Passports (and sometimes, visas) are required for most international travel.Â This is increasingly becoming the case as more countries around the world become involved with the global anti-terrorism movement.Â This means that even before making your medical and travel arrangements, you should make sure that you can satisfy whatever visa and passport requirements apply.Â The good news is that many medical tourism destinations will bend over backwards to ensure that health vacationers have as little hassle as possible.Â
For most short-term visits, all you need is a passport that will be valid for 6 months from the date of entry.Â This law varies, however, so be sure to check the exact requirements for your specific medical tourism destination.Â It never hurts to call the embassy or consulate just to be sure.Â
Unfortunately, visa requirements are a little bit more complicated due to the various agreements that individual countries have with one another.Â A visitor from country A might need a visa whereas a visitor from country B will not.Â Some countries offer visas on the spot while others require lengthy wait times, ridiculous processing fees, and voluminous paperwork.Â Some medical tourism destinations even require proof of vaccinations and immunizations before they grant entry.Â And because some vaccinations take weeks or months to kick in, this can significantly delay whatever travel plans you might have.Â
2 Rules of Thumb for Visas and Passports
1.Â Visa and passport laws usually become stricter with time; not more lenient.Â So be sure to give yourself as much wiggle room as possible.Â Start early, ask questions, and stay abreast of changes.Â For a fairly comprehensive list of global requirements, click the Project Visa page.Â Â
2.Â Make multiple copies of your passport and visa.Â Keep at least one copy in each of your bags, and an extra copy on your person.Â If you travel with a companion (and you certainly should), make sure that he or she has copies.Â It also never hurts to scan copies and send them to yourself via email so that you have them stored online as well.