Before & after sleeve surgery

Medical Tourism
What you need to know

Do You Need A Passport & What Is Medical Tourism?

What You Need To Know Before Scheduling Your Bariatric Surgery 

Since the very day Endobariatric was founded, patients have been asking about passports and medical tourism information. So, here we share with you answers to common passport and medical tourism questions.



Do you need a passport? Traveling to Mexico is a breeze these days, with one exception: The U.S. Department of State recently amended its passport requirements for U.S. citizens traveling to and from Mexico. So, yes, you need a passport.

What information is required for a passport? Fill out Form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport. You can download the form at the Passport Office site. Provide one of the following as photo identification: a previous, undamaged U.S. passport; naturalization certificate; valid driver’s license; federal, state or city ID; or current military ID.

How much time does it take to get a passport? Allow 4-6 weeks processing time to get your passport. Or you can pay an extra fee and have your passport processed in as little as 2-3 weeks.

What if I don’t have a passport? For U.S. citizens traveling to or from Mexico, the requirements of the recently adopted Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) state that all travelers should be prepared to present a current United States passport book or other official travel document accepted by the provisions of the WHTI. The Department of Homeland Security defines these additional travel documents as NEXUS traveler cards, U.S. military identifications with travel orders, or U.S. merchant mariner documents and proof of official business.

What is the cost to get a passport? Citizens of the United States planning to travel outside U.S. borders need to have a U.S. passport issued in their name. Two factors affect how much a passport will cost: the age of the applicant, and whether or not the passport is being issued to the applicant for the first time or it is a passport renewal. If applying for a passport for the first time, the applicant will be required to pay the passport application fee, as well as an execution/acceptance fee. Passport renewals only require payment of the passport application fee. Adults needing a passport book the cost is $110 plus $25 execution fee. The cost of a passport card is $30 plus a $25 execution fee. Renewals don’t require the execution fee.

What is the difference between a passport book and a passport card? A passport card cannot be used for flying internationally. Rather it can only be used for entry by land or sea at U.S. borders for travel to and from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to purchase a passport card instead of a book for more limited travel. For example, a passport card may be all that is necessary for going on a Caribbean cruise.


Conveniently located at the Texas border, the Endobariatric clinic founded by skilled bariatric surgeon Dr. Guillermo Alvarez is a popular destination for Americans seeking high-value, high-quality gastric sleeve surgery.

Worldwide Reputation

In today’s mobile society, patients no longer need to settle for the medical resources and services available in their home communities. In many cases, the best medical care is one flight away, and citizens of many countries are increasingly seeking out worldwide opportunities to expand their surgical options. The term for this growing phenomenon is “medical tourism.” Medical tourists choose not to be captive to limited options, excessive regulatory restrictions or arbitrary insurance mandates. They are informed, educated consumers who take health care decision-making seriously.

Medical tourists who spend time researching their own weight condition, the most advanced surgical solutions, and world-class surgeons who excel in these procedures often discover Dr. Alvarez and Endobariatric. They quickly learn that not only is Dr. Alvarez a renowned bariatric surgeon, but that he limits his practice to gastric sleeve surgery. He made this decision after studying the effectiveness of each available bariatric procedure, and observing first-hand the dramatic results many patients were able to achieve with gastric sleeve surgery.

Great Location, Easy Access

Prospective patients are pleased to learn that although Dr. Alvarez is a top destination for many medical tourists, his location in Mexico, just blocks from the Texas border, often requires very little travel at all. From the north, it’s a short trip down Route 57 from San Antonio. And because Endobariatric provides door-to-door transportation from San Antonio and other Texas cities, patients don’t need to worry about driving.

One other factor that is very important to informed medical tourists: Dr. Alvarez devotes the full measure of his energy and attention to each surgery, performing no more than four procedures a day. Endobariatric is all about high quality, not quantity.

Start Your Journey

All that is needed to begin your medical journey is an appointment and passport (or passport card). Beyond the international reputation of Dr. Alvarez, the substantial savings in the cost of a gastric sleeve procedure is a key benefit attracting medical tourists to Endobariatric. Gastric sleeve surgery is not covered by most U.S. insurance plans, and typically will cost about $30,000 north of the border. At Endobariatric, the cost is less than $9,000.

Our patient coordinator handles all necessary details, to ensure you save time and money with your visit to Endobariatric. As a first step, our coordinator will solicit your medical history, relevant medical reports and diagnostic testing, and advise you on the procedure, the hospital, the expected duration of your stay, accommodations in our on-site hotel if desired, scheduling and cost.

If you would like to learn more about traveling to Endobariatric for gastric sleeve surgery, we invite you to request a free consultation with experienced Mexico bariatric surgeon Dr. Guillermo Alvarez by calling 1-888-332-4591 (toll free) or filling out our online contact form today.

What is medical tourism?  Medical tourism is defined as the travel of a person or group of people to a place other than where they normally reside for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in that country.

What are the advantages of medical tourism?  Many surgery procedures performed in medical tourism destinations cost a fraction of the price they do in other countries. For example, in the United States, a gastric sleeve surgery that may cost $30,000 USD, would cost about $8,499 USD in our Mexican hospital. A large draw of medical travel is convenience and speed. Countries that operate public health-care systems often have long wait times for certain operations, for example, an estimated 782,936 Canadian patients spent an average waiting time of 9.4 weeks on medical waiting lists in 2005. Canada has also set waiting time benchmarks for non-urgent medical procedures, including a 26-week waiting period for a hip replacement and a 16-week wait for cataract surgery.

Are there risks involved with medical tourism?  As with all medical procedures, there is always an inherent amount of risk. The same risks that could happen in your local hospital or care facility. With our team of skilled bariatric doctors, safety is always a concern. We take our time to make sure your procedure is done “by the books” and your stay here nothing short of fabulous.

What is the medical tourism process?  The typical process is as follows: the person seeking medical treatment abroad contacts a medical tourism provider, in the case of Endobariatric, we have a patient coordinator. We require the patient to provide a medical report, medical history, and may request additional information, such as diagnostic testing results. The coordinator will advise on the procedure, the approximate cost of treatment, information about the doctor and hospital, expected duration of stay, and logistical information, such as accommodation, ground transportation, and flights are discussed as well.

How safe is it traveling to your region of Mexico?  We are located in Piedras Negras, 8 blocks across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. Our town is rich in cultural heritage with many sites to take in. We have many restaurants, places to shop, museums and more. A few times a week we provide van service so our patients can do some souvenir shopping. As a border town we strive to welcome all visitors and as our patient safety is always a priority.


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