New Zealand Resident Class Visa Holders

Eligibility criteria:

A New Zealand resident who has:

  • a resident visa, or
  • a permanent resident visa,

is eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

This includes people who were granted residency before 29 November 2010, who still hold valid residence permits (these are deemed "residence class visas" along with the two listed above).

Other people, including people who arrived in New Zealand before 2 April 1974 and have been in New Zealand continuously from that date, may also be permanent residents.  They need to contact Immigration New Zealand to get proof of their residence status.

Criteria: B3, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your valid passport with a Resident Visa (or Residence Permit if issued before 29 November 2010) or Permanent Resident Visa OR
  • your Certificate of Identity issued under the Immigration Act 2009 OR
  • evidence you are currently getting a social security benefit (except Emergency Benefit) AND two forms of supporting identity documentation – one needs to have a photograph of you.

Examples of identity documents include:

  • a driver license
  • an 18+ card,
  • a community services card or SuperGold Card,
  • a school/tertiary ID card,
  • an employment contract, a rental agreement, or
  • letters addressed to you at your current address.

Requirements for these documents are waived for children. 

Note: Children aged 17 years or younger, in the care and control of a parent or legal guardian who is a New Zealand resident, are eligible for the same publicly funded health and disability services as that parent or guardian. The same applies if the adult is applying to be their adopted parent or legal guardian.

Except for maternity services, partners of people eligible for publicly funded health services must themselves meet the eligibility criteria.

New Zealand citizens (including those from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau)

Eligibility:

A New Zealand citizen (a person who has New Zealand citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1977 or the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982) is eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Criteria: B2, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your New Zealand passport OR
  • your New Zealand Birth Certificate (or Cook Island, Niue or Tokelau birth certificate) AND two forms of proof that you are the person on the birth certificate OR
  • your New Zealand Certificate of Citizenship AND two forms of supporting identity documentation – one needs to have a photograph of you OR
  • your Descent Registration Certificate AND two forms of supporting identity documentation – one needs to have a photograph of you OR
  • evidence you are currently getting a social security benefit (except emergency benefit) AND  two forms of supporting identity documentation – one needs to have a photograph of you. 

Examples of identity documents include:

  • a driver licence
  • an 18+ card
  • an employment contract, a rental agreement, or
  • letters addressed to you at your current address.

The following cards may also be used for proof of identity (but not proof of eligibility)

  • a Community Services Card or SuperGold Card
  • a school/tertiary ID card

Requirements for these documents are waived for children. 

Note: Time spent overseas does not affect New Zealand citizens' eligibility.  However, if only temporarily in New Zealand, they may not meet the requirements for primary health organisation enrolment. 

Children aged 17 years or younger, in the care and control of a parent or guardian who is a New Zealand citizen, are eligible for the same publicly funded health and disability services as their parent or guardian. Children aged 17 years or younger, in the care and control of a person applying to legally adopt them, or become their legal guardian, are also eligible.

Except for maternity services, partners of people eligible for publicly funded health and disability services must themselves meet the eligibility criteria.

Australian citizen or permanent resident who has lived, or intends to live, in NZ for two years or more

If you're not eligible under the criteria below, read information about the reciprocal health cover for Australian residents temporarily in New Zealand.

Eligibility:

Australian citizens and permanent residents who live, or are intending to live in New Zealand for two years or more are eligible for publicly funded health services. The two years is a consecutive period, counted from your first day in New Zealand.

(Note: Australian visitors to New Zealand are not entitled to publicly funded emergency transport by ambulance. This includes both non-injury and emergency transport. Similarly, New Zealand visitors to Australia are not entitled to publicly funded emergency transport by ambulance.)

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your valid Passport of your own nationality with a current resident visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of Australia. (Criteria: B6 and B7, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.)
  • proof that New Zealand will be your principal place of residence for two years or more (eg, work contract, house long-term lease, ownership, or mortgage).  The two years is counted from the date you migrated to New Zealand AND
  • either:
    • your Australian passport OR
    • your valid Passport of your own nationality with a current resident visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of Australia.

