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Updated October 2019

There are many, many reasons you should purchase health insurance when traveling abroad, the most obvious being to protect yourself in the case of an emergency, though some countries are beginning to require health coverage as a mandatory condition of entry, meaning travelers no longer have the choice to travel without it.

Expat hubs around the world are beginning to require mandatory health insurance before issuing a visa, and more and more countries are deciding to refuse entry without it.

According to a dentist in Leawood, KS, many travelers don’t realize that without the correct insurance, they could be turned away from the destination they are visiting before they make it past airport arrivals.

The following countries are among those jumping on the trend of making health insurance mandatory for those wishing to travel or live overseas.

Countries Which Won’t Let You In Without Health Insurance


Cuba makes having health insurance a mandatory requirement for all visitors entering the country, and this rule applies to all travelers from overseas as well as to Cubans living abroad.

Those who can’t provide immigration with proof of coverage will be forced to buy insurance from the local Cuban insurance provider who have an office set up in the immigration area of the airport.

Just note that the cover purchased in Cuba is likely to be less comprehensive than most local policies from your home country, and are generally likely to have more expensive premiums.


Health insurance is mandatory for visitors to enter the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc), and everyone applying for a visit or tourist visa needs to have proof of coverage, regardless of the nationality, age or gender. Only travelers who don’t need visas on arrival are exempt.

This rule was implemented almost five years ago by the UAE government, and has been slowly rolled out since then. Some companies and tour operators that offer package tours will offer to arrange health insurance policies for you.

Residents and foreign expats applying for a new visa or visa renewal must be able to demonstrate that they are covered by medical insurance to stay in the country.

Tip: To get all the right documents for your visa application, take a look at VisaBadge (a free, online platform for visa documentation).


Travel insurance which includes comprehensive health coverage is mandatory for all cruises to the white continent, and every Antarctic operator will require proof of insurance before issuing your tickets.

Your regular health insurance is not enough for Antarctica due to the remoteness of the destination. You need coverage for emergency evacuation, sickness and repatriation, and we suggest looking for an insurer that offers unlimited cover due to the high cost associated with the distance that needs to be covered should you fall ill.

Make sure you know exactly what is covered, especially if you’re including optional activities such as camping, kayaking, or skiing. Insurers will rarely openly state these activities and it is up to you to read the fine print on your policy document to make sure you’re covered.

Not all Antarctica travel insurance policies cover land based activities. For more information on Antarctica travel visit the Chimu Adventures Antarctica Resource Centre.



Qatar makes medical insurance compulsory for expats, a measure which was brought in to balance the ballooning health care costs of foreign nationals relying on state care.

Private companies have been legally obliged to pay premiums on behalf of all expatriate employees since 2015.


Another expat hub, Turkey requires all foreigners under the age of 65 traveling on long stay tourist visas to have unlimited comprehensive cover for in-patient treatment.

All expats need compulsory health insurance if they want to obtain residence permit in Turkey, though they recently removed the requirement for retired expats living in the country over the age of 65.

Policies are required to have benefits which have a minimum limit of 2,000 lira for outpatient treatment; the equivalent to $815 USD. While citizens of member countries to the European Union have access to healthcare throughout Europe with the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic), this is invalid in Turkey.

The US

Foreign nationals might get access to travel and live within the US without having health insurance, however the cost of health care within the United States is so high that “any visitor without insurance plays with fire”.

Data recently released by the World Health Organization and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development puts the average cost of a routine appendix removal in the US at $8,156, in comparison to $3,408 in the UK, $2,245 in Spain and $953 in Argentina.

According to Dr. Sonal Bhoot, a dentist in Lee’s Summit, Mo, it’s estimated that a day in hospital in the States can cost anywhere from US$1,500-$12,500. When compared to other countries, that’s astronomically high.

So, while you don’t need health insurance to get past US immigration, we include it in this list because it’s not one you want to risk (no country is worth the risk of traveling without insurance, but the USA especially).

Europe: 26 Schengen Countries

Eiffel Tower Paris

The Schengen Area is a zone in Europe where 26 countries have acknowledged the abolishment of their internal borders. Anyone who needs to apply for the Schengen visa to enter Europe must have international health insurance.

The 26 countries in the zone are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A letter from your insurance company is required, and this needs to mention that you will be covered in Europe for any medical, evacuation and repatriation expenses during your whole stay. The medical expenses have to be covered for at least $35,000 or 30,000 euros.


