Medical examination for a visa or immigration to Canada
Norvin, a citizen of Nicaragua, is in the process of immigration to Canada. He has recently received a letter from IRCC to do his medical examination. Norvin wonders how to do the medical examination and the consequences. Furthermore, he wants to know who may conduct such examinations.
Table of contents
Why are medical examinations necessary?
Canada welcomes thousands of immigrants and temporary residents. However, these people must not endanger the health and safety of Canadians. Our country enjoys a Universal Healthcare system that offers accessible and affordable healthcare services to residents. The immigration authorities do not want to allow newcomers to jeopardize this system by putting too much pressure on it. Therefore, foreign nationals destined for Canada must undergo medical examinations. The measures based on the outcome help protect the current residents’ health and safety and avoid extra stress on Universal Healthcare. For example, authorities may make some individuals inadmissible to Canada on medical grounds.
Who needs to do medical examinations?
Paragraph 16(2)(b) of the Immigration Act (IRPA) mandates foreign nationals to do medical examinations. However, it leaves the details to the Regulations (IRPR). Under paragraph 30(1)(a) of IRPR, the following people must go through medical examinations:
- PR applicants and their family members, whether accompanying or not accompanying
- Work permit applicants in childcare, primary or secondary school teaching, and healthcare services.
- Temporary residents who intend to remain in Canada for more than six months: However, they have resided for more than six months in a designated country 12 months before their arrival.
- Refugee claimants
- PRRA applicants
Sometimes an officer has reasonable grounds to believe a person is inadmissible to Canada because of medical issues. In such circumstances, the officer may ask a person to do medical examinations despite not being on the above list. Sometimes, subsequent medical examinations are also necessary. For example, if the Minister designates a region and the foreign national visits that region for more than six months.
Who is exempt?
You could rightfully conclude not being on the previous section’s list makes you exempt from medical examination. Moreover, the following people are exempt:
- Most diplomats and foreign government representatives
- The family members of those diplomats, unless they decide to seek employment in Canada
- Most visiting armed forces under agreements signed by Canada and another country
- A family member of a protected person if they are not in the PR application by that person
- A non-accompanying family member of a foreign national who has applied for refugee protection outside Canada [practitioners see R30(1)(b)-(g)]
The Minister may issue public policies to exempt certain people from medical examinations. Click here for an example.
The process of medical examinations
You usually receive an Immigration Medical Examination (IME) letter to do medical examinations. Certain applicants may do an Upfront Medical Examination without an IME letter. Regardless, you must visit a Panel Physician (i.e., an IRCC-approved medical doctor) for this purpose (rare exceptions exist). The physician runs the following tests (practitioners see R29):
(a) physical examination;
(b) mental examination;
(c) review of past medical history;
(d) laboratory test;
(e) diagnostic test; and
(f) medical assessment of records respecting the applicant.
Depending on your health conditions, the physician may refer you to a specialist for further investigation. They eventually generate a report and share it with IRCC via a secure online portal. Furthermore, a Medical Officer reviews the information. They then advise the Immigration Officer if they suspect you are inadmissible to Canada on medical grounds. You will receive a Procedural Fairness Letter (PFL) upon such suspicions. Of course, if you pass this stage, you won’t be inadmissible on health grounds.
How to locate a panel physician
Panel physicians operate in most countries in the world. When you receive an IME letter, you may refer to any of them for medical examinations. Consequently, if you are outside your home country, don’t panic. If you have all your documents with you, you could even do medical examinations in the country where you are currently residing. However, ensure you can present all medical records the physician requires (e.g., your surgery history and list of medications). To locate a panel physician, click here.
We could help!
I am not a panel physician and cannot run medical examinations. However, if you are facing a PFL for medical inadmissibility or other visa and immigration issues, I could help. Please fill out the following form, and we will contact you. Alternatively, you could book a consultation session with me. We also offer a set of assessment forms, but we only contact you if we find an opportunity for you.
Read this in Spanish
Would you please fill out our free assessment form if you wish to visit or move to Canada? We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal immigration advice from a licensed practitioner.
Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!
This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.
The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.
For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.