Australia - Regulations on Entry, Stay and Residence for PLHIV

Restriction category relative to Australia

  • Countries with restrictions for long term stays (>90 days)

Entry regulations Residence regulations Additional information
No restrictions for tourists. HIV testing for permanent visa applicants over the age of 15 is required. A residency permit will only be granted to HIV-positives meeting the criteria listed below. (sources 1 & 2). Consult regulations update below.

HIV-specific entry and residence regulations for Australia


UNAIDS reports that Australia has made reforms to its migration health assessment requirements and procedures, including an annual increase to the “significant cost threshold”, the elimination of the cost assessment related to health services for humanitarian visa applicants and improvement to increase the transparency of the health assessment process. Also, it has been confirmed that a HIV pilot programme for African student visa applicants was officially discontinued in 2011.

HIV testing for long term visa applicants remains in force. People living with HIV are treated similarly to other people with chronic health conditions and disabilities during the country’s immigration health assessment process. Applications for visas from people living with HIV will be assessed against criteria applying to anyone with a chronic health condition.

(Source: 3)

Author’s note: It seems that it has become a little easier for people with HIV to stay in Australia beyond a tourist visa (e.g. up to two or three years). Due to the HIV test requirement for long-term stays, we continue to list Australia as a country applying residency restrictions. We will update this page as soon as further information becomes available.


Applicants for visas to visit or migrate to Australia are required to meet certain health requirements. These help ensure that:

  • risks to public health in the Australian community are minimised
  • public expenditure on health and community services is contained
  • Australian residents have access to health and other community services in short supply.
Temporary visas

Applicants for a temporary visa do not generally need to complete an HIV test. The exceptions apply to temporary visa applicants intending to work or study to become a doctor, dentist, nurse or paramedic. Students (and their dependents) from sub-Saharan Africa who intend to study in Australia for 12 months or more are also tested for HIV.

Permanent visas

All applicants for a permanent visa must complete an HIV test if they are 15 years or older. People under 15 may be required to undergo testing if they:
  • are an applicant for adoption
  • are unaccompanied minor refugee children
  • have a history of blood transfusions
  • show clinical indications they have HIV.
If a person is found to be HIV positive, a decision on whether they meet the health requirement for a visa is considered on the same grounds as any other pre-existing medical condition. That is, the disease or condition is not likely to:
  • require health care or community services while in Australia
  • result in significant costs to the Australian community
  • prejudice the access of an Australian citizen or permanent resident to health care or community services.
If a person does fail the health requirement, some visa types have a health waiver available. In these circumstances, an applicant can seek to have the health requirement waived based on compelling or compassionate circumstances.

Up-to-date information, including information on Australia’s temporary and permanent visas, and the health requirements for each, is available at

(Source 1)

People with HIV may immigrate to Australia if one of the following criteria is met: 

  • if he/she has a spouse (including a de facto spouse) who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • if he/she has a fiance who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • if he/she has a long-term same-sex relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • if he/she is the dependent child of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • being a former Australian citizen
  • being a refugee
People applying on one of the above grounds still have to satisfy the Australian authorities that they will not
  • prejudice the access of Australian citizens to healthcare facilities
  • be a risk to public health or safety
  • constitute an undue cost to the Australian community.
Satisfying the first two criteria is not a problem for people with HIV, but they are sometimes refused permission to immigrate because of the cost of their health care. Costs are assessed for each individual applicant, based on his/her life expectancy and on an estimate of the total cost of the medication and of the hospital and other medical care services the person might require.

When entering Australia with their medications, visitors with HIV are advised to carry copies of the prescriptions for their medication with them, or a letter from their doctor listing the drugs the person will carry, and stating that the drugs have been prescribed for the person carrying them.

For longer temporary visas, HIV testing will be required, for example if a person seeks to enter Australia under a Business Sponsorship visa, to work in Australia for two years or more. If a person tests HIV positive, he/she will fail the health requirement, and will not be entitled to have the health requirement waived on compassionate grounds.

(Source: 2)


HIV treatment information for Australia

  • Albion Street Centre 
    150 Albion St.
    Surry Hills 2010
    NSW 2010 Australia
    Phone: 9332 1090
    Fax: 9332 4219
  • Sydney Sexual Health Service
    Nightingale Wing 3rd. Floor Sydney Hospital
    Maquarie St. Sydney 2000
    Phone: 9382 7440
    Fax: 9382 7475
  • AIDS Council of NSW (Acon Sydney)
    9 Commonwealth St.
    Surry Hills
    P0 Box 350, Darlinghurst 1300
    Phone: 9206 2000


HIV information / HIV NGOs in Australia

Updated information is available through the aidsmap search engine at


Global Criminalisation of HIV Transmission Scan

The Global Criminalisation Scan is an initiative of GNP+. It aims to collect and keep up to date information on national and state level laws criminalising the transmission of or exposure to HIV. It also aims to provide an easily accessible ‘clearing-house’ of resources, research, and initiatives on the subject and to provide a platform for advocacy initiatives.

Find out more about the scan and the criminalisation of HIV transmission legislation at



  1. Matthew McMahon, Assistant Director, Health Policy Section, Migration and Visa Policy, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Belconnen ACT 2617, January 8, 2010; sent via Asia and Oceania Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
  2. Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, PO Box 51 Newtown NSW 2042 / level 1, 222 King Street, Newtown 2042, Australia,,, July 2002, April 18, 2012
  3. UNAIDS Geneva, press release July 10, 2014


updated: 7/17/2014
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