Medicare card

How to enrol or re-enrol

Enrol to get a Medicare card and claim Medicare benefits.

Before you start

To enrol or re-enrol, all people older than 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.

What information you need to enrol

You’ll need to provide documents to prove your identity and residency. The documents you need to give us are different depending on your circumstances.

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

If you’re a permanent resident

You need to give us a:

  • passport, travel document or Immicard, and
  • visa from the Department of Home Affairs confirming permanent residency

We need this information for each person you want to enrol.

If you're a permanent residency applicant

You need to give us a:

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

We need this information for each person you want to enrol.

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
  • a permanent resident, or
  • a 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

If the Department of Home Affairs has refused your application and you’ve lodged an appeal

You need to give us a:

  • passport, travel document or Immicard
  • valid visa and
  • evidence that an appeal has been lodged, or
  • evidence that a request for Ministerial Intervention has been lodged

We need this information for each person re-enrolling.

If you’re visiting Australia

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

If you’re a New Zealand citizen

You need to give us a:

  • passport or travel document
  • 2 documents confirming you’re living in Australia

We need this information for each person enrolling. If you’re enrolling as a family, we need 2 residency documents per family.

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 or where you last lived

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

  • purchase of property and gas or electricity accounts
  • lease agreement for rental of property and gas or electricity accounts in same name or bond receipt
  • evidence of employment
  • evidence of children at school or university
  • evidence of private health insurance in Australia, opening of bank accounts, property or contents insurance

You can use the following documents to prove you’re no longer living in New Zealand or where you last lived:

  • sale of property – sale agreement
  • cessation of lease agreement for rental property
  • termination of employment – acceptance of resignation by employer
  • transit documents for household goods and or furniture
  • closure of bank accounts
  • cancellation of health, property or contents insurance

You can enrol anytime in the 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 you don’t have enough documents after 6 months, you can provide a Commonwealth statutory declaration. You need to provide it with the documents you do have. You must say why you can’t provide the required documents. An example is you have a fly-in fly-out contract with an Australian employer. In this example, you would need to provide the name of your Australian employer.

If you're 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

If you’re enrolling as a family, you need 2 residency documents per family.

Documents from another country Documents from Australia

Sale of property – sale agreement

Cessation of lease agreement for rental property

Termination of employment – acceptance of resignation by employer

Transit documents for household goods and or furniture

Closure of bank accounts

Cancellation of health, property or contents insurance

Purchase of property and gas or electricity accounts

Lease agreement for rental of property and gas or electricity accounts in same name or bond receipt

Evidence of employment

Evidence of children at school or university

Evidence of private health insurance in Australia, opening of bank accounts, property or contents insurance

If you've adopted a child from overseas

You’ll need to give us:

  • 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

If you've adopted a child from 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 us:

  • a Voluntary Care Agreement
  • a proof of birth document
  • a letter from the adoption agency

The letter from the adoption agency should confirm:

  • you’re adopting the child
  • the name and date of birth of the child
  • the adoptive parents details
  • the child needs a Medicare card

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

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

Adoption is finalised

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

  • the birth certificate
  • a document confirming the adoption
  • the Medicare card of adoptive parents

If you're an Australian citizen

If you’ve never been enrolled and haven’t been living overseas, you’ll 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 Home Affairs confirming your migration status

Residency documents

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

  • lease agreement for rental of property and gas or electricity accounts in same name or bond receipt
  • evidence of employment
  • evidence of children at school or university
  • evidence of private health insurance in Australia, bank accounts, property or contents insurance

Indigenous Australians

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.

How to apply

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

Submit your application

You need to give us:

  • your completed 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 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

The postal address is on the form.

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.

Page last updated: 9 November 2018