May 15, 2023

What happens in an Immigration Medical Exam (IME)?

Posted by Legal Team - Bellissimo Law Group PC

As an important step towards protecting the public health and safety of Canadians, IRCC requires certain individuals to undergo a medical exam. This helps IRCC ensure that individuals are not inadmissible to Canada for medical reasons.

Who needs a medical examination?

If you are applying to become a temporary resident, you must have a medical exam done if you are planning on coming to Canada for more than 6 months and in the past year, have lived or travelled for 6 months in certain countries or territories. It is always required for a parent and grandparent super visa.

If you plan to stay for 6 months or less, you generally do not need a medical exam unless you plan on working certain jobs that bring you in close contact with people working in vulnerable industries, like the healthcare industry.

If you are applying to become a permanent resident, you must undergo a medical exam regardless of your country of citizenship or residence. Additionally, your family members must also submit their medical exam, even if they are not accompanying you.

Who can perform a medical examination?

Only Panel Physicians approved by IRCC can do the examination, and your own doctor cannot perform the examination unless they are mentioned on the list. Visit the Find a Panel Physician website to find a doctor you may visit in your country, territory, or region for your immigration medical exam.

When should I do the medical exam?

If you are applying for temporary residence (visit, study, and work), you have the option of getting an upfront medical exam done before you apply. This would allow IRCC to process your application without further delays. The panel physician will provide you with an information printout sheet and IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report Form which you must submit when you apply. If you get an exam after submitting your application, IRCC will send you instructions and you must go for your medical exam within 30 days of receiving these instructions.

Please note, for the parents and grandparents super visa, an upfront medical exam is required.

If you are applying under the Express Entry Program, you must do an upfront medical exam after you get your invitation to apply.  For all other permanent resident applications, IRCC will send you instructions and you must go for your medical exam within 30 days of receiving these instructions.

If you make a refugee claim at a port of entry, a Border Services Officer will tell you to get a medical exam within 30 days.

What to bring to a medical exam?

Once you book your appointment with a panel physician, you must bring the following documents to the appointment, in addition to any other documents requested by the doctor:

  • One government-issued document with your photograph and signature. You may also use a Canadian driver’s license, but only in Canada.
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses, if you wear them.
  • Any medical reports or test results for any previous or existing medical conditions.
  • A list of your current medications.
  • The Medical Report Form (IMM 1017E), IRCC will send you this form if you complete a medical exam after submitting your application.
  • Four recent photographs unless the panel physician uses eMedical.
  • Proof of vaccination for COVID-19 if you have one. This is not mandatory.

What to expect during a medical exam?

  • Identification: The office should ask for your identification, and note that pictures will also be taken for IRCC records. The panel physician will fill out a medical history questionnaire with you. It is important that you share accurate information.
  • Physical Examination: You will undergo a physical examination where the doctor or staff will

a) weigh you,

b) measure your height,

c) check hearing and vision,

d) take your blood pressure,

e) feel your pulse,

f) listen to your hearts and lungs,

g) feel your abdomen,

h) check how your limbs move and look at your skin.

They will not examine your genitals or rectal area as that is not required for the immigration medical exam. They may need to examine your breasts and will you provide you with an explanation of why and how the examination is being done.

  • Other Possible Tests: Depending on your age and other factors, the doctor may ask you to do chest x-rays and laboratory tests. This is routine screening, and any abnormal results will be disclosed to you. You may be referred to a specialist for more testing.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination: The panel physician may offer you a Government of Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine if it is available. However, vaccination is completely voluntary and is not required as a part of your exam.

Your Right to have a Chaperone: You have the right to a chaperone at any time during the medical exam. You can ask for one in the middle of the exam, even if you previously refused it. You are also allowed to ask that a medical clinic staff be present in the room with you.

If you are uncomfortable and have any questions, you may stop the exam at any time and address those concerns with your doctor.

Once the exam is finished, the physician will send the results to IRCC. The doctor will provide you with a confirmation that you have undergone the medical exam, which can be kept as proof to be attached with your application.

What you need to pay for?

You must pay all fees related to the medical exam when you’re there, including:

  • the fee for the doctor or radiologist;
  • any special tests, investigations or treatment needed; and
  • any specialists you need to see.

If an application is refused, the fees are not refunded. Refugees and asylum seekers are exempt from paying the fees.

How to include your medical exam results with your application?

If you had an upfront medical exam before sending in your application, then you must include a copy of the IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report form with your application. If the doctor works with eMedical, they’ll give you an information sheet print out to include with your application.

For permanent residence applicants applying through Express Entry, the doctor will provide you with an information print out sheet and IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report which must be submitted with your documents when you apply online.

If you had your medical exam after submitting your application, you don’t need to send IRCC anything.

Do I get to keep a copy of my medical exam?

Copies of medical exam results can be requested from the doctor while at their office. Medical reports and x-rays for the medical exam become IRCC’s property and will not be returned to you.

How long are your medical exam results valid?

Your medical exam results are valid for 12 months only.

If you are a student or a worker who received a letter of introduction after November 30, 2021, the letter will mention the date your results expire.

For permanent resident applicants applying through Express Entry, if you complete a medical exam after you get your ITA, the results must be valid when you submit your application for PR and receive PR in Canada. Therefore, it is recommended that you complete the exam as close as possible to the date you plan to submit your online application.

If you do not come to Canada within the time frame allotted, you may need to do another exam.

 Temporary Public Policy Exemption for In-Canada Applicants

IRCC has implemented a temporary public policy for immigration medical exams (IMEs) for In-Canada applicants until October 6, 2024.

If you completed an IME within 5 years of submitting your new application, include the IME number (or the unique medical identifier number) from your previous exam in your current application.

You may be exempt from completing another IME if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You applied, or are applying, for either permanent residence or temporary residence.
  • You already live in Canada.
  • You completed your previous IME in the last 5 years.
  • Your previous IME indicated a low risk or no risk to public health or public safety.

Medical Surveillance:

Medical surveillance is a medical check-up for a person who has newly arrived in Canada, to check that their inactive tuberculosis hasn’t progressed to an active tuberculosis disease. Medical surveillance is required for anyone who was assessed as having inactive tuberculosis on their IME. You need to provide IRCC with your contact information in Canada. The public health authority will contact you if a medical surveillance is needed and is responsible for arranging your appointment. You are required to report to a doctor if you begin experiencing any signs or symptoms of active tuberculosis.

Inactive tuberculosis is the only medical condition for which medical surveillance is currently required.