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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.

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PASSPORTS

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. Cost of a passport card is $30 plus $25 execution fee. Renewals don’t require the execution fee.

What is the difference between a passport book and 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.

MEDICAL TOURISM

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 $8,900 USD in our Mexican hospital. A large draw to 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, 1 mile 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. So whether in the hotel, in the hospital or while we are transporting you, we are always looking out for your safety.