to waste your valuable document limit on evidence that is ambiguous or unclear and unhelpful. However what I do mean is, if you have several pieces of evidence that are linked together to form a full picture, then its requires a bit of explanation.

For example, you both met on a trip to London and you were attending the same concert. Here’s what you’ll upload: your train tickets to London (assuming neither of you live in London), ticket stubs or concert payment receipts, concert programme and other merchandising.

If you choose this as evidence, then you must upload these separately but individually they mean nothing except a train ticket, a used concert ticket and some pretty brochures.

This is where the cover letter comes in. You can tie together your evidence by explaining a little about what it is and what you are proving with it.

Sample cover letter

Here's an example structure of what you could write. I tend to use more formal language because I'm an immigration lawyer after all but you can chop and change the words to suit your style. Personalise it a bit if you wish.

I've included a sample one here and is available for you to download FREE.

Dear Sir/Madam,  [I prefer a more formal salutation but go with whichever that you're comfortable with]

Please find attached my application for the Partner Visa (subclass 820). The application is complete except for the following: [list documents that are missing. Delete if not necessary]

  • [Document type and name]
  • [Document type and name]
  • [Document type and name]

These documents are outstanding because: [use all that apply to provide a complete explanation]

  • [Document name] will be obtained on your request/instructions
  • I have sent off for [Document name] and it will be available in [date or time period]
  • [Insert other reason]

The outstanding documents will be processed and uploaded/attached [Choose one] as soon as possible.

I have completed the application in accordance to the requirements of the visa and below is a brief explanatory note of the documents submitted with the application.


List filenames or document title – best to use filenames as will be uploaded to the system

I hope you have found this explanation sufficient and please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further clarification. I also invite you to interview myself or my partner if need be and we are contactable on [phone number and/or email address or postal address].

Yours sincerely,


Name of applicant


Phone and/or email

Incomplete applications

Please refer to my other post on incomplete applications to understand which documents you are “allowed” to leave out at time of submission and which ones that are critical and shouldn't be left out.

Also if you're submitting a substantially incomplete application I wouldn't advise to attach a visa application cover letter since it'd be e a whole laundry list of things you've yet to do. Instead I'd submit the cover letter when you've obtained around 90% of all your documentary evidence and have uploaded it/sent it off.

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    Australian partner visa guides download 2019