While France has already been mentioned above as one of the countries in the Schengen zone, there are additional requirements in France for students and non-working expats who may be exempt from the Schengen visa.

Non-working European expats under retirement age have to meet rigorous standards of cover, and proof of private health insurance is part of the visa application for long stays.

For students who are over 28 years of age, and planning on staying long term (longer than 90 days) you will be required to show proof of private health insurance valid in France as part of the visa application.

When applying for a long stay visa you will have to provide a certificate which covers health, dental care, hospitalization, accidents, pharmacy, disability and death.

In Collaboration With

As travelers and expats increasingly hop from country to country, it’s crucial to find insurance to cover you wherever you travel. For expats and digital nomads especially, it is vital to make sure your insurance is transferable to each new country of residence.

In terms of where to start looking, Timothy Jennings at Individual Health is a reputable health insurance broker who has worked in the international and US domestic market for more than 30 years.

He offers travelers a range of different options on plans and coverage including short-term travel medical (generally less than 6 months), annual renewable coverage for expats, and coverage for business groups worldwide.

Advice and assistance on healthcare.

Tim works mainly within the International Markets, specifically catering health care plans to the outbound US Traveler and Expat, to expats entering the U.S, and foreign nationals traveling outside their home countries with no American ties.

After representing most of the International Programs available through U.S. Brokers, he now focuses almost all of his efforts with GeoBlue, a company which exceeds the needs of just about all travelers, and is a leader in global cover throughout the world. Tim is one of a limited few U.S. based brokers that works full-time in this field. Contact him for a quote today.

Learn More About:

GeoBlue Health Insurance

GeoBlue is a trade name of Worldwide Insurance Services, LLC (Worldwide Services Insurance Agency, LLC in California and New York), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Since 1997, Worldwide Insurance Services has been dedicated to helping travelers and expatriates identify, access and pay for quality healthcare, all around the world. Sold in connection with certain Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, each GeoBlue policy is U.S. licensed and offers the most complete set of benefits and services in the industry.

  • GeoBlue members enjoy:24/7 Phone, Web and Mobile Support
  • Prompt Access to Trusted Doctors and Hospitals
  • Cashless Appointment Scheduling
  • Paperless Claims Resolution
  • Destination Health Intelligence

GeoBlue and the US Traveler

One of the most important aspects of International Cover is the relationship between you and your insurer.  After all what good is the health insurance if you cannot find a doctor you trust.  GeoBlue has an elite network of doctors from most every specialty ready to see you in over 180 countries.

Only a small fraction of doctors around the world meet GeoBlue’s exacting standards—participation is by invitation only. GeoBlue seeks out professionals certified by the American or Royal Board of Medical Specialties who speak English, and they factor in recommendations by over 158 Physician Advisors from all over the world.GeoBlue assembles in-depth provider profiles so their members can choose with confidence, and they put formal contracts in place to ensure preferred patient access. GeoBlue doctors and hospitals bill them directly so their policy holders don’t have to worry about filing a claim.

For members choosing a GeoBlue plan that offers benefits in the United States, they gain access to the largest national network and facilities that have been awarded the coveted Blue Distinction for superior medical outcomes. In the U.S., more than 80 percent of physicians and 90 percent of hospitals contract directly with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

International Health Insurance for Expats Living Abroad

International Health Insurance has been around for a long-time.  Very much like Individual Health’s domestic plans in the U.S., their International plans provide the International equivalent of a major medical plan only enhanced to meet the needs of the global traveler.

As global lifestyles continue to emerge, the demand for comprehensive international health insurance has grown rapidly.  For the global expatriate the increase in selection from tier one insurers offers them a choice not previously found.

Many off-shore insurers have missed the mark because of limited benefit, long waiting periods, harsh exclusions, pre-certification penalties and lack of portability.

Get a Quote


Compact First Aid Medical Kit

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Emergency Survival Bag


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Featured by Denise Krebs. Antarctica by ravas51. Turkey by Moyan Brenn. Eiffel Tower by Artur Staszewski. Advice and assistance on healthcare by


  1. Insurance can be so complicated! So glad for Australia’s medicare system.

    • Amen to that :D Will never take it for ranted after having lived in the US that’s for sure!!

