Visiting or moving to Australia
If you have diabetes and plan on moving to or visiting Australia, health services support will depend on your home country.
Before travelling to Australia ask your doctor for a medical summary of your diabetes management and care plan. This letter will give your new health professionals in Australia a history of your diabetes management. For more information on the product amounts you may bring into Australia, as well as supporting medical documentation, please visit the Australian Border Force website.
Are you a visitor from a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement?
If you are a visitor to Australia from a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), you may be entitled to temporary registration with the NDSS.
These countries include Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
However, visitors on a student visa from Finland, Malta, Norway and the Republic of Ireland are not eligible. See further information at visiting from a non-RHCA country.
For more information, visit the Department of Human Services website.
Apply for a Medicare card
If you are eligible for health services in Australia under an RHCA—once you arrive in Australia—you will need to apply for an Australian Medicare card.
During your stay, your Medicare card:
- covers some of your costs for medical care
- allows you to purchase prescription medications at a lower price through pharmacies.
During your stay in Australia, if you see a medical professional (such as a doctor), a Medicare card may cover some of your costs for medical care. A doctor will provide you with a prescription for diabetes medication, such as insulin. You can purchase prescription medications at a lower price through pharmacies. More information on medication costs can be found on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) website.
Register with the NDSS
Once you have a Medicare number, an NDSS registration form can be completed. Your registration form will need to be signed by a registered Australian medical practitioner such as a doctor, an endocrinologist or obstetrician, or by a diabetes educator.
Registering with the NDSS gives you access to subsidised diabetes products such as blood glucose test strips, needles and syringes.
After your registration with the NDSS is processed, you will be provided with an NDSS registration number and card.
Where do I get products?
In all states and territories, you can get NDSS subsidised products from an Access Point. Many community pharmacies are NDSS Access Points, as are some health centres, clinics and hospitals.
You can find your closest product Access Point by:
- searching our Online Services Directory
- or calling the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588
Read more about NDSS products.
How much medication and equipment should I bring with me?
Registering with the NDSS may take some time after you arrive in Australia. We encourage you to carry enough supplies to make sure you can continue to manage your diabetes. For more information on the product amounts you may bring into Australia, and supporting medical documentation, please visit the Australian Border Force website.
Please note that the NDSS does not cover insulin, lancets and other products that you may be need to manage your diabetes. These products can be purchased, either at full retail price or under relevant subsidies, if using a prescription. For this reason, we encourage you to have comprehensive travel insurance which may help in reimbursing the cost of these items. If you are emigrating to Australia, you may also want to explore private health insurance options in Australia to help manage these ongoing costs.
Insulin pump consumables
If you require insulin pump consumables (IPCs), you will also need to complete a form to determine your eligibility for access to subsidised IPCs.
Find out more about accessing insulin pump consumables.
Visiting from a non-RHCA country
Are you visiting or moving from a country with which Australia does not have an RHCA, or on a visa not covered by the Agreements? If yes, you are not eligible for a Medicare card and are, therefore, unable to register on the NDSS.
Products you may need to purchase will only be available at retail price or via prescription from an Australian health professional. Prices for these are set by the individual pharmacy and as such, we cannot provide any cost estimates.
We encourage you to have comprehensive travel insurance when coming to Australia. You may be able to claim reimbursement for the cost of the items you purchase while in Australia. If you are emigrating, you may also wish to explore private health insurance options in Australia.