Healthcare when you are on a visa

Paying for Healthcare Services

New Zealand’s public health system is subsidised by the government, but there may be part-charges for services when private providers are involved.

You qualify for subsidised care if you:

  • are a citizen,
  • are a resident or
  • hold a work visa valid for two years or more

If you meet these criteria, then your children aged 17 years or under will also be eligible for publicly funded health care.
If you’re on an a work visa that’s for less than two years, you’ll need to pay for your healthcare, as and when you need it.
Non-residents can also use healthcare services at a cost.

There is no compulsory health insurance or ‘Medicaid’ type schemes in New Zealand with most health provision being funded through general taxation (around one of every three tax dollars paid to central Government is spent in this area). Increasingly however more New Zealanders have some sort of general or surgery specific private health insurance through choice.
Non-residents should get medical insurance from their home country.

For injuries resulting from an accident, treatment is free. That covers any accident, not just road crashes, and even if the person who is injured caused the accident.
There are some exceptions to these rules, so check all the details on the Ministry of Health eligibility page.

Dental care is free for eligible children up to 18 years of age. Adults have to pay privately for most dental services. There are no fixed or recommended fees so the Ministry of Health recommends that you always ask about the fees for the treatment you need, and be prepared to shop around.