Skip to content

Prescription Medications Abroad


Prescription Medications Abroad 

If you currently take prescription medication, it is important to plan ahead for your time abroad. Some countries restrict certain medications entirely or limit the amount you can bring with you in-country. Be sure to confirm that your medication is allowed in your destination country, and if so, how much you can carry with you upon arrival. Check with the embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting to make sure your medications are permitted in that country.  

Be sure to leave your medications in their original containers and label them clearly. Pack them in your carry-on. Be sure that the name on the prescription matches the name on your passport.  

If possible, it is recommended that you take a full supply of your medication for the duration of your program. Discuss this option with your physician. Be sure your physician provides you with a copy of the prescription and/or a physician's statement. You may need to present that paperwork when you enter the host country. Letter from physician should include name of the drug, quantity prescribed and the reason medication was prescribed. You may want to consider having the physician’s statement translated if you are studying in a non-English speaking country. Please note that Samford Abroad is unable to provide translation services. 

Once you have met with your physician and obtained a prescription that will last you for the duration of your stay abroad, contact both your pharmacy and medical insurance provider and alert them to your travel plans. When calling your medical insurance provider, ask for a “vacation override.” This override should allow you to buy your prescription(s) at your normal monthly copay rate. Otherwise, you may need to pay the out-of-pocket cost, which can be substantial. Be sure to make these arrangements at least 30 days before your departure, as your medical insurance company's process can be complicated and lengthy. 

Make sure you have glasses and contacts, enough for the entire time. If there are any other over the counter meds in specific brands, you could bring those as well. You may not find your favorite brands in your host country. A small first aid kit would be good to have for weekends away from your host city.