Criteria: B6 and B7, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Note: Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents not intending to stay for at least two years may be eligible for immediately necessary hospital and maternity services and pharmaceuticals. Go to Reciprocal health agreements to find out more.

Children aged 17 years or younger, whose parent, legal guardian or person applying to be their legal guardian or adoptive parent, are also eligible for publicly funded health and disability services (relevant to children whose own citizenship or immigration status does not meet the criteria).

Except for maternity services, partners of people eligible for publicly funded health and disability services must themselves meet the eligibility criteria.

Work visa holder eligible to be in NZ for two years or more

Eligibility:

A person who holds a work visa that either:

  • entitles them to remain in New Zealand for two years or more (work visas start on the person’s first day in New Zealand) OR
  • entitles them to remain in New Zealand for a period of time which, together with the time that person has already been lawfully in New Zealand immediately prior to obtaining the visa, equals or exceeds two years

is eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Criteria: B5, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider your valid passport endorsed (stamped) with a current work visa (or work permit), that:

  • entitles you to remain in New Zealand for a period that equals or exceeds two years (work visas start on the person’s first day in New Zealand) OR
  • entitles you to remain in New Zealand for a specified period of time which, together with the period of time you have already been lawfully in New Zealand (ie. on other visas/permits), allows for a total continuous stay of at least two years.

Note: Time spent lawfully in New Zealand immediately prior to the current work visa/permit counts towards the two years (ie. on a visitor or student visa/permit or another work visa/permit).

Except for maternity services, partners of people eligible for publicly funded health and disability services must themselves meet the eligibility criteria.

For more information about these eligibility criteria, go to the main Guide to eligibility page.

Recent change to calculation of visa duration

The Ministry of Health previously calculated the duration of a person’s visa exclusive of the date the visa expires. Following consideration of a complaint to the Ombudsman, this was reviewed by the Ministry and the Ministry has accepted that it was incorrect.

Any person who considers that they would have been eligible for publicly funded services if the final date of their work visa was counted towards the two-year visa requirement under clause B5 is entitled to seek a review of the previous eligibility decision by emailing eligibility@health.govt.nz.

In future, the date of the visa’s expiry will be included when calculating the duration of a work visa.

People aged 17 years or younger

Eligibility:

People aged 17 years or younger are eligible for publicly funded health services if they are in the care and control of a: parent, or legal guardian, or person in the process of legally adopting them or becoming their legal guardian, who is eligible as a:

  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (B2 and B3)
  • an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident living or planning to live in New Zealand for two years or more (B6, B7)
  • an interim visa holder (B4)
  • an work visa holder (B5)
  • refugee, protected person or victim of people trafficking (B10, B11, B12),
  • a New Zealand Aid Programme student (B13) OR
  • is in the care and control of the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children.

Criteria: B16, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.
Note: Refer to the clauses above for the conditions of the relevant criteria for parents/guardians.

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • proof that you are in the care and control of a parent, or guardian, or person who is in the process of legally adopting you or becoming your legal guardian, AND
  • proof that your parent or guardian or adopting parent is an eligible person AND
    • your passport AND proof of relationship to your parent or guardian or adopting parent OR
    • your birth certificate (to prove your age and relationship to your parent) AND supporting identity documentation to show that you are the person on that birth certificate OR
    • your birth certificate (to prove your age) and proof of guardianship or that adoption is in process AND supporting identity documentation to show that you are the person on that birth certificate. 

Examples of identity documentation include:

  • a driver licence
  • a school/tertiary ID card
  • an employment contract, a rental agreement, or
  • letters addressed to you at your current address.

Note: Except for maternity services, partners of people eligible for publicly funded health and disability services must themselves meet the eligibility criteria.

Interim visa

Eligibility:

Interim visa holders are eligible if, immediately prior to their interim visa, they were eligible for publicly funded health and disability services (ie. under other criteria). 

Criteria: B4, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your interim visa letter AND
  • an immigration history from Immigration NZ detailing the visas/permits you have been issued and the time you have spent in NZ on those visas/permits AND
  • supporting identity documentation to prove that you are the person on those letters. 

