The goal of any visa application is completeness. The moment that your application pack hits the proverbial desk of the case officer, you want them to just go through a checklist and tick tick tick and stamp it ‘VISA GRANTED’. Incomplete is the enemy of all visa application.

partner visa granted stamp

(Demonstration only, they don’t actually do this anymore)

Last updated: January 2020

This is what you don’t want to happen

Case officer looks confused and slightly irritated before asking:

  • Where is this so and so important document?
  • What is this untranslated document? Is it official?
  • What is this piece of information that may or may not be relevant?

Not only does this cause delays in your visa application processing, it also annoys the case officer.

Imagine that you had a job to do and your job was dependent on someone else. Then this someone else only gives you 50% of what you need to complete YOUR job. Wouldn’t that annoy you too? Because not only can you not finish your job, you now have to go back to that someone else and ask for what’s missing. You may be met with excuses or just more delays.

frustrated man

You do not want this situation. Do not antagonise the case officer and do not make their jobs harder than it should be.

So why would anyone put in an incomplete application?

Forgetting to upload documents

I kid you not, this is a legitimate reason. Some people get so excited about the whole process that they forget to upload documents. This is in part due to the online system. You submit the application and then you pay for the application. It’s only until after you have paid that the system allows you to upload documents. In fact they advise that it may not be instantaneous (although it is) and sometimes asks you to come back later to upload your documents.

I know for me that if I’ve just paid $7,000 for something, I need a good drink afterwards to celebrate. Finally done! Finally submitted! And then if you’re a little like me and procrastinate (thank you university for this terrible habit) you end up putting it off and forgetting.

Pre-empting price hikes

Since visa fees are only ever going to increase and never decrease, sometimes we do get a warning about imminent price hikes and also the advice to lodge before such dates.

Get in the queue

It’s also a way to get in the ‘queue’ already and start your 12 – 15 month processing time. This is a common tactic and perfectly OK but you have to remember that you have to satisfy the criteria at time of application. For instances, you cannot have been living together for 6 months when you apply and then hope to make up the 6 months later during the processing time. It doesn’t work like this.

Just not ready – all of the above

It can be as simple as being not ready with all the documents. So a combination of the above reasons. You want to get in early, you want to avoid the price hikes but you just don’t have all the documents ready such as police checks or translated certificates.

What is an incomplete application?

But what is an incomplete application and how can you even submit one if it’s incomplete?

There are varying stages of incomplete.

There’s ‘incomplete’ in the sense that the application form hasn’t been completed fully – this will show up in your ImmiAccount as ‘incomplete’ or there is the incomplete in the sense that you haven’t uploaded all the required documents. Furthermore there is also incomplete in the sense that you haven’t uploaded all the ‘optional’ documents that support your claim that you’re in a genuine relationship.

What can you do to avoid incomplete applications?

Paper applications

I generally don’t recommend paper applications because it’s slow and there are other variables that could delay the application but if you don’t have everything ready in the application pack then you won’t send it off. This is a sure fire way for you to double-check, then triple-check that everything is included before you send it off.

Use a checklist, tracking worksheet to organise an online application

If only you had some way of organising all your files and documents on your computer….

If only you could track the progress of where everything is and at what stage you’re at….

There is! Excel spreadsheets! You’ll only need a few to keep track of your records and then have a dedicated folder on your hard drive for storing your documents.

Excel spreadsheets are simple to create and if you don’t have a copy of Microsoft Excel you can use the free office suite Libre Office or an even more common free alternative: Google Sheets.


Or you could get them already pre-made, formatted and instructions included with the checklists and worksheets that come with my book.


Partner Visa Checklist-and-workflow


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Australian partner visa guides download 2019