    • I just sent my daughter to live in Torquay Australia last month and she is loving it. I had a good chance to explore the Australian Medicare System before she left home and it is one of the best examples of a good marriage between a government sponsored system and the private insurance markets. Other countries including the U.S. could learn something. My daughter although is not covered by your Medicare system it is available at some point if she gains employment. She is currentlycovered with GeoBlue with 100% coverage and global in nature. I like what Australia has done to incentivize both the private and public sectors…

    • Australia definitely has a great system in place, which surprises me as to why governments like the US haven’t yet take the lead from countries like Australia and put something more practical into place in terms of universal healthcare.

      Torquay is an amazing part of Australia, I’m sure your daughter is having a fab time! Glad to hear she’s insured with GeoBlue :)

  2. Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for the tips Meg! It is true, anyone going to the US without insurance is certainly taking a gamble since it’s sooo pricey

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Francesca :) And absolutely, I’ve been living in the US for a few years now and OMG health is so expensive! It’s ridiculous that the US is supposedly one of the most advanced countries yet so lacking in affordable healthcare.

  3. Got to love insurance!

    • Absolutely! I used to travel without it and then ran into some issues so have learnt my lesson and will never be without it again.

      I can understand why countries are beginning to make it mandatory though, while I was researching the post it said some destinations are running up billions of dollars in health care costs which are falling to their government, so it makes sense to try and curb that.

  4. great info, thank you! I always have insurance but some of my naughty friends don’t!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, and glad you’re all set with insurance! It’s going to be interesting to see how many countries jump on this trend in the future – soon we may not have the luxury of opting out!

  5. I would never travel without health insurance!! On a visit to my brother in the US I had a gallbladder attack and was rushed to hospital. After ten days and an operation the bill was well into the five figures – my cover with Cigna paid it all – I never even saw a bill! It was a life-threatening situation which I could not have afforded to treat on my own…

    • So glad Cigna has worked well for you Leyla – absolutely, traveling without health insurances is a huge risk. I’m so glad you were adequately covered, especially in the US, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that your bill was 5 figures – healthcare in the US is ridiculous!!

      Travel safe!

  6. I only just got insurance in the past few weeks. It’s the first time I’ve had it in close to 10 years. Fortunately I’ve been really healthy, but I’m very happy to have it now. I had no idea some countries didn’t allow entry unless you have health coverage. It definitely makes sense. Glad I’m covered!

    • There’s definitely that sense of security knowing you have it meaning you can travel with a lot more peace of mind. I had no idea either until I randomly read that Cuba made it absolutely mandatory and then decided to see if other countries had similar rules!

  7. Great post !! Such helpful information that i was previously unaware of :) Thank-you .

    • Glad you found it useful Jasmine :)

  8. Yup, good post. I can vouch for Cuba because we bought it once there. Easy process though.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Glad you found the post to be on par with your own experience Frank. Thanks for sharing about your time in Cuba – I’m glad to know that it’s at least easy if you do have to buy it at the airport :)

  9. I had no idea that these policies even insisted! Fortunately I always travel with insurance, but still good to know. Thanks Meg!

    • Absolutely, I don’t think many travelers do. And surprisingly I couldn’t find a post like this at all when doing my research so it’s not a topic which is very widely spoken about.

  10. This is great information to know for my upcoming layover in Dubai :D I had no idea they required it!

    • Glad we could help you out – obviously if you’re not leaving the airport you’ll be fin, but if your layover requires actually entering the country you should definitely look into finding coverage :)

  11. I have the feeling people are more concerned about their phone insurance than their health insurance while traveling.

    Personally I have heard too many scary stories of high hospital bills to take any chance.

    • LOL Hanne you’re likely to be absolutely right!! And especially with the flimsy rate at which iphones are breaking these days :D

      It absolutely comes down to that peace of mind and having the security of never having to take the chance. Though it’ll be interesting to see how many nations jump onto this trend to not even allow travelers the choice.

  12. Hi Meg,

    Thanks for sharing I never knew this as we always get travel insurance before leaving home:)

    Annie ox

    • Hey Annie! So glad to hear you’re always set with travel insurance – it’s always going to be that one time that you travel without it that you’ll need to use it! But if you do already travel with it you’ll never have to worry :)

  13. This is just the kind of info I need right now, making my plans to switch to a nomadic lifestyle and health insurance was one of the items on my list of things to research – your post helps me immensely – thank you!
    And I had no idea that some countries require proof of health insurance when entering the country.

