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Tariq Siddiqi

Commercial Director

International health insurance: which countries require it for entry?

It is always advisable to have international health insurance if you are living or working overseas to provide yourself and your family with emergency health and medical coverage in the event of an accident, injury or sickness beyond your control.

Many travelers don’t realize that without the correct insurance, they could be turned away from the destination they are visiting before they even make it past airport arrivals. There are now an increasing number of countries that won’t let you in without travel medical insurance. Find out which countries these are and how to choose the right insurance for you.

 

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Mandatory health insurance is becoming more common

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, mandatory health insurance for entering a country is becoming more common. Some countries are now requiring visitors to have health insurance before they will issue a visa. In others, you risk being turned away at arrivals if you don’t have cover.

Even if your destination is not on the list now, it may require travel insurance by the date of your trip.

Why do some countries require you to have health insurance for entry?

Having the right health insurance means visitors and expats will be able to access medical treatment if they need it without being faced with enormous costs. But countries also want to protect their own health systems. Particularly in the age of COVID-19, they do not want to see hospitals and clinics left with unpaid bills for healthcare given to visitors. Read our full guide on COVID-19 & your international insurance here.

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Which countries won’t let you in without health insurance?

Countries where you will need health insurance on entry include:

Travelers to Anguilla are required to purchase travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19 related treatment and lasts the duration of their stay in the country.

Proof of such insurance must be submitted upon arrival in the country.

Travelers to Argentina must have proof of international health insurance that will cover COVID-19 care.

Travelers to Aruba are required to purchase a healthcare policy from the Arubian government.

All visitors to the Bahamas are required to apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa online, where they will upload their negative COVID test results and/or proof of vaccination.

Visitors will be required to opt into COVID-19 health insurance that covers them for the duration of their stay.

Belize issued a mandatory requirement for travel insurance on 15/02/22. All visitors must apply for and purchase health insurance from the Belize government known as Belize Travel Health Insurance.

It should be noted that the Belize Travel Health insurance does not specifically state coverage for medical or trip benefits NOT related to COVID-19, so visitors are encouraged to supplement the government-sponsored plan with their own travel and medical insurance.

Visitors to Bermuda are required to have travel insurance that can provide coverage for COVID-19 medical emergencies.

Travel insurance covering COVID-19 is mandatory for all non-resident visitors to the British Virgin Islands.

Visitors must show proof of travel insurance with medical coverage of at least US$50,000.

Visitors to the Cayman Islands are required to show proof of travel insurance that covers COVID-related expenses.

The insurance must last the duration of stay in the Cayman Islands.

You must have travel medical insurance for at least US$30,000 that would provide COVID-19 coverage and would be valid throughout the stay in Chile.

Visitors are required to have travel medical insurance that covers coronavirus-related expenses and that last the full duration of the trip.

Unvaccinated travelers are required to have travel insurance providing a minimum of US$50,000 in coverage for medical expenses including COVID-19 and US$2,000 in lodging expenses in case of quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travelers are permitted to enter the country without mandatory insurance.

Anyone traveling to Cuba are required to purchase travel medical insurance for visiting the island nation.

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Foreigners visiting Dubai must present proof of travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19 just like any other sickness.

As of 2021, the Ecuadorian Congress abolished travel insurance requirements for visitors.

However, due to COVID-19, visitors must show proof of health or travel insurance in order to travel to the Galapagos Islands, which are part of Ecuador.

When traveling to any of the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, if a person is required to obtain a Schengen visa, they would require a compliant health insurance plan that would cover at least EUR€30,000 in medical benefits, as well as provide the coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.

French Polynesia requires travelers who are;

  • unvaccinated
  • and/or have already been infected by COVID-19
  • and/or have stayed for less than 15 days in the US, Canada, France, EU countries, the UK, Israel, Lebanon, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea or other ‘Green Zone’ countries prior to their arrival in French Polynesia

and are only providing a rapid antigen COVID test as proof they are negative for COVID-19 to have travel insurance.

If they do not, they must sign a declaration assuming all associated medical, confinement, or repatriation costs.

All foreign nationals traveling to Georgia are required to have travel insurance valid for the entirety of their stay.

This insurance must be valid throughout the entire country and cover any expenses related to the visitor’s health status or death.

International tourists must have international health insurance with minimum coverage of US$100,000, including coverage for COVID treatment and hospitalization.

Valid travel medical insurance is an entry requirement for anyone trying to get an Iranian visa and must be shown upon landing at the airport in Iran.

Israel requires all foreign visitors to purchase travel medical insurance that provides coverage for COVID-19.

Those traveling to Jamaica must enroll in the “Jamaica Cares” program for a fee of US$40 to cover medical expenses related to COVID-19.

The mandatory coverage consists of travel medical insurance coverage up to US$100,000 per person, and on-island health coverage up to US$50,000.

Visitors are encouraged to purchase additional travel insurance coverage.

It is mandatory for all non-Jordanian visitors to provide proof of travel medical insurance in order to visit Jordan.

The only visitors who are exempt from this requirement are medical tourism patients.

Laos mandates all foreign citizens entering Laos to purchase travel medical insurance that provides COVID-19 coverage.

All visitors to Lebanon need travel insurance that will cover the expense of COVID-19 medical treatment if any tests come back positive or a traveler develops symptoms while visiting Lebanon.

Requires proof of medical insurance to enter.

Tourists visiting Nepal are required to provide proof of travel medical insurnace coverage for the duration of their trip.

