Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a requirement for the Student Visa (subclass 500). As with many temporary visas, Australia requires the visa holder to have health insurance to cover their time in Australia. OSHC exists due to an arrangement between the Australian Government and some registered health insurers and cover visits to the doctor, some public hospital insurance treatment, ambulance cover and limited pharmaceuticals for the student visa holder and some family members, namely spouses/de facto partners and children under 18.

Exemptions may apply to you if you are,

  • A Endeavour Award holder
  • Sponsored by DFAT, Defence
  • Or a citizen of:
    • Sweden
    • Norway
    • Belgium

If no exemption applies, the applicant must provide evidence of OSHC cover. Overseas health or travel insurance is not considered to be sufficient for the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA).

  • Evidence of payment for OSHC
  • OSHC must cover the period of the student’s intended stay
  • Students applying for a further student visa must show evidence that OSHC will cover the new proposed period of stay
  • Cover does not need to be combined, an applicant can choose to take out separate health insurance policies for the members of their family unit


How to get OSHC

You can get OSHC directly from the OSHC provider of your choice. Otherwise, your education provider may handle OSHC for you by collecting OSHC premiums with their approved OSHC provider of their choice. Do note that from July 2016 OSHC will not be recorded on Certificates of Enrollment (COE) documents. In such cases you will need to provide evidence separately that OSHC has been paid for.

Some common providers include:

These health insurance providers offer essentials as well as more comprehensive OSHC options. They also offer coverage for yourself and secondary applicants being your accompanying family members. Be reminded that your family members can obtain insurance separately instead of a packaged deal if that is what suits your needs.


Period of cover

Start date

You might think that the start and end dates are the dates on which you commence and end your studies but this is not the case. For applicants who are in Australia, the start date should begin at least a week before the date of course commencement. For applicants outside of Australia, the student should have OSHC that begins on or before the date of their visa grant. If you are granted your Student 500 visa and you enter into Australia on a date that is before the date your health insurance kicks in, you will be in breach of Condition 8501 which will make you liable for visa cancellation and hurt your visa history.


End date

The end date for OSHC should be until the end of the visa holders intended full period of study. In the situation where the student is taking on a packaged course, the end date for their OSHC should be at the end of their entire packaged or combined course.



Exempt citizens

Students who are exempt from OSHC are those who are from countries that have governmental level agreements with Australia.

  • Belgian students are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement between Australia and Belgium and as such, are not required to take out OSHC
  • Norwegian students are provided with adequate health insurance by the Norwegian government (National Insurance Scheme) and do not need to enrol in OSHC
  • Swedish students who take out health insurance with Kammarkollegiet (the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administration Agency) do not need to take out OSHC. Evidence of this must be provided in the application. Swedish students not covered by Kammarkollegiet must get OSHC cover in Australia

Do note that whilst students from Sweden were previously able to take out health insurance with CSN International (the Swedish National Board of Student Aid), this is no longer eligible in satisfying DOHA health insurance requirements for the Student 500 visa.


Endeavour award holders

The Department of Education (DET) arranges OSHC for the duration of the Endeavour Award students stay. A letter from the DET that makes reference to this needs to be provided.


Foreign affairs students

DFAT pays for OSHC for the student visa applicant but not their family members. The DOHA will accept the DFAT letter of offer as evidence for OSHC however the visa applicant’s family members will need to get their OSHC separately.


Defence sponsored students

Defence supported students and accompanying family members are not required to obtain OSHC. The letter of support from Defence, or the Confirmation of Defence Student Sponsorship letter is enough evidence of health insurance.


Other situations

Reciprocal health care arrangements

Australia has reciprocal health agreements (RHCA) with New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia and Malta.

Except Belgian students, students who are covered by an RHCA must still obtain OSHC and maintain it for the duration of their visa. Any cover that is already provided by RHCA will be in addition to OSHC.


Related articles

Read: Student Visas Get A Makeover

Read: Student 500 Visa: Enrolment & Packaged Courses

Read: Student Visa (Subclass 500): Financial Capacity Requirement

Read: Student Visa (Subclass 500): Partner and Child Dependents

Read: Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement for Student Visas, Assessed by the DIBP and Your Educational Institute?

Read: Applying For A Student Visa As An Unlawful Citizen?

Read: Student 500 Visa : Condition 8105 – No More Than 40 Hours Per Fortnight? More Complicated Than You Think

Read: Student Visa, Tips and Updates

Read: Australian Study Requirement


Are you confused about the requirements of the Student 500 visa or want to learn more about what the period required of OSHC is for you? Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online. We have processes numerous successful student visas, even for those who have recently failed in a prior visa application.