Countries Requiring Mandatory Travel Insurance for Tourists: What You Need to Know

Planning a trip overseas? Before you start packing your bags, there’s an important step you should take: getting travel insurance. While it may be easy to overlook, travel insurance can provide you with financial protection and peace of mind in case of trip cancellation or a medical emergency abroad. In fact, many countries have made travel insurance a mandatory requirement for entry. Let’s explore some of these countries and the importance of having travel insurance.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is crucial, especially if you’re traveling to a country where it is mandatory. While some countries do not require travel insurance for visa-free entry, it’s always a good idea to have it anyway. Here is a list of countries that you cannot enter without travel insurance:

  • Schengen countries
  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Cuba
  • Ecuador
  • Fiji
  • Georgia
  • Lebanon
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • The UAE
  • Togo
  • Turkey
  • And even Antarctica!
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To ensure a smooth journey, it’s important to check whether your destination requires travel insurance.

Countries That Introduced Mandatory Travel Insurance Due to COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have made travel insurance mandatory, in addition to requiring a negative PCR test. These countries include:

  • Aruba
  • Lebanon
  • Seychelles

If you plan to travel to any of these countries, make sure you have adequate travel medical insurance coverage.

Do I Need Travel Insurance to Enter the USA?

While the United States does not necessarily require foreign visitors to have travel medical insurance, it is highly recommended. The US is known for its high healthcare costs, and a simple visit to the emergency room can cost thousands of dollars. Without insurance, you would have to bear the entire expense yourself. Therefore, travel medical insurance is a must for all visitors, regardless of the duration of their stay.

Countries Where You Should Get Travel Insurance Before Visiting

All Schengen Countries

If you are applying for a Schengen Visa, you must provide proof of Schengen travel medical insurance for the duration of your stay. The insurance must cover at least €30,000 and be valid in all 27 Schengen countries. Even if you don’t require a short-stay visa, it’s still a good idea to have travel insurance.


Visitors from certain countries must have travel medical insurance covering at least €30,000 for illness, accidents, and repatriation when applying for a visa to Algeria.


Since the 2019 COVID pandemic, Argentina requires all visitors to have valid travel insurance that covers COVID-related expenses.


Before entering Aruba, visitors are required to purchase a medical insurance plan from the Aruban government. This plan covers up to $75,000 in medical expenses. There are some exceptions to this requirement, such as same-day visitors, transit travelers who do not need to recheck their baggage, and returning Aruban students.

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Cuba requires all visitors to have travel insurance that covers unexpected illness, accidents, and repatriation. This requirement applies to all types of visas.


Ecuador requires all visitors to have travel insurance that covers the entire duration of their stay, including medical treatment for COVID-19. This applies to tourist visas as well as temporary and permanent resident visas.


Foreign visitors to Fiji are required to purchase travel insurance that covers COVID-related health issues, repatriation, and quarantine expenses. However, returning residents are exempt from this requirement.


If you are applying for a Georgian visa or eVisa, you must provide a valid travel insurance plan that covers a minimum of €30,000 in medical expenses for the entire duration of your stay.


All travelers to Lebanon must have travel insurance that covers the entire duration of their stay and includes coverage for COVID-19 treatment. If you do not have travel insurance, you can purchase it upon arrival at Rafik Hariri International Airport-Beirut.


All foreign travelers entering Iran must have adequate travel insurance. This applies to travelers with an Iran visa obtained at an embassy or an Iran Visa on Arrival. Travelers without insurance have reported being required to purchase it at the airport.


All foreign visitors to Israel must purchase travel medical insurance. This requirement was introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remains in effect. Make sure your travel insurance policy for Israel includes coverage for COVID-19.


Jamaica has implemented the “Jamaica Cares” program, which requires all foreign visitors to pay a $50 fee to enroll in the program before entering the country. The program provides medical insurance coverage and related services, including repatriation and evacuation.

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All foreign visitors to Jordan must have travel insurance that covers the entire duration of their stay, including emergency medical services, repatriation, and evacuation. It is also recommended to have coverage for COVID-19.


Similar to other European countries, if you need to apply for a Moldovan visa, you must purchase travel insurance that covers at least €30,000 in medical expenses.


While not all Moroccan representative offices require proof of travel medical insurance for visa applicants, it’s advisable to obtain travel insurance when traveling to Morocco.


For vaccinated individuals eligible for a visa on arrival in Nepal, proof of vaccination and a filled-out health status form (CCMC form) are required. However, if you apply for a visa before entering Nepal, you may be required to purchase travel medical insurance. Please check with the local embassy or Nepalese consulate. US citizens applying for a tourist visa must have purchased medical insurance before applying.


Since May 2022, Qatar has made travel medical insurance mandatory for all visitors. All foreigners, including non-Qatari and expats, must purchase a valid medical insurance policy for their stay. This also applies to Qatar employers, who are now required to register their foreign employees with the mandatory medical insurance scheme.


If you need a visa to travel to Romania, you must provide proof of travel medical insurance that covers at least €30,000 in medical expenses for the entire duration of your stay.


All foreigners in Rwanda, including visitors, must have medical insurance. You will be asked to choose an insurance plan upon arrival if you don’t have travel medical insurance before entering the country. Please note that yellow fever vaccinations are also required for entry.

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All travelers to Seychelles must obtain travel medical insurance from a company in their home country before being allowed entry.


Before obtaining a visa for Togo, you must purchase travel medical insurance or provide proof of a repatriation deposit in the unfortunate event of death.


If you’re traveling to Dubai or any other city in the United Arab Emirates, you must present proof of travel medical insurance. This requirement applies to all foreign visitors, whether they require a UAE visa or not.


Turkey is another country that requires a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Visitors under the age of 65 who require a visa must have travel insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 for the duration of their stay. Medical insurance is also mandatory for foreigners applying for a Turkish residence permit, except for retirees over the age of 65. EU citizens should note that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Turkey.


While not technically a country, a trip to Antarctica can be a thrilling adventure. However, due to harsh weather conditions, travel insurance is essential before embarking on a cruise to Antarctica.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Absolutely! Travel insurance is a form of protection for your trip. It ensures that you’ll receive compensation for any unexpected expenses due to medical emergencies, loss of personal belongings, trip cancellation or delay, and more.

For example, if you have an accident or fall ill while abroad and require medical assistance, your travel insurance will cover the cost of your medical bills. If you need to cancel your trip, travel insurance will reimburse you for prepaid expenses such as accommodation and flights. It can also cover the cost of lost or stolen belongings during your travels.

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Additionally, travel insurance can provide coverage for emergency evacuation or repatriation, which becomes essential in certain situations. Some countries even require travel insurance to ensure payment for medical expenses, as healthcare costs can be high and unpaid bills can strain local hospitals.

What Should a Good Travel Insurance Policy Include?

A good travel insurance policy should cover medical emergencies, travel disruption (cancellation or delay), loss of personal belongings, and emergency evacuation or repatriation. You can customize your policy according to your needs, but these basic features should always be included.

Traveling without insurance can leave you vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances and significant financial burdens. It’s always best to be prepared and protected, so make sure to obtain travel insurance before your next adventure.


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When planning a trip to a foreign country, it’s important to check whether travel insurance is mandatory. Even if it’s not a requirement, having travel insurance gives you peace of mind and financial protection in case of emergencies. Remember to choose a policy that suits your needs and covers all the essential aspects of travel. Don’t leave home without travel insurance!

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