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Foreign Travel

Definition Foreign Travel, in the context of VA benefits, refers to any travel outside the United States by veterans or their eligible dependents. It typically involves accessing healthcare facilities, benefits, or services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in foreign countries. This term helps in determining eligibility and coverage of medical treatments […]


Foreign Travel, in the context of VA benefits, refers to any travel outside the United States by veterans or their eligible dependents. It typically involves accessing healthcare facilities, benefits, or services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in foreign countries. This term helps in determining eligibility and coverage of medical treatments or other benefits while traveling or residing abroad.

Key Takeaways

  1. Foreign Travel benefits are available for eligible veterans who need medical care for a VA-covered service-connected disability while traveling or living abroad.
  2. Veterans receiving health care benefits through VA may be eligible for travel reimbursement or foreign medical program, easing financial burdens while seeking treatment internationally.
  3. It is essential for veterans to notify the VA if planning to travel or move abroad, ensuring continued access to health care services and benefits from foreign providers.


The VA benefits term “Foreign Travel” is important because it encompasses the range of healthcare services and benefits available to eligible U.S.

veterans residing or traveling outside the United States.

These benefits are crucial in ensuring that veterans continue to have access to essential medical care and a support system when living or visiting foreign countries.

The VA provides comprehensive assistance, which may include medical coverage, prescriptions, and assistance programs for veterans and their families abroad.

Understanding the specific benefits and limitations of “Foreign Travel” enables veterans to make well-informed decisions regarding their healthcare and wellness options while maintaining their access to the resources and services earned through their time in the US military.


The purpose of the term “Foreign Travel” in the context of VA benefits is to provide support and services to eligible veterans and their families, who are living or traveling abroad. This is particularly important as veterans who have served their country may wish to explore new horizons, relocate, or visit family members in foreign countries. The VA acknowledges that veterans’ healthcare needs, financial assistance, and other essential services should not be limited by geographical boundaries.

By incorporating foreign travel provisions, the VA aims to ensure that veterans continue to enjoy the plethora of benefits they rightfully earned while actively serving in the military, no matter where they choose to reside or travel. Foreign travel coverage under VA benefits is used for various purposes, primarily focusing on healthcare benefits and services. The VA’s Foreign Medical Program (FMP) is an essential aspect of these benefits, designed to support veterans with service-connected disabilities or those needing medical services as a result of their military service.

Through FMP, eligible veterans receive coverage for necessary medical treatments and medications while they are in a foreign country, thereby promoting their overall well-being. Additionally, the VA offers support and guidance in accessing foreign pensions, handling medical claims and reimbursements, and connecting with resources specific to the area where the veteran is residing or traveling. Ultimately, foreign travel coverage seeks to bridge geographical gaps and allow veterans to experience a seamless transition in support while they explore life outside of the United States.

Examples of Foreign Travel

The VA Benefits term “Foreign Travel” refers to scenarios and situations in which U.S. military veterans travel or reside outside the United States. Veterans Affairs offers benefits, services, and assistance to eligible veterans even if they’re not living in the United States. Here are three real-world examples related to Foreign Travel and VA Benefits:

Healthcare Abroad: A veteran who has been living in Germany and still requires healthcare services through the VA can access the VA’s Foreign Medical Program (FMP) for their service-connected disabilities. FMP serves as a healthcare benefits program for veterans residing or traveling in foreign countries and will reimburse veterans for the treatment they receive overseas.

Education Benefits: A veteran who wants to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill to study abroad can do so if the foreign institution is VA-approved and has a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. For instance, a veteran might choose to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, which is one of the VA-approved foreign institutions.

Compensation for Disability: A retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) veteran living in the Philippines experienced worsening of their service-connected disability. The veteran can continue to receive disability compensation from the VA while living abroad. To do so, they have to submit necessary forms and documentation, such as medical records, to the VA’s Foreign Services Department or the appropriate VA Regional Office for evaluation and processing of their claims.

FAQs on VA Benefits for Foreign Travel

1. Can I receive my VA benefits while I live or travel abroad?

Yes, you can receive your VA benefits, including disability compensations, pension payments, and education benefits, while living or traveling abroad. However, healthcare benefits may vary depending on the country and type of care required.

2. Will I lose my disability and pension benefits if I move to a foreign country?

No, moving to a foreign country won’t cancel your VA disability and pension benefits. But you must inform the VA of your new address to continue receiving your benefits without interruptions.

3. How can I access VA healthcare benefits while abroad?

VA healthcare benefits are generally not available outside the United States. Still, there are some exceptions for veterans living in Canada, the Philippines, and U.S. territories. Emergency medical care may be covered in certain situations when traveling outside the U.S, but it is not guaranteed. Veterans are encouraged to obtain comprehensive medical insurance before traveling abroad.

4. Can I use my GI Bill benefits to study abroad?

Yes, you can use your GI Bill benefits to study abroad. However, the program you choose must be approved by the VA, and you must be enrolled in a degree-seeking course at a U.S. institution with an accredited study abroad program.

5. How do I update my address with the VA if I’m moving abroad?

If you’re moving abroad, you can update your address with the VA by submitting a completed VA Form 21-4138 (Statement in Support of Claim) by mail, fax, or through the eBenefits website. To avoid delays, ensure you provide your complete foreign address, including a local mailing address if available.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Overseas military service benefits
  • Foreign Medical Program (FMP)
  • International Direct Deposit (IDD)
  • Emergency care abroad
  • Foreign pension rates

Sources for More Information

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