How do I apply for a 19AB Spousal Exemption?

General Practice Australia | Competent Authoity Pathway | People Medical

Here at People Medical Consulting we like spreading what we know and giving you a clear pathway to your career. We’re answering a different question each week based on queries raised via our Facebook & Instagram profiles.

What is 19AB?

19AB requires a General Practitioner to work in a Distribution Priority Area (DPA) for a period of 10 years. Formerly requiring General Practitioners to work in a “District of Workforce Shortage (DWS)” this changed to DPA on July 1 2019. 

What is an exemption? 

This allows you to work in a Non-DPA location, providing you have met any 19AA obligations or Visa obligations. The exemptions include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Services Exemption
  • Academic Exemption
  • Spousal Exemption
  • Replacement Exemption
  • Locum
  • After Hours

What is a spousal exemption?

A spousal exemption allows you to achieve a provider number in a location within a reasonable distance to your spouse, if your spouse meets the criteria. This criteria is: 

If your spouse is a Doctor:

  • They must have an unrestricted Provider Number. This means they have met or have an ongoing exemption from 19AB, or aren’t restricted by 19AB. They must also have the ability to bill Medicare for rebates. 

If your spouse is a skilled migrant, they must have:

  • Migrated to Australia in the past 10 years on a skilled occupation visa
  • Be assessed by the relevant skilled body
  • Be currently working, volunteering or undertaking a training placement in that occupation

They must reside in Australia. 

How do I apply?

You’ll need to contact the Department of Health for the application form. You’ll need the following supporting documentation: 

  • Passport for both you and your spouse
  • Lease/mortgage/tenancy agreement with both you and your spouse’s name listed
  • Utility Bill with both you and your spouse’s name listed
  • Joint bank account statement or account confirmation with both you and your spouse’s name listed, with your address
  • Marriage certificate (if married)
  • Visa grant notice (if not an Australian citizen)
  • Your Fellowship Certificate (if Fellowed)
  • Your Letter of Offer or Employment Contract (not applicable for AGPT registrars)

If they are a Doctor

  • Medical registration for you, and your spouse (if they are a Doctor)
  • Evidence of your spouse’s unrestricted Provider number (if they are a Doctor) 

If they are a skilled migrant

  • Spouse’s work contract including occupation title and physical location
  • Spouse’s skills assessment

What are the accepted visa subclasses for spousal exemption?

Under the 19AB Guidelines, the General Skilled Migration Visa subclasses that meet spousal exemption eligibility criteria are the following: 175, 176, 189, 190, 475, 476, 485, 487, 489, 491, 885, 886 or 887 visa.

If your spouse holds any of the visa subclasses listed above, then you are eligible for Spousal exemption.


Our team offer General Practitioners assistance with finding jobs and a career pathway, and Medical Facilities to find a new Medical Practitioner. We also help with the full application process with AHPRA, RACGP, ACRRM, Department of Health, Medicare including 19AA & 19AB. If we can help, please contact us at    


People Medical Consulting are a team of professionals with a passion for guiding those specialising in the Medical industry to find their career pathway and settle into Australia. Working with both Australian trained and Overseas trained professionals, we have extensive experience in Recruitment of General Practitioners, and   Document Assistance for those requiring support with RACGP, AHPRA, 19AA and 19AB Medicare Exemptions.

Related Articles

PEP Specialist Stream

IMPORTANT UPDATE: From 22 November 2023 an exemption will apply to the following Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for Comparability Assessments: *This will apply to all pending and…