870 Visa Health Cover

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Updated 15/01/2024

OVHC is a type of health insurance that’s compulsory for many temporary visa holders in Australia, including those on a visa sub-class 870. Here’s what you need to know.

870 Visa Health Cover

870 visa health insurance

870 Visa Health Insurance Comparison

Key Points

  • OVHC is health insurance designed for temporary visa holders in Australia.

  • Depending on your visa, buying OVHC could be compulsory.

  • Coverage and prices vary from insurer to insurer.

  • Comparing your options can help you find a better value policy for your needs.

In most cases, overseas visitors to Australia are expected to be responsible for any costs associated with medical care they might receive while visiting family in Australia. This applies whether this medical care is provided via a public or a private hospital.

It’s important to be aware of any medical requirements while visiting your Australian family, especially if you’re staying with them for an extended period of time. For example, you may wish to spend several years getting to know your grandchildren. You can do this via the 870 visa.

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What is the 870 Visa?

The 870 Sponsored Parent visa is a temporary visa designed for the parents and grandparents of recent migrants to visit, stay and live in Australia for either 3 or 5 years. An 870 visa grants you permission to:

  • Visit with your children (including any step-children) living in Australia for up to 3 or 5 years per visa.

  • Apply for further visitation visas (to a maximum stay of 10 years in Australia).

The Parent Sponsor is your child, step-child, or the spouse of either of these relatives. 

In order for your child to meet the requirements of a Parent Sponsor for your 870 visa, they must be over eighteen years old, and: 

  • an Australian citizen, or;

  • an Australian permanent resident; or 

  • an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Your Parent Sponsor must also be able to prove their taxable income is $83,454.80 or above.

NOTE: This requirement can include their joint household income.

Am I eligible to apply for a 870 visa?

In order to be sponsored for an 870 visa, you must be the biological parent, adopted parent, step-parent or parent-in-law of your Parent Sponsor. 

Unlike most visitor visas, the 870 can be applied for more than once and consecutively, allowing you to visit with your children - and any grandchildren - in Australia for up to 10 years. 

NOTE: There is a requirement to exit Australia briefly between your two five year periods.

Who applies for the 870 visa? Me or my child?

You must have an approved Parent Sponsor before lodging your 870 visa application, but you are the 870 visa applicant. Your child (or their spouse) is your Parent Sponsor. Your 870 visa application must be lodged within six months of your child being approved as a suitable Parent Sponsor. Your 870 visa application must be completed online.

What are the costs for getting the 870 visa?

Costs for obtaining an 870 visa depends on the length of your stay:

  • Visa for up to 3 years: AU$5,735#

  • Visa for up to 5 years: AUD$11,470#

How long will it take to process my 870 visa application?

Visa processing times vary with the time of year, and the complexity of your application. Standard processing times currently range from 71 days to up to 7 months, which is a broad range. You’ll find a guide to processing waiting times here. [https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-processing-times/global-visa-processing-times]

What are the government requirements for the 870 visa?

To be eligible for your 870 visa, you must first meet the following requirements:

  • Have an approved Parent Sponsor before you can lodge an application for this visa

  • Apply online for this visa

  • Lodge your visa application within 6 months of your sponsorship approval, or 60 days if given permission to apply in Australia.

  • You may be eligible for COVID-19 visa concessions.

As your 870 visa is a restricted visa, it comes with certain conditions you’re expected to uphold, such as:

  • You must not undertake paid work.

  • You must not engage in criminal conduct.

  • You must maintain adequate health insurance.

  • You must leave before your visa expires.

  • You must notify official authorities regarding any change in your contact details, and/or personal circumstances.

The requirement for maintaining adequate health insurance is known as a visa condition 8501. Your visa won’t be approved without a suitable health insurance policy.

What are the health insurance requirements for the 870 visa?

Your 870 visa application requires you to have comprehensive health insurance at least equivalent to Medicare, before your visa can be approved. You’ll need to apply for, and receive, Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) before your visa will be granted. OVHC is a type of health insurance designed specifically for temporary visa holders visiting Australia. It’s for people who aren't covered by Australia’s national health care scheme,  Medicare.

How to compare health insurance for 870 visas?

You’ll likely need proof of your cover from your insurer as part of your visa application. To meet Australian visa requirements, your OVHC should include insurance for:

  • medical expenses,

  • hospitalisation, 

  • emergency services. 

Consider your own health status, including any pre-existing conditions, as this may affect the type of cover you're able to access. Also ensure your cover offers any repatriation benefits you may need, and aligns with Australian healthcare standards.  It’s important to ensure that any OVHC you purchase is 100% compliant with the comprehensive cover requirements of your 870 visa application. Speaking with a health comparison expert will help you avoid paying for a policy that doesn’t comply with your 870 visa visitation requirements.

What does OVHC cover in Australia?

OVHC typically pays benefits or rebates towards the cost of an ambulance in an emergency, and may also contribute towards some prescription medications. OVHC will cover you for public hospital stays and the same sort of out-patient care an Australian would have covered by Medicare.

It won’t cover costs for your dental or optical care, nor for any remedial therapies such as physiotherapy or acupuncture. If you’d like an insurance policy that covers some of your costs for these services, you can take out an extras health insurance policy with a local health fund. 

Check with your OVHC provider. You might be able to upgrade your policy to include a level of extras cover as well. This is a wise move for older parents visiting children and grandchildren on an 870 visa, as they’re more likely to require comprehensive health care.

What are the waiting periods associated with an 870 visa?

The waiting periods for OVHC are similar to those of private health cover for Australian residents, and may include:

  • 2 months waiting period for general dental, physiotherapy, chiropractic, podiatry, psychology, speech therapy, health aids, Chinese medicine consultations and complementary therapies.

  • 2 months waiting period for pre-existing psychiatric-related medical conditions.

  • 6 months waiting period for optical services.

  • 12 months waiting period for pregnancy-related medical services, including pre-natal care.

  • 12 months waiting period for major dental services.

  • 24 months waiting period for laser eye surgery and hearing aids.

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Depending on your chosen insurer, your OVHC policy must begin a minimum of 14 days from the date you purchase your cover, so you’ll want to take out your insurance fairly close to your arrival date. NOTE: Waiting periods don’t apply generally to any emergency treatment you receive from an approved ambulance service. This will usually be covered immediately. However, any hospital costs will not be covered until you have completed the relevant waiting period, which will commence on the date your policy begins.

It’s exciting to visit your Australian family and there’s a lot to see and do over here. However, it’s also important to take care of your health for yourself, and anyone travelling with you. That’s what private health cover is for.

Disclaimer: This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

Chris Stanley is the sales & operations manager of health insurance at Compare Club. With extensive experience and expertise, Chris is a trusted leader known for his deep understanding of health insurance markets, policies, and coverage options. As the sales & operations manager of health insurance, Chris leads a team of dedicated professionals committed to helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their health insurance needs.

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Chris Stanley

Sales & Operations Manager for Health Insurance