Which Countries Require Travel Insurance for Visitors?

With healthcare costs rising in developed and developing countries, and international tourism becoming more popular each year, some countries are making travel medical insurance mandatory for visitors. As international tourism rises, so too does the risk and prevalence of illness and injury abroad, and some countries have been forced to pay for uninsured tourists’ medical bills when they leave the country without paying.

Some travel insurance requirements are dependent on the travelers’ home country, others require it for all visitors. Check out our list below before embarking on your next adventure to see if proof of travel insurance will be required for entry at your destination.

Cuba – As of May 2010, all visitors to Cuba must have travel insurance, regardless of citizenship. Entry into the country will be denied if tourists cannot provide proof of travel insurance upon arrival. In addition to proof of insurance for the duration of your stay, travelers must also prove they have a return ticket back to their home country.

Antarctica – Travel insurance is important and required for trips to Antarctica for many reasons. Not only will insurance help to protect your trip investment (cruises to Antarctica usually start at $5,000 per person and can run as high as $20,000), but it can also help provide coverage if you need to be evacuated by air if you are injured or become seriously ill. Because of its remoteness, emergency medical evacuation from Antarctica typically costs $100,000 or more.

Egypt – International visitors to Egypt must prove they have travel medical insurance to enter the country, but there are no specific requirements other than proof that the coverage lasts the span of your stay. It is recommended to purchase a policy with coverage for personal accident, AD&D and medical treatment.

Turkey – Although there is some debate if proof of insurance is required to gain entry into the country, it is recommended to have a travel insurance plan with at least $100,000 in coverage and emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits.

New Caledonia – A popular destination for cruises, this island nation has had issues with tourists skipping out on expensive medical bills. Now, proof of insurance is required to enter the country, and each plan must include coverage for medical treatment, hospital expenses and repatriation.

United Arab Emirates* – While not required for all areas, travel insurance is highly recommended to make sure you are not denied entry as you travel around the country. Travel insurance is required for trips to Dubai and your policy must include at least $100,000 in coverage.

The Schengen Area* – Citizens of certain countries are required to obtain a visa before visiting any of the 26 Schengen countries. You must have proof of travel insurance to obtain this visa and the insurance must include a $0 deductible and at least EUR 30,000 in coverage.

Russia* – Though U.S. citizens are not required to have travel insurance to visit Russia, citizens of other countries must have proof travel insurance in order for their Russian visa to be approved.

New Zealand* – Tourists are not required to have insurance to enter the country, but those planning to stay longer and work in New Zealand must obtain a visa, which requires proof of travel medical insurance.

Japan* – While proof of travel insurance is not yet required for entry into the country, it is highly recommended, especially with the Tokyo Summer Olympics approaching. Japan does require that medical bills are paid upfront upon completion of treatment. Without insurance, this can become an issue for tourists as Japan’s healthcare is some of the most expensive in the world.

*Specific conditions may apply depending on policyholders’ citizenship, areas traveled and reasons for visiting.

Other countries who have required insurance in the past or are considering requiring travel insurance for entry are the United States, Thailand, Qatar and Ecuador. 

The best way to ensure that your entry into any country is not denied due to a lack of insurance? Get travel insurance. It is always recommended to have a policy whenever traveling abroad, to not only protect your health, but also your finances. Get a quote for international travel insurance and compare plans before your next adventure!

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