If you’re planning to jet off for your next adventure overseas, you might want to consider whether your destination requires travel insurance or travel medical insurance for entry. Every year more countries consider implementing insurance requirements for their foreign visitors.
COVID-19 coverage is now mandated by many countries for their visitors. You can arm yourself with travel medical insurance for unforeseen medical emergencies you may face abroad.
PRO TIP! For the most up-to-date information regarding entry requirements and restrictions, check out our travel restrictions map. Select your destination country and vaccination status to learn what requirements each country has.
Why Are More Countries Requiring Insurance?
The list of countries that require travel insurance upon arrival had been gradually increasing over the years before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Negative experiences of unpaid medical bills by foreigners have caused hospitals and healthcare organizations to push for insurance requirements so that these incidents are less likely to happen.
Many countries have also implemented testing requirements and quarantines and mandated proof of health insurance that includes COVID-19 treatment coverage.
See which countries require travel insurance, travel medical insurance, or COVID-19 coverage for entry.
Jump Ahead to See Your Travel Destination’s Requirements
- Schengen Area
- Saudi Arabia
What’s the Difference Between Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance?
Travel insurance serves to insure a financial investment in a trip. The core benefit of travel insurance is the trip cancellation benefit, which provides reimbursement for nonrefundable, prepaid expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason. Many travel insurance plans provide additional benefits related to other travel expenses as well. Coverage for medical expenses may or may not be included depending on the plan.
Travel medical insurance provides coverage for unexpected health expenses you might incur while outside of your home country. Your regular health insurance may not cover you abroad, and there’s always a chance you could get injured or fall sick and need medical care during your trip. Travel medical insurance typically provides additional coverage for various travel scenarios but does not include a trip cancellation benefit.
Countries that Require Travel Insurance for Entry
Those planning to travel abroad to the following countries must ensure they have a travel insurance or travel medical insurance plan that provides the required coverage in their desired destination.
A plan like Atlas Travel® from WorldTrips® can provide travel medical insurance coverage you may need for your trip. A plan like Atlas Journey™ from WorldTrips can provide trip cancellation coverage in addition to coverage for some emergency medical expenses. All WorldTrips insurance plans provide medical coverage for eligible expenses related to COVID-19.
Travelers planning to explore Europe may need to obtain a Schengen visa. This is a visa that citizens from certain countries—not including the U.S.—must carry in order to enter the 26 European states of the Schengen Area.
Those who apply for a Schengen visa must provide proof of travel medical insurance that covers emergency medical expenses, hospitalization, and repatriation, according to the European Commission. The minimum coverage must be at least €30,000, and the insurance must be valid for the entire stay in the Schengen Area.
IMPORTANT! Do you know which countries are included in the Schengen Area? See the list of included countries below:
- The Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Learn more about the Schengen visa.
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: “Do not travel to Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine. U.S. citizens in Belarus should depart immediately via commercial or private means.”
Click here for important information for U.S. citizens seeking to depart Belarus.
This eastern European country requires travelers to have valid medical insurance for their trip to the country. The insurance plan must have a minimum coverage amount of 10,000 EUR (or about $11,000 USD) according to the U.S. Department of State Country Information page for Belarus.
Travelers can visit the Department of State Country Information page for Belarus for details regarding insurance requirements and entry requirements.
This Asian country bordering China to the south requires visitors to have travel insurance valid for the duration of their trip. There are no specific coverage requirements for insurance, so just make sure you have it purchase before you travel. Get answers to any additional questions regarding Bhutan's entry requirement at the Bhutan Department of Tourism website.
Brunei is a country in Asia that is completely surrounded by Malaysia. If your travels lead you here, make sure you have health insurance. All travelers to Brunei must provide proof of travel health insurance covering COVID-19-related costs. Travelers’ policies must cover a minimum of $50,000 BND (or about $37,000 USD).
Visit the U.S. Embassy for Brunei website for more entry requirements and details.
Travelers must provide proof of a valid travel medical insurance plan that includes COVID-19 coverage prior to travel or buy Cuban medical insurance coverage at the airport upon arrival. Contact the Embassy of Cuba for further information regarding medical insurance requirements.
There are no specific minimums or coverage requirements for Cuba—just proof of valid insurance.
Visit the U.S. Department of State - Cuba website for up-to-date information about Cuba’s medical insurance requirements.
IMPORTANT! Medicare typically does NOT provide coverage outside of the U.S. Medicare participants can purchase a supplemental medical insurance plan to visit countries that require proof of insurance. Read more about Medicare coverage outside the U.S. and additional options.
Plan your trip to the island nation of Fiji and don't forget to purchase your mandatory health insurance. Make sure your health insurance plan covers COVID-19-related expenses before you book your trip. Your insurance policy document should include the following information:
- Names of insured travelers
- Valid dates of the insurance coverage
Visit the Fiji Tourism website for more details regarding entry requirements for the country.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Israel requires all foreign nationals to present proof of health insurance. This insurance must include coverage for COVID-19-related expenses. Note that this requirement doesn’t apply to travelers arriving from Ukraine during the war.