    • Glad you found the post useful Susan, let me know if you have any follow up questions – I’ve spent the last few days drowning in research so I swear I could recite half the laws of each country by now :D

      Congrats on making the transition into a nomadic lifestyle!! It’s going to be such an amazing experience! Travel safe :)

  14. I agree with you: The cost of American healthcare is outrageous. Much of that is due to the culture. Doctors have to pay exorbitant rates for insurance because people in the US are so litigious.

    Let’s hear it for medical tourism!

    • Absolutely – I’ve been living in the US as an expat for the last few years and it’s such a stark difference compared to Australia where I think we often take our wonderful healthcare for granted.

      Absolutely cheers to medical tourism!

  15. We always travel with insurance but this is not something I have ever thought about. With so many Australians relying, as we do, on insurance attached to a credit card I wonder how you prove to foreign authorities that you are covered.

    • Absolutely, I have done the same in the past, rely on insurance from your credit card. You can contact your credit card company and have them send you a copy of their insurance policy, and this counts as proof of coverage :)

  16. Some great information here that will prove to be very valuable when we venture out on our travels. I didn’t know about UAE or Turkey as both are these countries that we are considering visiting in the near future.

    • Thanks Chris – glad you found the post valuable. Turkey specifically only requires this as mandatory for expats staying past the length of an average tourist visa, so you’ll be fine there without it unless you’re staying longer. As always though it’s always a good idea to have it anyway :)

  17. I did not realize that all these countries required insurance to visit. I have insurance in the U.S. but it does not cover me outside the country.

    • Definitely look into investing in coverage which will cover you while you’re outside of the country, especially if you travel internationally a lot it’s always a good idea :)

  18. I think it’s just a safe bet to always get travel insurance. I caught bronchitis on a trip to the Dominican Republic and heard the medical center I was in charging someone who wasn’t insured $250.00 USD just to see the doctor. Always get it.

    I think it’s also important to get trip cancellation/interruption insurance with so many airlines refusing to reimburse you for delays, and hotels charging you whether you can get there or not!

    • Absolutely. Dam! $250 for just a medical visit is atrocious! So glad you were insured at the time. I had 40 family and friends travel to the US for my wedding a few years ago now and while we were there everyone came down with a fairly horrible bug, some of them having to go in for a check up before the wedding. You can be healthy while at home, but you really never know what might happen abroad.

      Always a good idea to have it whether mandatory or not. And absolutely on trip cancellation insurance as well – I’ve had this kind of insurance save me in the past.

  19. Good information. So valuable!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Jody :)

  20. I didn’t know about this.. but luckily I haven’t had any problems so far! Seems like it’s more of an issue for those looking to stay long term or past the usual tourist visa.

    • Let’s hope your travels stay that way! Problem free that is :) It’s definitely more of an issue for expats and those looking to stay past a regular tourist visa – though places like Dubai and Cuba aren’t letting even short term visitors in without it. Will be interesting to see if any other countries follow suit.

  21. Since I’m European, I qualify for the EHIC, which is a health insurance card across Europe, but I still back that up with my own backpacker insurance.

    Living in Lapland, tho’, our closest hospital was a 4hr drive away. Our closest health centre was 2hrs away. 140 people lived in the town we lived… BUT there was a scary man who built ice sculpture’s who told me one day that no one died there because he could “start a-the heart”. Never been so terrified in my life. Of course he meant use a defib, but still!

    • Great idea to back up the EHIC with additional backpacker insurance, as I mentioned above, the EHIC doesn’t work in some places like Turkey, so it’s always good to have something to cover you where that doesn’t.

      LOL and that’s crazy! That would have terrified me too lol no better incentive to put the fear of god into you to stay healthy :D

  22. Based here in Canada, our news is filled with tons of stories of unprepared Canadians who travel to the US without insurance and then are stuck with massive bills (up to one million dollars!) for emergencies like premature deliveries and neo-natal care.

    Even if you don’t think you’re likely to have a life threatening emergency, think of how insanely easy it is to sprain your ankle. Your life isn’t in danger, but you’ll be in extreme pain and your trip will be a write off.

    • It’s shocking! Seriously, the US system of healthcare is absolutely insane – I’ve heard of medical bills absolutely bankrupting people here.

      Your advice is fantastic and absolutely spot on – it doesn’t have to be a medical emergency for you to rack up a ridiculous bill – even just a simple doctor’s consult for an everyday injury could come to the same cost as your trip itself.

