American Academy of Physician Assistants

International Practice

Practicing abroad is a great way to enhance your experience as a PA – both professionally and personally. But international practice requires more preparation than practicing in the U.S. Review FAQs about international practice for answers to the most common questions and be sure to consider the following:

International licensure

Section HP-3700.3.1 states that PAs must establish the appropriate physician-PA team:

  • With an American or local physician in the country. Essentially, there are no licensing laws or practice acts for PAs working abroad.
  • Make special arrangements through the ministry of health of the host country.

Licensing matters also include physician supervision of PAs. Problems may arise if the physician and the PA are licensed by different states.

Liability coverage

Liability insurers may have requirements and obligations that are outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Contact your liability insurance carrier to see if they offer coverage for practicing abroad. You may also contact the PA association (if any) in your county of interest.

Transporting medical supplies

You MUST research customs regulations and weight requirements prior to transporting medical supplies into another country, especially if you are carrying prescription drugs. Generally, you will need a ministry of health contact at your destination to help you get through customs with medical supplies.

When it comes to transporting medical supplies, work with an established organization rather than trying to transport them on your own.

There are organizations that will help you transport medical supplies into different countries, or provide you with pre-packaged travel packs.

You should also familiarize yourself with the Drug Donation Guidelines and the Health Care Equipment Donation Guidelines (PDF) developed by the World Health Organization.

Ethical practice

All PAs working internationally should adhere to the AAPA Guidelines for PAs Working Internationally and the AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession.