You must live in Australia or Norfolk Island to get a Medicare card.
And, you must be either:
- an Australian citizen
- a New Zealand citizen
- an Australian permanent resident
- applying for permanent residency - conditions apply
- covered by a Ministerial Order, or
- a Resident Return visa holder
You may also get a Medicare card if you’re visiting from a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement country.
If you live on an Australian dependency island
You’re eligible for Medicare services you get in Australia if you can give us evidence you’re a citizen or permanent resident of:
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- Christmas Island
- Lord Howe Island
If you live in Australia and have a visa
If you live in Australia and have applied for permanent residency, you may get a Medicare card.
- be on a visa allowing you to work, or
- prove your parent, spouse or child is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen living in Australia
This doesn’t include applying for a parent visa. Applicants for parent visas may be eligible for Medicare if they’re from a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement country and meet eligibility criteria. If you’ve applied for a Contributory parent visa you may get a Medicare card. If you’ve applied directly for the permanent Contributory visa without holding the temporary Contributory visa you’re not eligible until your permanent Contributory visa is granted.
If you adopt a child from overseas
If you adopt a child from overseas, you can add them to your card if:
- they hold a permanent resident visa, and
- you have a letter proving the adoption is finalised
If you adopt a child from Australia
If you adopt a child from Australia, you can add them to your card if you have:
- their birth certificate,
- a letter proving the adoption is finalised, and
- your Medicare card
When you’re visiting Australia
You may get a Medicare card if you visit Australia from a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement country.
Some of your costs for medically necessary care may be covered during your stay.
You may be eligible if you live in a country that Australia has an agreement with and meet the agreement conditions.
Read more about Reciprocal Health Care Agreements.
You can get a Medicare card if you’re a New Zealand citizen and you:
- have lived in Australia for 6 months or more, in the last 12 months - this can be all at once or in separate visits
- intend to stay in Australia for 6 months or more, in the next 12 months - this can be all at once or in separate visits, or
- are living in Australia and have applied for permanent residency