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For nationals that request the Schengen visa, the traveller must have insurance that covers, for a minimum of €30,000, any expenses incurred as a result of emergency medical treatment or repatriation for health reasons.

But what about citizens of 'Annex II' countries and territories (Japan, Brazil, etc)? Are they also required to have such insurance?

  • Anecdotally: I know many brazilian nationals who entered the Schengen area legally as tourists and they didn't pay for travel insurance for that trip nor had this possible requirement checked – Jader Dias May 14 '15 at 21:27
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    I have heard that some countries require all visitors to have a travel insurance, but I do not remember which, just that Slovakia is likely one. – Willeke May 14 '15 at 21:30
  • @Willeke yes you are right, for Slovakia, Brazilian visitors are "required to hold health insurance and proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay." Curiously when I checked for a Brazilian entering Austria that requirement did not appear! – Calchas May 14 '15 at 21:36
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    I did not do a systematic search but looked at a few countries on TIMATIC, and only Slovakia asserts a demand for health insurance for a Brazilian visitor. – Calchas May 14 '15 at 21:41
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    The french embassy site in Brazil in it's portuguese version states that: "All foreigners required or not to obtain a short stay visa, who wish to enter France must have a 30.000 Euros health insurance that covers all Schengen territory." Strange that the same requirement is not mentioned in the french version. Additionally, I looked a few other (Spain, Germany, Italy) embassies sites and none of them mention that health insurance requirement. – gmauch Aug 20 '15 at 17:55
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The French embassy site in Brazil in it's portuguese version states:

All foreigners, required or not to obtain a short stay visa, who wish to enter France must have a 30.000 Euros health insurance that covers all Schengen territory."

Strange that the same requirement is not mentioned in the french version of the same website.

The Nederlands embassy site in Brazil in it's portuguese version states:

To reduce risks or delays in the border it is advisable to:

Hire an international insurance, valid for Europe during the period of stay in the Schengen territory with a coverage of at least €30.000,00 for medical or hospital expenses. Even though it is not mandatory for entrance in the Netherlands, some other countries in the Schengen territory require this insurance.

Additionally, I looked a few other (Spain, Germany, Italy) embassies sites in Brazil and none of them mention the health insurance requirement

Besides that, it is common sense in Brazil that a Brazilian who wish to travel to Europe, must have this 30.000EUR health insurance. For instance, credit cards like Mastercard or Visa advise that they will give such insurance if the airline tickets are bought using the credit card. A few travel forums and sites like Mochileiros (backpackers) or FalandoDeViagem(talking about travel) also mention the need to have such health insurance.

All in all, it's hard to say if the health insurance is really mandatory or no. Evidences suggest it is not for brazilians, besides the common sense, but I just can't be sure.

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    Insurance is not mandatory, will explain why in a minute. – Relaxed Aug 21 '15 at 17:03
  • The text from the Dutch embassy in Japan is about visa applications, not visa-free entry, and therefore does not apply to Brazilian (or Japanese) citizens. It's also subtly incorrect in another respect but that's moot. – Relaxed Aug 21 '15 at 17:31
  • @Relaxed, Correct! I'll remove the japan section of my answer. – gmauch Aug 21 '15 at 17:49
  • "All foreigners, required or not to obtain a short stay visa, who wish to enter France must have a 30.000 Euros health insurance that covers all Schengen territory." Strange that the same requirement is not mentioned in the french version of the same website." No. This is a reality. And I'm French with family abroad, so I know that's a reality. 30000€ is the minimum, and the visa refusals for lack of insurance are common. – Quidam Feb 15 at 20:33
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Travel health insurance is not mandatory for people who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area (including people from annex II countries like Brazil and people from other countries who hold a residence permit from a Schengen country).

The travel medical insurance requirement is defined in article 15 of the Schengen Visa code and then mentioned again in article 21 on the entry conditions that must be fulfilled to issue a visa. It's also one of the reasons to refuse a visa mentioned on the standard refusal form.

By contrast, it is nowhere to be found in the Schengen Borders code. In particular, article 5 of this code, on “Entry conditions for third-country nationals” mentions most of the conditions listed in article 21 of the visa code (valid travel document, purpose of stay, financial means…), except travel insurance. Lack of travel insurance is also absent from the standard refusal form in annex V.

The Borders Code is the regulation that applies to third-country nationals who don't need a visa and defines all the requirements that apply to them. This regulation is binding for all Schengen countries, whatever their embassies might have to say about it. There is therefore no legal basis for border guards or anyone else to require insurance from visa-exempt travellers.

Some comments mention the fact that Slovakia apparently requires travel health insurance from visa-exempt short-term visitors and that this “requirement” even made it to the TIMATIC database airlines use to find out about entry rules in various situations. I would not be surprised if border guards there actually ask to see some proof of insurance but that's clearly illegal. Neither Slovakia as a whole nor individual border guards are free to make up their own rules.

Of course, being insured is the easiest way to avoid unpleasant discussions and can be beneficial for other reasons but it's not a legal requirement for a visa-free short-stay in the Schengen area.


Note that Schengen visa holders do need valid travel insurance every time they enter the Schengen area. The reason for that is that the visa requirement itself is included in article 5 of the Borders code and a Schengen visa can be revoked at any time if the conditions for issuing it are not met anymore, thus making all the requirements of the Visa code relevant for entry in this case.

That's particularly relevant for multiple-entry visa holders who only have to prove they are covered for their first intended trip when applying for their visa. If they show up at the border with a Schengen visa but without insurance (e.g. on a subsequent trip), the border guards should in principle rule that the conditions for issuing the visa are no longer met and revoke it.

In practice, border guards do not always check that.

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