      Thanks for sharing your experience Vanessa!

  23. I’m so glad I found an insurance card for the whole world and valid for the whole year, I don’t need to remember about insurance anymore. And in past it happened to me so many times that I bought one literally few minutes before crossing the border as I forgot about it before.

    • I’m glad you’ve found insurance which works for you Kami – an international insurance card which applies to all countries worldwide is definitely the way to go.

      Travel safe!

  24. Never even thought about this! Thanks for the information–definitely something good to know about!

    • Glad you learnt something new! :) Travel safe!

  25. Oh, wow! I’ve heard of traveler’s insurance, but I didn’t realize it was becoming entirely mandatory! It makes sense, though! This is good information to know before planning a big, expensive overseas trip. Thank you! :)

    • Starting to become a trend – I have no doubt other countries will start making it mandatory also.

      Glad you fund the information helpful – happy travels abroad!

  26. Great article! There is so much about insurance that is confusing. This is helpful for anyone traveling abroad. THANKS!

    • Thanks Lori! Insurance can definitely be an overwhelming topic, though hopefully we’ve laid everything out in an easy to understand way.

      Recently published a post on tips for what to looks for in a travel health insurance policy – check it out if you have any questions about what should be included in any cover you go to buy :)

  27. Great information as always! Can’t imagine not having health insurance – you never know what can happen and it can be a life changer in so many ways. Best to be prepared!

    • Absolutely – it’s always best to be prepared, especially when it comes to something so important as health insurance. Glad you enjoyed the post Jennifer :) Safe travels!

  28. Insurance can be so complicated! So glad for Australia’s medicare system.

    • We do have it very lucky indeed! Looking forward to spending some time next year traveling domestically around Aus, so medicare is going to really help from that respect :)

  29. I actually had no idea that there are some countries that require you to have health insurance before they’ll let you in. That actually seems like a pretty smart thing to require of visitors. I’d love to do some traveling over the next year or so, but I don’t actually have any kind of health insurance lined up yet. That’s something that I’ll need to take care of before I actually start trying to travel.

    • Definitely not something which is widely discussed, and I was actually surprised myself honestly at the number of countries jumping on this trend when I started researching the topic for this post. As you said though, makes total sense so that the country is then not down the costs of health and medical for those who aren’t resident. Shouldn’t really fall on them to cover a visitor.

      Happy travels and all the best on your upcoming trips – you’ll have a blast no matter where you go! Definitely make sure you hook up some insurance before you go though … never want to be caught ill or injured abroad without it :)

  30. I was not aware that even country like Turkey requires health insurance for tourists. I guess it is important to have a travel insurance whether it is mandatory or not because it will to save you money on medical and other costs.

    • Turkey specifically only requires this for those traveling on long stay tourist visas, though it’s a major expat tourist hub so it does affect a lot of people who are deciding to stay for a while.

      I honestly believe it’s only a matter of time before more and more countries jump on this trend – it not only saves you money on medical costs, but the governments of the country you’re traveling through also. I guess the main reason this is coming into play is because Governments are realizing they’re spending huge amounts subsidizing health care for non citizens … which is a fair enough concern.

  31. In the next few weeks, my sister and I will be taking a vacation to France, and I had no idea the country requires all visitors to have health insurance. It makes sense, and thankfully we are both fully insured. Either way, thank you for making me aware of this potential problem, so we can both be sure to have all our insurance paperwork organized and ready in case something should happen.

    • You’ll love your time in France Audrey! Such a fabulous country :) Glad to hear you’re all set up with insurance – it’s a trend a number of countries are now jumping on, country to country it will vary as to whether it applies to all visitors or just long stay visas, though I can see the mandatory cover really coming into play for regular tourists across a lot more of the world very soon. As you said, makes sense!!

      Happy travels & enjoy your trip to France!

  32. Health insurance is so interesting to examine around the world. It’s so varying, but all has the same purpose. I didn’t know that some countries, like Cuba, don’t even let you in their country without health insurance! I’ll have to look at the laws for some of the countries we are planning to visit next summer. Thanks!

    • Absolutely Veronica – definitely interesting to examine and compare different approaches around the world. I do think the mandatory health insurance for tourists is something which will start taking off with more and more countries very soon. Saves them so much in medical costs of foreigners.