Check the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority website for the most up-to-date information.
Laos is an Asian country that borders Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Visitors to this country must have health insurance that covers COVID-19. Policies must cover at least $50,000 in expenses. Travelers must also download the registration app and the contract-tracing app for their trip.
Get more details regarding entry requirements from the Laos Tourism page.
Visitors to the country of Myanmar must have travel accident insurance with COVID-19 coverage purchased from Myanma Insurance. Travelers will also need to fill out a health declaration form and provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter the country. Keep in mind masks are mandatory in public settings throughout the country.
For details regarding Myanmar's entry requirements for COVID-19, visit the country's Ministry of Immigration and Population website.
Does your travel include the Occupied Palestinian Territories? Like Israel, you will need to make sure you have a health insurance policy that covers COVID-19. You can visit the Occupied Palestinian Territory Foreign Travel Advice page for the most up-to-date information on entry requirements.
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: “Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law. U.S. citizens should depart Russia immediately.”
Click here for important information for U.S. citizens seeking to depart Russia.
All visitors to Russia are required to apply for a visa to be allowed to enter the country. Upon application, the Consular Division of the Embassy has the right to request “medical insurance valid in the country to be visited and fully covering the period of the first trip” according to the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the USA.
Insurance policies must:
- Cover the entire duration of stay
- Indicate the geographical area of coverage as worldwide
- Contain the date, stamp, signature of the insurer, policy number, full name of the insured person, address and contact details for insurer, and the list of medical services and medical transportation included
Learn more about Russia’s visitor visa process at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the USA website.
Travelers to Saudi Arabia must have valid health insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 treatment in order to enter. Travelers must also complete a registration form and a health declaration form and download the contact-tracing app.
Have more questions regarding Saudi Arabia’s entry requirements? Visit the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia website.
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE: “Do not travel to Ukraine due to Russian military invasion… U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options. U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials. All U.S. citizens should carefully monitor U.S. government notices and local and international media outlets for information about changing security conditions and alerts to shelter in place."
Click here for important information for U.S. citizens in Ukraine seeking emergency assistance.
Ukraine requires all foreigners to have travel insurance. Insurance may be provided by one of several types of companies:
- A company registered in Ukraine,
- A foreign insurance company that has a representative office in Ukraine, or
- A foreign insurance company that is in the treaty relations with an insurance company partner in Ukraine.
The medical insurance plan must also cover costs related to COVID-19 treatment and must cover the entirety of the visit.
Want more information on entry requirements and visa requirements for visiting Ukraine? See the U.S. Department of State Country Information page for Ukraine.
This South American country requires visitors to provide proof of health insurance while visiting. It is recommended that insurance cover COVID-19-related expenses, but not required. Travelers also need to fill out the mandatory health declaration form prior to traveling.
The Uruguay Tourism website is a great resource for reviewing entry requirements and procedures for the country.
Why Else Might I Need Travel Medical Insurance?
Even if you’re traveling to a country that doesn’t require travel medical insurance or COVID-19 coverage, there may be certain situations where travel insurance coverage can be helpful, like:
- Lost Checked Luggage or Travel Delay – When it comes to inconveniences like the airline losing your checked luggage or a travel delay that’s more than just a few hours long, a travel medical plan can help compensate for necessary expenses. Reimbursements for clothes and toiletries as well as accommodations and meals are frequently provided in these situations.
- Illness or Injury – No matter how careful you are with your health, traveling can increase the risk of various illnesses and injuries. While insurance can’t prevent these things from occurring, it can help pay for the cost of a necessary emergency room visit or treatment.
- Terrorism – Some countries have political and social upheaval that can pose a threat to travelers and locals alike. A travel medical insurance plan like Atlas Travel may include a Political Evacuation benefit that could cover the cost of transporting you back to your home country, depending on your current location’s security status. It’s also wise to seek coverage with a Terrorism benefit that can help pay for medical expenses for injuries from a covered terrorist attack.
- Kidnapping – Express kidnappings – actual or attempted abduction and holding of someone against their will for personal belongings or ransom. Tourists are especially easy to target due to their different attire and language.
When common sense isn’t enough to keep you safe, a benefit like Atlas Travel’s Crisis Response coverage can help pay costs associated with ransom and loss of personal belongings. It also provides an experienced, multilingual crisis response team to support your family and negotiate your release. Make sure to check your plan’s policy documents for limitations regarding the Crisis Response benefit.
Requirements Are Constantly Changing
Countries are continuing to implement medical insurance requirements and COVID-19 coverage requirements for their visitors. The U.S. Embassy websites for countries often have the most up-to-date information on what the country may or may not require. Stay informed for your next foreign adventure.