UK citizen ordinarily resident in the UK, on a temporary stay in NZ

Guide to eligibility for publicly funded health and disability services.


Under a reciprocal agreement, a United Kingdom (UK) citizen (passport holder) is eligible for treatment (medical, hospital and related) on the same basis as a New Zealand citizen if they:

  • are ordinarily resident in the UK (including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Island of Jersey and the Balliwick of Guernsey, comprising the islands of Guernsey, Alderney, Herm, Jethou and Sark) AND
  • are on a temporary stay in New Zealand (a temporary stay would be any stay that was not permanent, and to become permanent they would need to have a residence visa or NZ citizenship) AND
  • require medical treatment which:
    • in the opinion of a medical practitioner (or dentist for people 19 years or younger)
    • needs prompt attention
    • for a condition that arose after arrival into New Zealand, OR became, OR without treatment would have become, acutely exacerbated after arrival.

Criteria: B5, Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011.

Proof of eligibility:

You will need to show your health service provider:

  • your valid UK Passport with a Visitor Visa OR a Student Visa OR a Work Visa for less than two years AND
  • proof of being ordinarily resident in the UK (eg. return ticket, property lease or ownership papers, proof of employment in the UK)


Permanent residency in New Zealand or other countries:

  • The UK Reciprocal Health Agreement does not cover UK permanent residents.
  • A UK passport holder who is not ordinarily resident in the UK is not eligible for coverage under the New Zealand/UK reciprocal health agreement.
  • A UK citizen who held a residence visa for any other country prior to arriving in New Zealand would not be covered by this agreement.  Applying for permanent residency in New Zealand does not exclude the applicant from coverage under this agreement.  If New Zealand residency is not granted, the person may still be considered ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

PHO enrolment:

  • When receiving services under the reciprocal agreement, a person may not enrol with a Primary Health Organisation (PHO). They should get the same health subsidies as a New Zealand citizen visiting a general practitioner as a casual patient, if the medical practitioner has decided the condition needs prompt attention. They may register with a GP, and should be allocated a NHI number if they do not already have one.

Eligibility under other criteria:

  • UK citizens may also be eligible for other publicly funded services, under other criteria.  For example, they may be fully eligible if they have a work visa that, together with time spent on visas immediately prior, allows them to be continuously in New Zealand for two years or more.  Or they may be eligible for maternity-related services funded to the same extent as for a New Zealand citizen if they have a partner who is fully eligible.

Insurance recommended:

  • The Government strongly recommends that people in New Zealand who are not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services should hold comprehensive travel insurance, including health insurance. The reciprocal agreement does not cover non-urgent treatment, rehabilitation or repatriation, and some services to New Zealanders such as doctors visits and pharmaceuticals are subject to part charges.
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