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Why is an Australian Values Statement being introduced?

The Australian government wishes to encourage new residents to learn as much as they can about their new country, its heritage, language, customs, values and way of life and to apply for Australian citizenship when they become eligible.

The government believes it is in the best interests of new residents as well as the broader community to help people settling in Australia to become an integral part of Australian society as soon as possible.

When will the new requirements come into effect?

The new requirements will take effect from 15 October 2007.

Will I have to sign a values statement?

From 15 October 2007, all applicants aged 18 years and over are required to sign a values statement when applying for selected visas. The statement requires applicants to confirm that they will respect the Australian way of life and obey the laws of Australia before being granted a visa.

For most visa applicants the Australian Values Statement is included in the application form. There are two different versions of the values statement. The version of the values statement applicants sign depends on the visa they are applying for.

All provisional, permanent and a small number of temporary visa applicants are required to have read, or had explained to them, information provided by the Australian government before signing the values statement. This information is contained in the Life in Australia book.

For temporary visa applicants the Australian Values Statement is included in the general declaration section on their application form.

People currently outside Australia who are applying for a Humanitarian visa are required to sign the values statement at interview. These applicants will not be expected to have read the Life in Australia book, as the contents of the book will be explained to them at interview. This different process recognises the difficult circumstances often faced by Humanitarian visa applicants outside Australia.

There is a small group of visas that do not require the Australian Values Statement. This group includes and is not limited to:

  • Visitor visas
  • New Zealand citizens entering Australian on a special category visa

To find out more about the Australian Values Statement requirement for a particular visa:
See: Values Statement Visa Selector

What are the Australian values?

Australian values include:

  • respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual
  • equality of men and women
  • freedom of religion
  • commitment to the rule of law
  • support for Parliamentary democracy
  • a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play, compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good
  • equal opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background

Although these values may be expressed differently by different people, their meaning stays the same. The values may not be unique to Australia, but they have broad community agreement and underpin Australian society and culture.

The Life in Australia book contains information about Australian history, culture and social structures. It is designed to help you understand Australian values before you sign the values statement on your visa application.
See:
Life in Australia book
Australian Values Statement – Provisional and Permanent
Australian Values Statement – Temporary

What is the Australian Values Statement?

The Australian Values Statement requires all applicants to confirm that they will respect Australian values and obey Australian laws.

Provisional and permanent visa applicants

Applicants for permanent visas and provisional visas that lead to permanent residence will also be indicating that they have read, or had explained to them, material made available by the department on life in Australia and understand what may be required of them if they apply for Australian citizenship.

The statement is included in affected visa application forms and all applicants aged 18 years and over will be required to sign the statement. The material made available by the department is called the Life in Australia book.

See:
Australian Values Statement – Provisional and Permanent
Life in Australia book

Temporary visa applicants

For affected temporary visa applicants, the values statement is included in the general declaration section of their application form, so signing the application form means that the values statement has also been signed. These applicants will not be required to have read the Life in Australia book, but may do so if they wish.
See: Australian Values Statement – Temporary

Must I sign the Australian Values Statement if I have signed it for a previous application?

From 15 October 2007, to meet the values statement requirement, you are required to sign a values statement each and every time you make a visa application. This may mean that you will be required to sign a values statement on a number of occasions.

What happens if I don't sign the values statement?

From 15 October, all visa applicants (including main applicants and dependant applicants) aged 18 years and over are required to sign a values statement as part of the visa application process for affected visas.

If you do not sign a values statement, your application may be delayed or, in some cases, refused. An exception can be considered only in compelling circumstances.

See:
Australian Values Statement
Life in Australia book
Values Statement Visa Selector

How does the values statement work for online applications?

Whether the application is made online, or using a paper form, the values statement will still apply. If you are applying online, you will be required to select a button to indicate either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the values statement.

If you have dependant family members attached to an electronic application and they are over 18 years of age, they must understand that the values statement applies to them, and advise you that they agree with the values statement requirement. When you select the values statement button, you and your dependant applicants are indicating that you agree with the values statement.

If I applied for a visa before 15 October 2007 and my application has not been decided yet, do I have to sign the Australian Values Statement?

No, the new requirement will only apply if you apply for a visa on or after 15 October 2007.

What if I know someone who is unable to read the Life in Australia book?

If someone you know has difficulty, or is unable to read the Life in Australia book, a friend or family member can explain the contents of the book to them. Alternatively, they may have the content of the book explained to them by their sponsor or their agent if they have one, or by a departmental officer.
See:
Life in Australia Book
Life in Australia Book Order Form

What if I use an old application form that does not contain the Australian Values Statement?

You must use the current form for that visa application at the time you lodge the application.

All affected visa application forms are updated to coincide with the introduction of the Australian Values Statement, and are available from all departmental offices and this website.
See: Forms and Booklets

Last modified Wednesday 27 August 2014