Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: May 26, 2024

Medical examination for a visa or immigration to Canada

Medical examination in Canada for visa or immigration purposes

Norvin, a Nicaraguan citizen, is in the process of immigration to Canada. He recently received a letter from IRCC to undergo a medical examination. Norvin wonders how to do the examination and the consequences. Furthermore, he wants to know who may conduct such examinations.

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:

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, the foreign nationals visit 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 and share a report 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. You may refer to any of them for medical examinations when you receive an IME letter. 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.

The documents you need for an Immigration Medical Examination

Panel physicians have the final say about the documents you need, but prepare to provide the following documents.

  • Original passport and other forms of ID
  • Copy of the Biodata page of your Passport and the page with the VISA stamped
  • Immigration Document with UCI number such as work permit, study permit, or visitor record (if available)
  • Covid COVID-19 vaccination records (if applicable)
  • Any documents related to your medical history
  • Documents reflecting your Residential Address

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.

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    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

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    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.

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    Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

    Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.