All tourists are required to have travel health insurance that covers COVID-19 and is valid for at least a month, even if the length of their trip is shorter.

All visitors are required to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 for the full duration of their trip and must submit their contact information to Pakistan before departure.

All visitors to Pakistan over the age of 17 must be fully vaccinated.

Visitors are required to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 and that lasts the full duration of their stay.

As a United States territory, Puerto Rico is subject to the same travel requirements for international visitors as the rest of the US.

Exchange visitors in Puerto Rico on a J visa and their dependents are required by the US Department of State to have medical insurance providing at least US$100,000 per incident coverage, US$50,000 in emergency medical coverage, and US$25,000 in repatriation of remains coverage.

Expatriates living in Qatar are required to carry sufficient medical insurance.

Private companies are legally obligated to pay premiums on behalf of all their expatriate employees.

If your country requires visiting Russian citizens to have travel insurance before visiting your country, Russia requires you to get the same when visiting Russia.

Rwandan law requires that any person in Rwandan territory must possess adequate health insurance.

If you attempt to enter the country without it, you will be required to purchase a health insurance plan on arrival.

Visitors must ensure that they have a valid travel insurance with full medical coverage for the duration of their entire stay in Seychelles.

Visitors entering Singapore are required to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical and hospitalisation costs for a minimum of US$30,000.

All short-term visitors must bring an electronic or physical copy of their insurance policy as proof of coverage.

St. Maarten requires all visitors to buy COVID-19 insurance from the St. Maarten government.

The cost for insurance is US$15 for visitors ages 15 and up and free for visitors 14 and under.

Visitors are encouraged to buy supplementary insurance to cover medical issues other than COVID-19.

Travelers must hold travel insurance for COVID-19 with a minimum coverage of 30 million won.

All visitors to Thailand are mandated to have travel medical insurance that provides a minimum of US$50,00 in coverage, and covers COVID-related medical expenses.

Is is required that all visitors to Turkey from outside nations have travel medical insurance coverage for the duration of their trip.

Visitors will not be granted access to Turkey without proof of insurance coverage.

To be granted entry to Turks and Caicos, all visitors must provide proof of travel insurance that covers medical expenses related to COVID-19.

Ukraine requires visitors to have an insurance policy issued by an insurance company that is registered in Ukraine.

The insurance must cover COVID-related medical expenses.

Visitors must have international medical or travel insurance that specifically covers COVID-19.

Foreigners visiting UAE must present proof of travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19 just like any other sickness.

The proof must be presented at the time of boarding.

Travel health insurance isn’t required for visitors to the UK; however, it is highly recommended to buy in case of unexpected medical emergencies.

If you do not purchase travel medical insurance and medical treatment is necessary, you will be expected to pay the costs from your own pocket.

If you leave the country without paying the medical bills, you would likely not be approved for a visa the next time you want to visit.

Exchange visitors on a J visa and their dependents are required by the US Department of State to have medical insurance providing at least US$100,000 per incident coverage, US$50,000 in emergency medical coverage, and US$25,000 in repatriation of remains coverage.

Healthcare costs in the US are among the highest in the world, and most visitors cannot afford healthcare in the US without insurance – therefore it is highly recommended that all visitors have travel medical insurance for the duration of their trip.

Travelers to Vietnam are required to have international medical insurance that lasts their full duration of stay.

Alternatively they can sign a form declaring themselves financially responsible for any COVID-related medical treatment costs they incur while in the country.

Countries will also have separate entry guidelines around COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Please check the latest information and entry requirements with your destination country prior to travelling.

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What other health-related entry requirements are there?

To enter many countries, you will need to have evidence of a recent negative COVID-19 test. You may also be asked to take a test on arrival. There may also be quarantine requirements.

Does Medicare cover me in a foreign country?

Medicare is the US federal health insurance programme. Medicare does not normally cover medical care outside the US and its territories, although there are some very limited exceptions. In all cases, if you have health insurance for your own country, you will need to check whether it offers any coverage in other countries too. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a separate health insurance policy.

What's the difference between international health insurance and travel insurance?
Find out here

Which countries have mandatory health insurance?

In some counties, it is compulsory for citizens to have health insurance, while companies in some countries are obliged to provide health insurance for employees. These countries include:

  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi: employers are responsible for providing health insurance cover for employees.
  • Oman: it is mandatory for private sector employers to provide basic health insurance coverage for employees, including expats.
  • Singapore: employers must buy COVID-19 travel medical insurance.

What insurance do I need for working abroad?

Whether or not it is compulsory in the country you’re going to work in, for your peace of mind and wellbeing, you will need international health insurance that covers you for illness or injury when you’re living overseas.

As well as that protection, our international insurance also gives you 24/7 access to help with navigating language barriers and unfamiliar hospital settings.

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Why choose William Russell for international health insurance?

The best international health insurance for you will depend on your situation and the level of cover you want. At William Russell, we provide a truly personalised service for expats with a range of health insurance policies that allow you to choose options to suit your lifestyle.

Peace of mind, no matter where you go

No matter where you go, you can take one thing off your mind. William Russell offers international health insurance that covers you for everything from minor injuries to long hospital stays. We can even offer medical evacuation to patients who require treatment in other countries. At William Russell, we have been providing worldwide health cover for 30 years, helping expats like you and their families to settle into their new homes. Speak to us today to find out more about how international health insurance could support you.

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