Health care planning

How to make sure you stay healthy and can access health care when you’re travelling or living overseas.

Be COVID-19 safe

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations help you stay safe from COVID-19. To leave Australia or return home, you’ll need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.

Make sure you have an Australian International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate before you go. If you haven’t been able to return to Australia since the pandemic began, you may need to show different proof of vaccination when returning home.

While you’re overseas, it’s important to do your best to stay safe from COVID-19. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller website has information about COVID-19 and travel. Smartraveller also lists COVID-19 restrictions and warnings as part of its advice based on your destination.

Get international travel vaccines

You may need other vaccinations to travel. Ask your doctor about any vaccinations you may need for the country you’re travelling to. The Smartraveller website also has information on vaccinations you may need to travel.

Your vaccination provider will add vaccines you get in Australia to the Australian Immunisation Register so they’re on your immunisation history statement. You can use this as proof you’ve been vaccinated against specific diseases to enter some countries. You can also carry a printed copy with you.

You can view immunisation history statements online for you or your child under 14. You’ll need to register for a Medicare online account through myGov first.

If you were vaccinated overseas, we can help you get proof for future use when you come home.

If you’re not eligible for Medicare or a DVA benefit we may still be able to help you. Read about Individual Healthcare Identifiers and how you can use them to get proof of vaccinations.

Get travel insurance to help with health care

If you’re in another country and you need medical care, Medicare won’t cover you. It’s important to consider getting travel insurance, which can help you cover medical costs while you’re outside Australia. It’s also important to read the product disclosure statement of your insurance to ensure you’ve got coverage for what you need, such as Pandemic cover.

We have reciprocal health care agreements with 11 countries that mean you may get medically necessary care in their public hospitals. Even when travelling to these countries, you should get travel insurance.

Take your Medicare card and passport with you if you visit a hospital overseas to prove you’re eligible for reciprocal health care.

Organise your PBS medicines

There are strict rules on travelling overseas with Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicine. You can carry your own for personal use, or for someone travelling with you. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor to make sure the medicine is legal in the country you're going to

Page last updated: 4 December 2023.
QC 61750