Your Health Abroad (2024)


Get Help with a Medical Emergency Abroad

If you or a U.S. citizen loved one become seriously ill or injured abroad, we can:

  • Help locate appropriate medical services.
  • Inform your family or friends, with your permission.
  • Helptransfer fundsto U.S. citizens overseas.

The U.S. government does not pay overseas medical bills. The patient must pay all hospital and other expenses.

You can find lists of doctors and hospitals in the country you are visiting. Check thewebsite of the U.S. embassy in the country you are visiting.


Check Your Health Insurance – Are You Covered Abroad?

Understand what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas before traveling. Carry your insurance card and a claim form if your policy covers you outside the United States.

Medicare does not cover medical care when you travel the United States. VisitMedicare.govfor more information.

Some health insurance companies pay for “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad. Very few pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. The cost may exceed $250,000, depending on your location and medical condition. Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. For more information, visit our webpage on Insurance Coverage Overseas.


Traveling with Prescription Medications
  • Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or passing through. Check to make sure your medications are allowed, particularly prescriptions for medical marijuana. You may need an import license or permit to travel with certain medications.
  • Bring plenty of medicine for your trip. If possible, bring a few extra days’ worth in case of delays. You might not be able to get the same medication abroad.
  • Carry a letter from the doctor. It should describe your medical condition. It should also list any prescription drugs and their generic names.
  • Keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Entering a country with a prescription medication, even if legally obtained in the United States, could be illegal and result in your detention or arrest overseas.


Medical Tourism Abroad

Between 150,000 and 320,000 U.S. citizens travel abroad for medical care each year. Medical tourism includes cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and other surgical procedures.

If you are a U.S. citizen considering travel abroad for medical care, you should:


Inform Yourself About Vaccinations

Some Countries Require Vaccinations

Before you travel, check country information. You may need to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination, also called a Yellow Card. You may also need to show proof of other inoculations or medical tests. Check also current requirements directly with the foreign embassies of the countries you are visiting.

Recommended Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

Check theU.S.Centers for Disease Control (CDC)and World Health Organization (WHO)websites for recommended vaccinations and malaria prevention for your destination. Review the CDC’s webpage on Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria.


Travel Smartly with Prescription Medications
  • Bring an ample supply of medication to cover you for your trip, and if possible, a few extra days in case there are delays.
  • Carry a letter from the attending physician that describes your medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs.
  • Keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country. Some countries require an import license or permit to travel with certain medications.


Being Prepared for a Pandemic

Review theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information about pandemics. In a pandemic, virus control measures could affect your travel:

  • Travel restrictions may prevent U.S. citizens from traveling internationally.
  • Foreign governments may close borders suddenly or with little advance warning.
  • Commercial air, land, and sea carriers could suspend some or all transportation services.
  • Some countries may quarantine people who appear sick or test positive with the virus.

These developments could delay your travel or your return to the United States.


Other Health Considerations Abroad

Last Updated: March 5, 2024

Your Health Abroad (2024)
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