3. WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS REGARDING SPECIFIC ILLNESSES AND MEDICATION?
With the Trump administration in office it is no surprise that travel and security regulations have become stricter. Most importantly, regarding health problems, medication, and medical devices.
Keeping the following in mind can save you unnecessary stress at the airport with TSA.
First things first, you will have to comply with the regulations of all these three organizations:
- TSA (Transportation security agency)
- FDA (Food and drug administration)
- Border Patrol and Customs.
Let’s start with medications.
To make your security check easier, you will have to prepare in advance.
Firstly, if you have specific medication that needs to be taken during your visit in the USA, you will have to get a doctor’s note or letter (in English) stating that, you, their patient, really need to take these prescribed pills or liquids. Make sure the doctor also provides their stamp to make it credible. Also, keep the medication in its official packaging.
If your country prints a label on the packaging of prescribed medication, then this will also help greatly as then the official at security can see that they are intended for you personally.
Secondly, put your medication in a separate zip-lock bag to have it go separately through x-ray, this will make the checking process quicker and easier with no misunderstandings. Do note that if the medication is not approved for use in the USA, the TSA official may discard of your medication. However, this is unlikely.
Important Note: As you are traveling to the USA with an ESTA, which permits travelers to stay in the USA for no longer than 90 days, then you may also pack the needed medication only for the period you are staying in the USA. If you are taking a pill a day and your visit is 40 days, then you cannot bring more than 40 pills with you into America.
Keep in mind to not travel with huge amounts of medication with you (including regular painkillers like Ibuprofen), and you will be fine.
Now, let’s talk about medical devices.
Medical devices include oxygen tanks, a wheelchair, medication pumps, prosthesis, casts and other assistive devices.
If your medical device can be removed, you will be asked to do so, as the TSA will have to check it separately while you will be seated in a designated waiting area. The same will apply for oxygen tanks unless you will have a written letter from your doctor specifically stating that the oxygen machine CANNOT be removed from the patient.
As for portable oxygen tanks, make sure yours is approved for in-flight use.
To save time going through security, have a legitimate doctor’s letter in English by hand to show to the custom’s officials proving that the medical devices are indeed needed for health reasons (this includes needles, coolers and other supplies for insulin-dependent individuals).
As for special diseases, illnesses and medical conditions.
Please note that the customs agents are trained to observe and notice health issues that may be a threat to others.
Therefore, if you have or are traveling with someone who is blind or has a vision impairment, is deaf or hearing impaired or wearing a hearing aid, notify the TSA agents so special steps can be taken in order to check the individual properly. Same goes for mental illnesses, dementia and learning disabilities.
Keep in mind that there are also communicable diseases (AIDS, HIV, HEP C), with whom a person can be denied entrance in the USA.
Although it may seem like a hassle just to pass through U.S. security check, note that all airport security checks are done carefully to ensure the safety of that county’s citizens.
You will not be denied entering in the USA due to medication or medical devices. Simply make the process go smoothly by having a doctor’s note with you for all medications and/or medical devices, and you will be fine.