Frequently Asked Questions
Your company has partnered with International SOS to provide you with medical and security advice and assistance before, during and after assignments abroad.
Prior to travel, it is highly recommended you view our online country guide. If you need more in-depth information or have questions specific to your personal health and safety, call the International SOS assistance centre before you travel.
Download our FAQ document:
Who is International SOS?
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help you meet compliance reporting needs for good governance. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.
Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group is trusted by 11,000 organisations, including over half of the Fortune Global 500, multi-national corporate clients and mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 11,000 multi-cultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.
To protect your workforce, visit www.internationalsos.com.
Who is International SOS and Control Risks?
Our alliance brings together two of the world’s leading medical and security specialists, International SOS and Control Risks. Our combined resources and expertise are well placed to meet the customers’ growing need for integrated travel security risk services. Our solutions ensure that mobile employees are safe and productive and help employers with their duty of care obligations.
50 dedicated experts, located across the globe with access to over 200 dedicated travel security experts through 26 regional Assistance Centres and a partner network of over 700 accredited providers, produce global travel security information and analysis 24/7. We also provide travel security training, preventative travel assessment, support with the development of travel security risk policies, evacuation plans and the latest technology to enable clients to track and communicate with their mobile employees.
What is an Assistance Centre?
Our Assistance Centres are 24/7/365 call centres staffed by doctors and nurses, security experts, multilingual coordinators, and logistics support personnel. We can respond rapidly to any type of call for routine assistance or in an emergency.
When should I call an Assistance Centre?
You can call International SOS with a simple medical or security question or in an emergency. As a member you get 24/7 expert advice and assistance.
Pre travel advice and assistance:
- Consult Country Medical Guides and Travel Security Online for your destination.
- Call an Assistance Centre to ask about any specific medical or security concerns (i.e. what vaccinations do I need? Is it safe in the east part of the city?)
- Subscribe to medical, travel and/or risk email alerts through your International SOS online site.
Advice and assistance while you’re away:
- Call an Assistance Centre if you have routine or emergency medical and/or travel security concerns.
- Call an Assistance Centre if you need to find a medical service such as doctor, clinic or dentist.
- International SOS can arrange hospital admission and take care of the medical expenses on behalf of your company or insurer.
Response in an emergency:
- Call an Assistance Centre immediately.
- We will provide immediate advice and then start making necessary arrangements.
- We will coordinate emergency medical care or security support.
Advice and assistance post travel:
- Call an Assistance Centre if you feel unwell.
- We will provide immediate advice and recommendations.
- International SOS can assist with arranging follow-up care or hospital admission if required.
How can I contact an Assistance Centre?
- Contact the Assistance Centre, available 24/7, by calling + 33 155 633 155 (Paris) or +44 (0) 208 762 8008 (London), or any of our other 26 Assistance Centres.
- Call a local Assistance Centre via the International SOS Assistance App.
Is there any helpful pre-travel information available?
In addition to calling the Assistance Centre for any pre-trip questions you may have, as we strongly encourage you to log into our information portal at www.internationalsos.com using your unique membership number. The portal gives you access to country guides and online medical and security reports, and enables you to sign up for email alerts.
Our country guides provide you with essential information such as: vaccination requirements, passport and visa requirements, quality of health care, advice on prevalent diseases, personal and driving safety information, hygiene: quality of food and water, culture and customs, currency, weather and what clothes to take, compatibility of electrical items, and personal safety advice. This information helps you to prepare for your destination in order to mitigate potential risks.
Are there online resources I can access?
Accessed via the International SOS homepage, the portal provides detailed information covering all medical and healthcare issues. These range from clinics, local medical facilities, vaccination requirements, advice on prevalent diseases and special precautions regarding your destination.
The Travel Security section provides up-to-date advice and information for the business traveller on a range of issues. These include travel security threats and short term travel disruption, how to get around, staying safe, embassy contact details and a range of practical considerations regarding your destination.
To subscribe to email alerts:
- Log onto www.internationalsos.com.
- Input your membership number then click on the arrow to enter the site.
- Click on “Email Alerts”.
- Register for alerts as required.
Also download the International SOS Assistance App prior to travel via app.internationalsos.com. The App allows you to access your membership easily and read our latest travel security and medical advice wherever you are. It also provides you with a one-click dial to your nearest Assistance Centre; so you can stay in touch with us and informed on the go wherever you are.
Do I have to pay to use my membership?
As a member, our services are complimentary to you. Your organisation has placed their trust in the worldwide capability and experience of International SOS.
Do I need to activate my membership?
No, your membership is already active. Simply carry your membership card in your wallet at all times while travelling. Whenever you need assistance, contact one of our Assistance Centre numbers listed on the back of the card.
What if I need medical advice or a referral to a doctor or dentist?
If you have any medical concerns, minor or serious, your first contact should be our Assistance Centre. Our multilingual medical staff will listen to your concerns, offer advice and if necessary, direct you to the appropriate local healthcare provider for treatment. Also, we can help you arrange an appointment at the nearest centre of medical excellence.
International SOS also operates wholly owned, international standard clinics around the world. Each clinic offers primary care, diagnostic care and 24/7 emergency care. Additionally, many clinics have international-standard pharmacies, laboratory services and diagnostic services. Many are also equipped to offer x-ray and ultrasound tests, dentistry, physical therapy and counselling. Whenever possible, please call your nearest Assistance Centre before visiting an International SOS clinic. They can provide initial medical advice and inform you of clinic access requirements.
What if I am hospitalised?
Call International SOS as soon as possible or have someone do so on your behalf. International SOS will immediately take steps to evaluate the care you are receiving and determine what actions must be taken to ensure your safe and speedy recovery.
What if I need medicine or equipment?
If you’ve lost or run out of medication, first aid equipment or other supplies, we can help you replace it (in accordance with local and international regulations). In some cases we send fresh supplies, get you a prescription from your doctor at home, or if required arrange a prescription from a local physician.
What if local medical facilities are not adequate?
If you are hospitalised in an area where adequate medical facilities are not available, International SOS will obtain approval from your company to move you to a medical facility capable of providing the required care. A physician supervises these movements, and when necessary, a medical specialist or nurse will accompany you during the transportation. A commercial flight or air ambulance will be used when required.
What happens when I am released from the hospital and still need help?
When your condition is stabilised and International SOS has determined that it is medically advisable to bring you home or to a facility near your permanent residence, International SOS will again obtain approval from your company and arrange the repatriation under medical supervision.
What other travel assistance services do you help members with?
International SOS assists you with replacing important travel documents (e.g. passport, credit cards). If you have a change in plans we can advise you on how to extend your visa or get further vaccinations. International SOS can refer you to a lawyer or interpreter, help to replace lost tickets, and if your company authorises, we can also provide emergency cash advances. However, for routine travel arrangement please use your company’s travel management provider.