What Is a Medical Visa?

A medical visa is a type of travel permit granted for medical reasons.

Many countries issue different types of visas for different purposes. Medical visas are one such variant.

Individuals seeking medical treatment in another country will often need a medical visa (or a visa or travel authorization that permits entry for this purpose).

Learn more about these important documents below, including their function and how to acquire one.

Medical Visa Definition

A medical visa is a type of visa that permits the holder to enter a country for the purpose of undergoing medical treatment there.

Many patients around the world travel abroad to receive treatment. This may be because certain treatments are unavailable in their country of residence or because they wish to see a particular specialist based abroad.

Medical visas generally permit short-term stays to cover the duration of the treatment.

Some countries also issue medical visas to companions who are accompanying the patient (usually friends, family, or carers). An example of this is the Schengen Medical Visa issued by the 26 member states of the Schengen Area in Europe.

Other countries issue a different type of visa for medical companions.

There are also various countries that issue multipurpose visas and travel authorizations that cover visits for medical reasons as well as other activities, such as tourism.

How to Get a Medical Visa

There are 2 possible ways to get a visa for medical purposes, depending on the country.

Some states have an online visa system that issues electronic medical visas or short-stay visas that cover medical visits, among other things. These digital systems allow travelers to get their medical visa quickly and easily, without having to go anywhere.

In other cases, it is necessary to apply for a medical visa in person at a diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) belonging to the country in which the treatment will take place.

Whether applying online or at an embassy, travelers will need to complete a medical visa application form.

The exact requirements for a medical visa vary from country to country.

The following documents are usually needed to justify the medical visa:

  • Referral letter from a doctor/hospital/medical professional stating that the traveler needs treatment in the destination country
  • Confirmation of the appointment from a hospital or clinic in the destination country

A number of travel documents are usually required, which may include any or all of the following:

  • Valid passport and copy of the information page
  • Recent passport-style photo(s)
  • Medical insurance
  • Flight reservations
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of sufficient funds to pay for the trip