      Definitely keep it in mind when planning your travel next year :) Feel free to reach out to us if you have any Q’s in the lead up

  33. What are the countries that don’t require travel insurance? What are the countries if any that are easiest for foreigners to receive state-sponsored coverage?

    • Hi there – so pretty much everywhere not listed here will let you in without having to prove travel insurance. Though always look into this first as more countries are beginning to jump on-board with the idea and implement these rules, especially for those applying for long stay visas.

      I’m not 100% sure of what you mean by foreigners to receive state-sponsored coverage; I don’t believe that there are many countries who would offer foreigners free healthcare. Some do have reciprocal agreements between countries for this however so it will depend on where you come from and where you’re going.

      Hope that helps!

  34. Hi Megan and Mike,

    Amazing post to share!!

    When it comes to health insurance I think everyone needs it. The best part of your post is that you have mentioned the name of countries that makes health insurance mandatory. I love traveling to new places.

    My wife and I was planning to Cuba last week. My wife needs health insurance; now after reading that purchasing insurance from local Cuban insurance provider is expensive we have decided to purchase health insurance here in our home country.

    Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Bakerig, glad you found the post helpful, and glad to hear that you’ll be properly covered for your upcoming trip to Cuba. Really is much more useful having it before you arrive – and much more comprehensive than the policies they make you buy on arrival if you don’t have cover from home.

      Wishing you both a wonderful trip! Have a great time!

  35. If you are an EU national you DO NOT need any proof of health insurance to enter those Schengen countries. I’ve been traveling between Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, and Slovakia (since 2012) and have never been asked.

    • Hi Cris … I think you may have misread that section, because we didn’t claim that the Schengen info applied to EU nationals … as we said in the post, anyone traveling from a country that is subject to visa requirements to enter the Schengen zone must have international health insurance. EU nationals do not require a visa to enter ;)

  36. Spain seems to be pretty much the same as France then. I’m based here now and had to show proof of health insurance for the duration of my long term visa (9 months). Still, good and comprehensive private insurance here was only $400 for the whole year for amazing coverage! And then I talk to my grandmother in the U.S. who says she literally can’t even afford her hearing aids =( The U.S. health insurance situation makes me sooo angry!!!

    • I know, the system of healthcare in the US is absolutely absurd!! It’s amazing that it’s cheaper to organize international health insurance for traveling long term than it is to organize national health insurance within your own country!!

  37. I’m always amazed at how many people I meet who tell me they aren’t getting travel insurance because their belongings don’t cost much so they don’t care if they lose them. They seem ignorant to the possibility of losing the cost of the trip itself (or having to pay for replacement hotels or flights if something goes wrong), let alone the far more serious issue of health cover in case of accident or illness. On our second Antarctica trip there was a situation of very severe illness (which unfortunately was handled poorly) and it really underlined how important evacuation cover is from remote places.

    • Absolutely Kavey – usually it’s not your things you need to be worried about – sure, you can replace electronics and clothing, but this is completely overlooking the possibility of a health emergency, and you can’t replace your health!!!

  38. That’s a great list, Megan!

    Personally, I think having an insurance – life, health and travel is a must for every individual. I know of many travellers who just think of it as an additional expense and don’t bother with it. Or think they don’t need it. But in fact, insurance is something that you buy when (and even if) you don’t need it so that it’s there when you do.

    • Thanks Venkat – absolutely – it’s one of those things you should never leave home without. It amazes me how many people travel without being properly insured – it’s one of those things that you never want to understand the value of, but you never want to find yourself in the situation where you’ve brushed off its importance. It’s never worth the risk.

  39. Great post and regardless where you are in the world, travel insurance is a must for me. However I leart today from this post that Iceland and Norway are part of the Schengen agreement. I thought they were outside but was proved wrong. And I am European…oppsie! :D So everyone….get travel insurance!

    • Happy to hear that Danik! Yes, Iceland and Norway are part of the Schengen agreement … even though they’re a lot further north than the majority of the countries in the zone :)

  40. I really think that health insurance should be mandatory. There was a well reported case in the British press a few years back about a man who had travelled to Thailand for an extended stay without insurance and now needed 80k to pay for medical treatment. He was looking to raise funds off the British public to okay his way home. Get lost is what I say, if you had enough money to go to Thailand, you have no excuse not to pay for it and why should someone else bail you out for pure stupidity. Thanks for trying to raise awareness of this important issue

    • A lot of countries are starting to make it so, exactly for this reason. Because a lot of tourists are traveling, taking advantage of the public health system and then hiking it back home without paying their health debt. And I agree, it’s not fair that someone else, or taxpayers in another country should bail you out because you were stupid enough to travel uninsured.

