Immunizations & Medication

Researching the health requirements of your host country is a critical step in planning for a successful stay abroad.

Health issues differ around the world. The health concerns of one nation may not be the same for the next; therefore, it’s important to be aware of the health issues at the destination(s) you’re traveling to and prepare accordingly. Likewise, laws surrounding medications vary from country to country, so you should also research the legality and availability of the medicines you take in your destination.

Vaccine Basics for Your Trip
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a thorough list of vaccines and medicines you should consider getting before traveling. Please visit the CDC website for health information on your travel destination(s).
  • IU requires that all study abroad participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19before traveling internationally unless they have been approved for an excemption. Keep in mind that even if you have received an exemption the host country may not accept the exepmtion and vaccination will be requried or travel cannot occur. Check here for more details on IU's COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
  • You should get all of your vaccinations at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow the vaccines to take full effect and provide time for vaccines that require more than one dose.
  • Be aware that in order to enter certain countries you must provide proof that you’ve received certain vaccinations.
  • If you are planning to travel to other countries before, during, or after your program, you should be aware of these countries’ immunization requirements as well.
  • You can receive most vaccinations and travel medicine at IUPUI’s Campus Health. You can get more information or schedule an appointment.
  • There are travel clinics in Indiana if you would like to visit a clinician who specializes in travel medicine.
Taking Medications Abroad
  • Consult the US Department of State Country Specific Information for your destination(s) to learn about any known restrictions on medications (over-the-counter or prescribed). Some medications may be illegal in your host country(ies).
  • Keep medications in their original, labeled containers so that it is clear to customs what the contents and intended use are. 
  • Take enough medication to last the duration of your time abroad. Some medications are not accessible in certain countries and cannot be sent through the mail.
  • Carry your medication in carry-on luggage only; your checked luggage could be delayed or lost.
  • Take a copy of your prescription in case you have to purchase medication at your destination. Have your doctor write it in the generic name, as drug brand names can differ in other countries.
  • Take a signed doctor's note describing the medical necessity of any prescription drugs you take; this is especially important for controlled substances or injectable medicines (such as insulin).
  • Know the generic names for your medication and the names and amounts of the active ingredients in them. 
  • If you plan to travel with a prescribed controlled substance (e.g. ADHD medication or prescription pain pills), check the legality and availability of these medicines in your destination. Review the International Narcotics Control Board and the country's official government websites for this information, and consult with the Embassy or Consulate of your destination country.
  • If your medication is not legal or available in your destination, make a back-up plan for treatment with your US doctor well in advance of departure.

For more on this topic and other important travel information, please review the Pre-Departure Handbook.