Health tourism is a growing industry these days, and baby boomers, individuals without adequate medical insurance, or those looking for cheap surgery (which doesn’t mean uneducated, untrained, or low-tech services) are finding the medical travel in a number of fields, including vision care, dental care, cardiac care, orthopedics, and for obesity and bariatric surgeries their best option.
The first thing you need to do when preparing to travel abroad is to obtain a passport. In the United States, the process of obtaining a passport is fairly easy. You may find passport applications at your local post office. You’ll be required to fill out a DS-11 Application for a U.S. Passport form. Be prepared to show evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified birth certificate, a previously issued passport, a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship, or a report or document by the consulate of your country of origin.
When obtaining a passport for health tourism or medical travel, you also need to provide photo identification, which may include a previously issued passport, valid driver’s license, military identification, government ID, or naturalization certificates.
You’ll also need to obtain two passport photos, which you may get at your local post office, or you can go to your local drugstore or to a professional photographer and ask for passport acceptable photos. After you pay the servicing fee, you’ll receive your passport within about four weeks, though you can pay an extra fee for a expedited servicing.
After you’ve received your passport, call the consulate or embassy of the country you wish to visit in your area and ask about their visa requirements. Before scheduling treatment abroad, allow at least 2 to 4 weeks for visa processing and mailing, depending on specific country requirements.