  41. Such good information I think many people have no idea about these rules. We struggle to always stay insured as we have no home base and move every year to a new country and then spend every summer in another county. It is exhausting trying to keep up with insurance. Thanks for the info – we will check out your link for sure!

    • Thanks Stacey :) I agree, I don’t think it’s something that many people are aware of – and then they rock up and either get turned away, or have to purchase insurance at the gate, which, if you’re buying it you may as well make sure you’re getting a proper policy. A lot of the times insurance sold at the airport may have much higher premiums and may not cover everything you’re planning to do.

      Definitely give Tim at Individual Health a shout and let him know we sent you. He can give you an overview of which policies would be best in your situation as a nomad :)

  42. Oh i didn’t know that but its a good news!!We should always have a travel insurance , its so important… Thanks for the info :-)

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Hra and that you learned something new :) Happy & safe travels :)

  43. I had no idea about some of these. I’m really terrible about checking these things out before I travel somewhere so it’s nice to have a list like this put together. Great advice, thanks so much!

    • Glad we could help Nathan :) Happy travels!

  44. Valuable information, I think we have pretty much of the world covered over here. I guess even if it is not mandatory, it is prudent to have health insurance so that you are prepared for eventualities.

    • Thanks Sandy & Vyjay :) Absolutely – even for countries where this is not mandatory, it’s absolutely essential to have on hand anyway … not worth the risk!

  45. It’s so interesting to read which countries won’t allow you entry without insurance – but I do wonder when/if they check. I would never have had cause to be concerned about it because we always travel with insurance – and I’ve been through and visited a lot of the countries on this list! But ultimately I think it;s a good thing. No-one should be a burden on any system or family member to stump up for accidents/injuries that happen and if you can afford to travel you can afford insurance and shouldn’t be selfish enough not to have it!

    • Those which require proof before they issue your visa would have you submit your insurance certificate as part of the visa application. And it wouldn’t be issued until you do. Otherwise it’s at immigration as you’re entering and they’re checking your credentials :)

      I absolutely agree with you … people think that traveling without insurance is their own decision, but ultimately, if something happens it affects a wider group of people than just them. And that’s why many countries are now enforcing this, because public health systems have been burdened with tourist hospital bills. Which isn’t fair at all.

  46. It’s funny I have never ever thought that there would be countries that wouldn’t let you in if you didn’t have medical travel insurance. I found that really interesting and learnt something new.

    As I have a yearly policy, it’s something I just renew and never have to think about until renewal time again. Ends up being cheaper and way more easier. Plus covered without thinking.

    • Glad you found the post interesting and helpful Sara :) Happy to hear that you’re covered too! Happy travels :)

  47. I am curious if anyone knows the most inexpensive – let’s say it CHEAP – health insurance a would-be expat can purchase. I am just looking for a limited term like 3-6 months so I can get entry to certain countries like Ecuador, Spain, Costa Rica, etc…Once I get there and gain entry I can work on renewal, etc…a

    ANY help would be greatly appreciated

    • Hi Robert, my apologies for the delayed response, have been out of range for the past two weeks.

      Shoot Tim an email at Individual Health and let him know you’re looking for the best low cost policy you can get. He’s got the most knowledge so could give you more information on pricing for short term policies. Email is

      Obviously as an advocate for health insurance, I would say going for the cheapest is sometimes probably worse than traveling with none at all, because you would be paying for something that may not benefit you. But Def give Tim a shout and he can organize a couple of quotes.

      Hope that helps!

  48. Wow this is some really good information. I dint know about Turkey, Im feeling so frustrated now because it was in my list of countries to travel to this year.
    Would you be knowing a cheap insurer that I could take cover with since I only plan on being there for less than 3 months…

    • Turkey’s policy on mandatory health insurance is only if you’re an expat applying for a long stay tourist visa. If you’re traveling through as a regular tourist for short term you’ll be fine.

