Skip links and keyboard navigation

Healthcare for Overseas Visitors


For the most up-to-date information refer to the Human Services website, or phone medicare on 132011.

Essential medical treatment at a hospital

If you receive essential medical treatment as a public patient in a public hospital, you won't be charged for any treatment or accommodation. Simply show your passport or reciprocal health care card to staff when you arrive at the hospital.

If you elect to be treated as a private patient in a public hospital or as a private patient in a private hospital, you will be charged for both medical treatment and accommodation. These fees can't be claimed from Medicare.

Overseas students

If you are in Australia on a student visa from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy or New Zealand, you are covered by Medicare. Students from Norway, Finland, Malta and the Republic of Ireland are not covered by the agreements with those countries.

Note: With the exception of students from Belgium, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden it is a condition of your student visa that you take out Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

Reciprocal health care agreements

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy. These agreements entitle you to some subsidised health services for essential medical treatment while visiting Australia.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements cover treatment that is medically essential. This means any ill-health or injury which occurs while you are in Australia and requires treatment before you return home.

As a resident of one of these countries, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy, you are entitled to the following health or injury treatments while you are in Australia:

  • free treatment as a public in-patient or out-patient in a public hospital
  • subsidised medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital treatment provided by a doctor.

Residents of the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand are entitled to:

  • services as a public patient in a public hospital (including outpatient services) for medically necessary treatment medicines available on prescription which are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at the general rate.



Last updated: Monday, June 27, 2016