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When can I access Medicare?

Managing Associate (Lawyer)
August 28, 2023
minute read

This is a question many of our clients ask, and we understand it is important to assist you and your family. Your Australian Migration Lawyer can also provide guidance on how your status may impact your entitlements.  

If you are an Australian citizen/permanent resident

Absolutely you can access Medicare by proving you live in Australia. Australian citizens only have to re-enrol in Medicare if you have lived overseas for more than 5 years and Australian permanent residents need to re-enrol if they lived overseas for more than 12 months.

If you have applied for a Parent visa

Normally, you can enjoy Medicare benefits once your parent visa is granted. However, there are some exceptions where you may be eligible to enrol in Medicare while your application is assessed. These exceptions apply to applicants who:

  • Have applied for subclass 804/103/143/864, are from a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) country and meet the conditions of that country, or
  • Previously held a Contributory Parent (temporary) visas (subclass 173/884)

Note: RHCA countries include Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

If you have applied for a permanent residency (except for a parent visa) or permanent protection visa

This category includes applicants of combined partner visas (subclass 309/100 or 820/801).

You can apply to Medicare from:

  • The date you applied for permanent residency, or
  • The date you arrived in Australia to live.

To be eligible for Medicare, you must meet one of these requirements:

  • Have a visa allowing you to work, or
  • Have a parent, spouse or child who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen living in Australia.

Note: you can stay enrolled in Medicare in the circumstances where your permanent resident application fails, and you lodge an appeal.

If you hold a temporary visa covered by a Ministerial Order

You can register on Medicare on the date you have a valid temporary visa (covered by one of these Ministerial Orders):

  • Fulbright scholars
  • Witness Protection (Trafficking) Temporary visa (subclass 787)
  • De facto partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • Support for Victims of People Trafficking Program
  • Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (subclass 786)
  • Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173, 143, 884, 864)
  • Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785)
  • Removal Pending Bridging visa (subclass 070)
  • Unauthorised maritime arrivals holding a Bridging E (Class WE) visa
  • Humanitarian Stay (temporary) visa (subclass 449) for Afghanistan
  • Secondary Movement Offshore Entry visa XB (subclass 447)
  • Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790)
  • Skilled Work Regional Provisional visa (subclass 491)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Provisional visa (subclass 494).

If you visit Australia and are from RHCA country

You are entitled to enrol in Medicare on the date you arrive in Australia if you meet the criteria.

You can check your eligibility by visiting this link

If you are a New Zealand citizen

You can enrol in Medicare any time in the 6 months after your first arrival if you:

  • Have lived in Australia for 6 months or more in the last 12 months, or
  • Live in Australia and have applied for permanent residence.

Note: If you are citizen/permanent resident of Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island or Lord Howe Island, you are also entitled to Medicare.


Free consultation

If you are interested in moving to Australia, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a free consultation.


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