In addition to Cuba, which last year announced it would require visitors to show proof of medical insurance when entering the country, more nations—primarily in Europe–are requiring tourists to have such proof available. Check out the countries you’ll be visiting this summer on this homepage.
Our most recent survey of European countries requiring or recommending proof of medical insurance found most of them in central, eastern and Baltic regions: among them Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. So far, most countries of western Europe, e.g. France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, do not specifically require citizens of the United States or Canada to show proof of medical insurance. But virtually all recommend visitors have travel medical coverage, as most of their hospitals and doctors will expect payment for services when they are rendered. We also expect that by the time the summer travel season kicks into high gear, more countries may be requiring visitors to prove they have medical coverage.
Some of the countries specifying the medical coverage requirement state that visitors “may be asked to show proof,” others say they “will be required,” to show it. In either case, you need to have the proof available with you.
What constitutes acceptable coverage is also variable, but most countries who require or ask for proof of coverage specify a minimum of 30,000 euros which is the standard requirement of Schengen zone countries.” (The Schengen zone* consists of 25, mostly western, European countries that have agreed to cross-border easements on visa rules for travel between them. Citizens of the U.S. and Canada with valid passports do not require visas for travel to any of the Schengen countries for up to 90 days. But some of the countries within Schengen—mentioned above—do require proof of medical insurance.)
The only way to be sure of your status is to search out the Entry/Exit Requirements of the countries you will be visiting or transiting. We have made it easy for you. On the lower left of our homepage click on the Travel Reports and Warnings link—the second one down. That direct’s you to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade listing of countries in alphabetical order. The information provided in the Canadian DFAIT site and the U.S. State Department site on this issue is the same, but the DFAIT site is far easier to navigate. Simply click on the countries you will be visiting or transiting, go down to the Entry/Exit Requirements section, and see if they mention the need for travel insurance.
Permanent residents of Canada, or resident aliens of the U.S, who are not citizens and do not have Canadian or U.S. passports, may require visas for entry to any Schengen country depending on the passports they do carry. Approximately 35 countries besides Canada and the U.S. are exempted from visa requirements by Schengen countries. For these non-citizens of Canada or the U.S. it is especially important to have proof of medical insurance as a Schengen country visa requires proof of at least 30,000 euros of medical cover, and countries outside of the Schengen area may have even higher, or tougher medical insurance rules.
We strongly urge you to keep checking back with us throughout the summer to keep abreast of any changes to visa or medical insurance coverage rules that my emerge.
*The following 25 countries comprise the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.