      That said, as advocates for always traveling with health insurance we do of course recommend it. Shoot Tim an email at Individual Health and let him know you’re looking for the best low cost policy you can get. He’s got the most knowledge so could give you more information on pricing for short term policies. Email is

      Hope it helps! Happy travels :)

  49. Thanks Megan! This was a super helpful post! :)

    • You’re welcome Tiffany, glad we could help! Happy travels :)

  50. Well, it’s not nice for other countries to isolate those who has no health insurance coz there are some of us that aren’t able to afford it. Do you get what I mean?

    • Hi Troy – the insurance that these countries are requiring is international health insurance, not domestic coverage, which I assume you’re talking about? Domestic health insurance doesn’t cover you when you’re abroad, so you need to take out specific insurance to cover medical expenses overseas.

      This is relatively cheap, actually much cheaper than that of domestic insurance in most Western Countries, and if you can afford to travel, you should be able to afford health coverage.

      I actually agree that this should be mandatory, because a lot of the time people get injured and then the local hospitals / government gets stuck with the bill. There’s no reason taxpayers in another country should have to bail tourists out.

      Hope that clears things up :)

  51. Insurance is really important. But how about those who can’t afford it? It’s Just unfair for them.

    • Hi Troy

      As I mentioned in my reply to your first comment above, the insurance that these countries are requiring is international health insurance, not domestic coverage, which I assume you’re talking about. Domestic health insurance doesn’t cover you when you’re abroad, so you need to take out specific insurance to cover medical expenses overseas.

      This is relatively cheap, actually much cheaper than that of domestic insurance in most Western Countries, and if you can afford to travel, you should be able to afford health coverage.

      I actually agree that this should be mandatory, because a lot of the time people get injured and then the local hospitals / government gets stuck with the bill. There’s no reason taxpayers in another country should have to bail tourists out.

      Hope that clears things up :)

  52. Insurance can be so complicated! So glad for Australia’s medicare system.

    • Yes it can! Although you’ll still need international health insurance to cover you for international travel as Medicare only kicks in domestically :)

  53. Insurance is so important for each and everyone of us. But the thing is, what if they have not enough money to sustain their insurance?

    • Hi Troy, travel insurance does not have to be sustained – it can be a one off charge which covers you for the duration of your trip. And it’s usually very affordable, so no reason to travel without it :)

  54. How interesting. Thanks for sharing :) I knew about the Schengen States, but definitely not the others.

    • Glad we could let you know about the rest :)

  55. This just reflects how important health insurance is, and nice of you to cover this topic as I’m pretty sure not a lot of people would know about these specific requirements before visiting these countries.

    • Absolutely Mark, so glad you found the post to be unique and helpful, I though it would be an interesting topic to research after we found out it was mandatory for our trip to Antarctica. I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts becoming more and more of a trend.

  56. great info, thank you!It’s so interesting to read which countries won’t allow you entry without insurance

    • Thanks Kyle, glad you enjoyed the post :)

  57. The trip insurance is very important, everyone before travel is interested in this issue, I am also planning for your trip and I see the information you share is very Thank you very much

    • Glad the information here was helpful Rub. Happy travels!

  58. Great Article. Can you confirm that Turkey still requires mandatory travel insurance upon arrival? I have read conflicting reports online and from travel agents. If so, do the authorities not let you in if you have not obtained travel insurance for your visit? Thanks!

    • Hi Steve, if you’re traveling as a regular tourist then no. However if you’re traveling on a long stay tourist visa, yes. My understanding is that you’ll need unlimited comprehensive cover for in-patient treatment. But we visited as normal tourists last year and it was not required.

      Hope that helps!

  59. Amazing post! Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome Angelina, glad it was helpful :)

  60. Hi!
    I am interested in posting on your blogs…I need to know some things in advance before I include your site in my offer.
    Looking forward to working with you!

    • Hi Carol, please forward partnership proposals via email to and we can begin a discussion there.


  61. Hey Megan!

    Thanks for the information. Went to Cuba last week and didnt know anything about healt insurance or that they had such a policy in Cuba! but before went there I run into you post an had to buy one before getting there. health insure prices are not so bad there tho!

    • Hi Dario!

      Thanks for sharing your experience – glad to hear that the policies they sell at the airport now are good and affordable :)

      Have an amazing time in Cuba!

  62. can I move to Serbia without health insurance coverage

    • Hi Abdirahman, Serbia is not a country I’m familar with, however your best bet for information would be their Governmt immigration website as this is where all the restrictions and requirements of moving / visas would be listed.

      Have an amazing time in Serbia, wishing you all the best for your move :)

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