One of the many requirements for the 820/801 Partner Visa is to meet minimum Australian health standards, as assessed by an official health check or health assessment. This is conducted at a Home Affairs-approved medical clinic and involves a series of tests (the exact nature of which are based on personal factors, such as your country of origin and your medical history) that will determine whether you are fit to become a permanent resident of Australia.
Everyone submitting a Partner Visa application will need to complete a health check— but considering that the global processing time for Parter Visas is around 2 years and the health examination results are only valid for 1 year, most people wait to submit their health assessment either until it’s been requested by their Case Officer or until several months have passed since they first submitted (I completed my health check 6 months after submitting my application). Either way, here’s everything you need to know about the health requirements in Australia, organising an offical health examination, and what to expect during your assessment.
Read my whole series on applying for the 820/801 Australian Partner Visa for more information about preparing your evidence, lodging your application, and the next steps. If you’re just beginning, start with this post to get an overview (and to read about our story). And, as always, please remember that I am not a migration agent or affiliated with Home Affairs in any way, so all the information provided in these posts and in the comments below is based entirely on my own experience and my own understanding of the application process.
About the health requirements in Australia
Because Australia has such a high standard of health (and of public health care), there are some minimum health requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to have your Partner Visa approved. The purpose of these health requirements is to limit the spread of communicable disease within Australia (particularly tuberculosis) and to reduce the financial burden on Medicare.
This is not to say that you’ll be immediately turned away if you have any health conditions at all, but serious diseases might affect the outcome of your visa. See the offical Home Affairs site or the last section of this post for more information about what happens if you fail to meet the health requirements.
How to organise your health examination
The easiest way to organise your health examination is through your submitted Partner Visa:
- After logging in to your Immi Account, you should see your submitted Partner Visa application on the “My Applications” homepage.
- Click View Details just below your application.
- This will take you to a page that says “Application Home” and shows the application history for your visa (e.g. the date you submitted, etc). On the lefthand menu, click Health Assessment. Under “Examinations required”, click the link that says Organise health examinations.
- Within the eMedical system, you’ll be asked a series of questions about your health. These include questions about your medical history, whether you’ve been exposed to any communicable diseases, whether you’re taking any medications, etc.
- Once all of your information is complete, you’ll be able to print off an eMedical referral letter. This is a PDF that includes your HAP ID number, personal details, outlines all the medical examinations you’re required to undergo, and has a copy of your responses to the health questionnaire. Using this information, you can now book a visa medical appointment with BUPA Medical Visa Services.
- On the BUPA Medical Visa Services homepage, click Make an appointment. Select the type of booking (e.g. individual or family) and then enter your postcode to find an authorised medical centre near you. Select whichever location you’d prefer from the list and click Next.
- Based on the information in your eMedical referral letter, select all of the examinations that you are required to complete.
- On the “Applicant details” page, fill out your information as stated on the eMedical referral letter. For instance, my referral letter specified my “client visa details” as “BS 801 Spouse (Permanent)”, so I selected 801 – Partner from the dropdown list rather than 820 – Partner (Provisional). Also, if you’re struggling to find your HAP ID number, it’s right under the barcode in the upper right hand corner of your eMedical referral letter (see where it says HAP in the photo below?). Follow instructions to complete your booking (you’ll make the actual appointment in the next step).
- Within a few hours, BUPA will email you a Visa Medical Appointment Booking with information about how to finalise the appointment. Typically this involves ringing the medical centre and providing them with details from your eMedical referral letter. They will also let you know how much the assessment costs (for reference, mine was $380). Finally, you’ll receive an email from the medical centre confirming your exact appointment time and details!
What to expect at your health examination
What to bring to your appointment
- Your printed eMedical referral letter (they are really picky about this being printed and not just a PDF on your phone)
- Your passport (not a scan, but your actual passport)
- Cash or credit card to pay for your appointment
- Any relevant medical documents, like specialist reports about a health condition
My experience with the health examinations
Different applicants might be required to complete different health examinations based on their specific medical history, but just for your reference, I completed the Medical Examination (501), Chest X-ray Examination (502), and HIV test (707). Here’s what my health assessment experience was like:
I arrived to the clinic early and probably spent a total of 2.5hrs there, although very little of this was actually with a doctor or a technician (yes, expect lots of waiting). After showing my passport and eMedical referral letter to the receptionist, she took my photo, asked me to complete some paperwork, and then processed my payment ($380 for my specific examinations).
First, I went into an exam room with a nurse and had my height, weight, and blood pressure taken; my hearing and vision checked (you’re allowed to wear contacts or glasses); some blood drawn; and then peed into a cup while the nurse stood right outside the bathroom cubicle.
After more waiting, I saw the doctor who asked a bunch of questions about my medical history; examined my ears, eyes, and nose; listened to my heart and lungs; poked and prodded my abdomen to feel if there was any swelling or abnormalities with my organs; had me walk around the room, touch my toes, and do a few other stretches; and finally felt my joints and tested my reflexes. All up, I only spent about 10 minutes with the doctor and it was a very smooth process.
The last stage of my assessment was a chest x-ray, so I had strip off from the waist up and wear a little gown into the x-ray room. After making me sign a statement saying that I’m not pregnant, the technician positioned me against the wall and took the picture. A doctor quickly came into the room to confirm the x-ray looked good and then I was free to get dressed again. Even though the form says not to wear any jewellery, the radiologist said it was fine for me to leave in my small earrings and nose piercing, so don’t stress.
Irrespective of which medical centre you’ve attended for your health examinations, the doctor sends your results and their professional recommendation directly to Home Affairs. This happened within 3 days for me, so it’s a pretty quick process as long as everything comes back clear. You’ll know this has happened when the “Health Assessment” page in your Immi Account says Health clearance provided – no action required.
There are a few different outcomes if your results don’t come back completely clear:
- If you need to re-do any of your health examinations due to inconclusive results, the medical centre will contact you before submitting your results to Home Affairs.
- If your health examination results require further consideration, they might be sent to a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, who will review all of the information and provide further recommendations to Home Affairs. This might require you to submit additional information or attend additional health examinations. After this process, the Medical Officer will either conclude that:
I hope this information has been helpful and I wish you so much luck on your Australian Partner Visa journey! Feel free to ask any questions below and I will do my very best to answer them.
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* I am not a migration agent or affiliated with Home Affairs in any way, so all the information provided in these posts and in the comments below is based entirely on my own experience and my own understanding of the application process.
UPDATE: A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who’s commented on these posts to let me know that you found the information helpful— I can’t tell you how much it means to me, because it was a crazy amount of work to put this together (while I was trying to finish my PhD, no less), but knowing that it’s being used makes it all totally worth it. More importantly, though, thank you to everyone who has shared their own experience or answered questions for other readers in the comments below!! We are building a little community of Partner Visa applicants and survivors here and it’s massively reassuring, for myself and I’m sure for anyone just beginning their application, to hear stories of success or get advice from those who’ve come out the other end. SO, if you felt like these posts or the information in the comments helped with your application, I’d encourage you to come back after your visa is granted (or even after various milestones) and let us know what happened! It could end up being a huge help to someone else 🙂 xx Brooke