How to enrol or re-enrol in Medicare

Enrol to get a Medicare card and Medicare benefits.

Before you start

To enrol or re-enrol, all people over the age of 15 must visit a service centre.

You should:

The way to enrol a newborn is different. Read about adding a newborn to your Medicare card.

Information you need to enrol

You’ll need your bank account details. This is so we can pay your Medicare benefits directly into your account.

We’ll need other information if you’re:

  • a permanent resident
  • applying for permanent residency
  • visiting Australia
  • a New Zealand citizen living in Australia
  • an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident returning to live in Australia
  • enrolling an adopted child
  • an Australian citizen who’s never been enrolled

Permanent residents

For each person you want to enrol, you need to give us a:

  • passport, travel document or Immicard, and
  • visa from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirming permanent residency

Permanent residency applicants

For each person you want to enrol, you need to give us a:

  • passport, travel document or Immicard
  • valid visa, and
  • proof from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection you’ve submitted a valid permanent residency application

This includes you if you’ve applied for a combined spouse visa 309/100 or 820/801. You’re eligible for Medicare the date you applied for permanent residency, not the date your temporary visa 820 was granted. If you applied outside Australia, you’re eligible the date you arrived in Australia.

If your visa doesn’t let you work in Australia, you must prove you have a relationship with a parent, spouse or child who’s an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen who lives in Australia. This proof can be a:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate
  • joint bank or utility account statement, or
  • proof you own a home together

Visitors

The documents you need to give depend on where you’re from. Read more about Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.

New Zealand citizens

You need to visit a service centre with your:

How to confirm you’re living in Australia

You’ll need to provide original or certified copies of:

  • 2 Australian documents, or
  • 1 Australian document and 1 document proving you’re no longer living in New Zealand

You can use the following to confirm you’re living in Australia:

  • a work contract
  • TAFE or university enrolment
  • a rental or lease agreement or bond receipt
  • a bank statement
  • proof your child’s enrolled in Australian childcare or school
  • private health insurance
  • property or contents insurance
  • a gas, electricity, water or rates account

You can use any of the following documents to prove you’re no longer living in New Zealand:

  • proof you sold your home
  • proof you ceased your lease
  • evidence you’re no longer working in New Zealand
  • a document proving you moved your belongings to Australia
  • a statement showing you closed your bank account
  • proof you cancelled health, property or contents insurance

You can enrol anytime in the next 6 months after you first arrive in Australia. This gives you some time to make sure you have all your documents.

Until you’re enrolled, you’re covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement. This covers you for medically necessary treatment in a public hospital as a public inpatient or outpatient. You won’t be enrolled or get a Medicare card until you prove you’re living in Australia.

If after 6 months, you don’t have enough documents, you can provide a Commonwealth statutory declaration with the documents you have.

You must say why you can’t provide the documents. An example is you have a fly-in fly-out contract with an Australian employer - if so, provide the name of your Australian employer.

Returning to Australia to live

You can enrol if you’re:

  • an Australian citizen, returning to live in Australia after 5 years or more overseas
  • a New Zealand citizen, returning to live in Australia after 12 months or more overseas, or
  • a permanent resident, returning to live in Australia after 12 months or more overseas

For each person enrolling you’ll need to give us a:

  • passport, and
  • previous Medicare card number, if they had one

Let us know if you had a card, but don’t have it anymore.

You also need to give us 2 residency documents. They can be:

  • 2 Australian documents, or
  • 1 Australian document and 1 from where you last lived
Documents from another country Documents from Australia
Proof you sold your property Rental or lease agreement
Proof you ended your lease Bond receipt
Proof you ended your job Proof of your job
Proof you moved household goods or furniture Proof your child’s in school or childcare
A statement showing you closed your bank account A statement from your bank or health, property or contents insurance
Proof you cancelled health, property or contents insurance Gas, electricity, water or rates statement

Children adopted from overseas

You’ll need to give us:

  • a completed Medicare enrolment application form
  • your child’s passport, travel document or Immicard
  • proof of adoption or that you’re adopting the child, and
  • your Medicare card

You’ll also need your child’s:

  • permanent resident visa, or
  • temporary visa and proof you’ve applied for a permanent resident visa

Children adopted in Australia

You need to give us different documents depending on if your adoption process is in progress or finalised.

Adoption is in progress

If the adoption hasn’t been finalised, you’ll need to give:

  • a Voluntary Care Agreement
  • a letter from the adoption agency confirming:
    • you’re adopting the child
    • the name and date of birth of the child
    • the adoptive parents details
    • the child needs a Medicare card
  • a proof of birth document

If the adoption is in progress, the child will have their own Medicare card and can have your family name on the card. Once the adoption is final, you can add your child to your family Medicare card using your child’s new legal name - the name on the adoption papers.

If you want your child to have a name different to their legal name, adoptive parents must agree and provide a signed written request.

Adoption is finalised

If the adoption is finalised, you’ll need to give:

  • the birth certificate
  • a document confirming you adopted the child
  • the Medicare card of adoptive parents

Australian citizens

For Australian citizens who’ve never been enrolled and haven’t been living overseas, you need to give us 1 identity document and 2 residency documents:

Identity document

You need to give us 1 of the following identity documents:

  • passport
  • birth certificate or extract
  • a letter from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirming your migration status

Residency documents

You need to give us 2 of the following documents proving you live in Australia:

  • rental or lease agreement
  • bond receipt
  • proof of your job
  • proof your child is in school or childcare
  • a statement from your bank, health, property or contents insurance
  • gas electricity water or rates statement

What may be different

If you’re an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and you can’t give standard identity documents, you can complete the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicare enrolment and amendment form.

Apply

Complete a Medicare enrolment application form or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicare enrolment and amendment form.

Submit your application

You need to give us:

  • your form, and
  • other documents we’ve asked for – either originals or certified copies

You can do this at a service centre. All people on the form who are 15 years old or older need to come with you. This is because:

  • you need to prove your identity
  • you need to prove you’re in Australia

If you can’t go to a service centre

You can post your application and certified copies of documents if:

  • you live in an area far from a service centre, or
  • there’s a medical reason you can’t attend - you need to tell us why

Wait for the result

If you’re eligible, we’ll give you a Medicare number to use straight away. We’ll send your Medicare card to you in 3 to 4 weeks.

You can register for a Medicare online account through myGov.

Use the Express Plus Medicare app to get a digital copy of your Medicare card.

Page last updated: 9 November 2017