Examples of identity documents include:

  • a driver's licence
  • a school/tertiary ID card
  • an employment contract, a rental agreement, or
  • letters addressed to you at your current address.

Requirements for these identity documents can be waived for young children. 

Note: Dependent children (aged 17 years or younger) of eligible interim visa holders are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services, provided they can show that it is their parent, legal guardian, adopting parent, or person applying to become their legal guardian who is the eligible interim visa holder.

Partners of eligible interim visa holders must themselves meet the eligibility criteria to be eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Pregnant partners of eligible interim visa holders may be eligible for maternity-related services (only), if not already eligible in their own right. They must be able to provide proof of their partnership with the eligible person. For more information, go to maternity services.

NZ Aid Programme student receiving Official Development Assistance funding

Eligibility

Students:

Students are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services if they are studying in New Zealand under the New Zealand Aid Programme, and receiving Official Development Assistance funding via a New Zealand Government Scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Criteria: B13, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Family members:

Children in the care and control of a parent or guardian who meets the criteria above (clause B13, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011) are also eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Criteria: B16, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Partners of people who meet the criteria above (clause B13, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011) are also eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Criteria: B20, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility

Students:

If you are the recipient of the New Zealand Government Scholarship, you will need to show your health service provider:

  • your valid passport with current student permit and
  • a letter of scholarship offer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, signed by you.

Family members:

To prove eligibility of a child or partner of the recipient of the New Zealand Government Scholarship, you will need to show your health service provider:

  • proof of the scholarship recipient's eligibility and
  • the approval letter received from Immigration New Zealand, confirming the family member's application for a visa as a dependent of a recipient of a New Zealand Government Scholarship through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Commonwealth scholarship student

Eligibility

Students who are studying in New Zealand under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, funded by a New Zealand university, are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services. 

Criteria: B14, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Students who are studying in New Zealand under a Commonwealth Scholarship, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the New Zealand Aid Programme, are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Criteria: B13 and B14, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility

Students:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your valid passport with a student permit and
  • documents that indicate that you are studying in New Zealand on the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan or
  • a letter of scholarship offer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, signed by you.

Family members:

Partners and children of students studying under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, funded by a New Zealand university, are not eligible unless they meet the eligibility criteria in their own right.

Foreign language teaching assistant

Eligibility:

Foreign language teaching assistants funded by the Ministry of Education's Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship Scheme are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Criteria: B15, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your valid Passport with a work visa AND
  • a letter from Future Learning Solutions / Auckland UniServices Ltd confirming you are participating on this scheme. If you are participating in this scheme and do not yet have the required letter please email fls.languages@uniservices.co.nz

Refugees and protected persons

Eligibility:

Refugees and protected persons, applicants for refugee and protection status, and people appealing against refusal of refugee or protection status are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services. Victims and suspected victims of people trafficking offences are also eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

The person must have:

  • applied for refugee or protection status and be awaiting a decision, OR
  • been granted refugee or protection status, OR
  • appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal against refusal of refugee status and be awaiting a decision OR
  • be a victim or a suspected victim of a people trafficking offence.

Criteria: B10, B11 and B12, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider proof of your refugee or protection status. This will be:

  • a letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming that you have been recognised as a refugee or protected person, OR
  • a recent letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming that you have a current application for refugee or protection status, OR
  • a recent letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming that you have an appeal before the Immigration and Protection Tribunal for refugee or protection status OR
  • confirmation from the Police stating that the person is a victim or a suspected victim of a people trafficking offence. 

You will also need to show proof that you are the person in the letter. This might be:

  • your Refugee Travel Document issued under the Passport Act 1992, OR
  • your Certificate of Identity issued under the Immigration Act 1987.

Note: The type or length of visa held is not relevant to these criteria.   

A person whose appeal against refusal of refugee status has been declined by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal is not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services. Appeals to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal for other reasons (eg, removal from New Zealand) do not satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Children in the care and control of people in this category are dealt with under People aged 17 years or younger.

Except for maternity services, partners of people eligible for publicly funded health and disability services must themselves meet the eligibility criteria.