Overcome Medical Inadmissibility to Canada

Last updated: 25 January 2024

Every applicant for a Canadian immigration visa, and some applicants for temporary status in Canada, are required to undergo a medical examination.

Though medical examinations are generally confined to a standard physical exam, including blood tests, urine tests, and x-rays, prior medical records and the applicant's mental state are also examined. You still have options if you have been denied admissibility to Canada due to medical reasons, or are concerned you will be deemed medically inadmissible.


Table of Contents

Conditions for Medical Inadmissibility

Applicants for a Canadian immigration (i.e. permanent residence) visa may be found medically inadmissible, if:

  • Their medical condition might reasonably be expected to endanger the health or safety of the Canadian population at large; or

  • Their admission might be reasonably expected to cause excessive demand on Canada’s publicly funded health and social services.*

When determining whether any person is medically inadmissible to Canada, the medical officer is obliged to consider the nature, severity, and probable duration of any health impairment from which the person is suffering as well as other factors, such as:

  • Danger of contagion;

  • Unpredictable or unusual behaviour that may create a danger to public health and public safety; and

  • If the supply of social or health services that the person may require in Canada will place excessive demand on health services, thereby depriving Canadian nationals of health or social services.

When it comes to permanent residency and refusals based medical inadmissibility, it is possible to consider seeking a legal remedy by demonstrating that the applicant will, in fact, not exceed the estimated average costs of medical treatment of Canadians, or that there are important humanitarian and compassionate considerations that should warrant an exception.

This can be done by providing a detailed response to a procedural fairness letter from the government prior to a refusal or by seeking a judicial review in Federal Court of Canada if the decision appears unreasonable.

*NOTE: The excessive demand component is waived under the Family Sponsorship category of Canada immigration for a dependent family member (spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner and dependent children) of the sponsor. However, the sponsored person(s) still may be refused if their health condition is expected to cause excessive risk to Canadian public health or safety.

Overcoming Medical Inadmissibility

A medical inadmissibility finding can be overcome, depending on the person’s health condition. Examples of such health conditions include, but are not limited to, the following list of medical conditions:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Cardiac Disease

  • Crohn's Disease

  • Diabetes

  • Cancers

  • Autoimmune Disease, such as AIDS, Lupus

  • Learning Disabilities related to Pervasive Development Disorder requiring special education

  • Autism

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Down Syndrome

  • Psychiatric Disorders

  • Blood Disorders

  • Hepatitis B & C

  • Liver Disease

  • Tuberculosis

  • Brain Disorders

  • Rare Diseases and Conditions

  • Total Knee Replacement

In certain circumstances, for temporary stays in Canada, an individual who does not meet the Canadian medical admissibility requirements may be granted a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to enter Canada and overcome medical inadmissibility.

Applying for a Temporary Resident Permit to Overcome Medical Inadmissibility

After you or your immigration lawyer have compiled all the required Canadian immigration documents to complete a TRP application, you must then submit it to the Canadian immigration authorities for consideration.

If you are an American citizen or have permanent resident status in the United States, you can submit your temporary resident permit application to overcome medical inadmissibility at any Canadian consulate or port of entry (land, sea or air).

Canadian Consulate Applications

Although applying for a Canadian TRP through a Canadian consulate involves significant processing time (3-6 months), it is considered to be the best approach to submitting temporary resident permit applications to Canadian immigration authorities. This is because a decision will be made by an experienced immigration officer who understands the various reasons why your entry could be justified.

To apply for a TRP, you will need to submit an application with supporting documents explaining the reason for your medical inadmissibility and why your entry into Canada may be justified.

Port of Entry Applications

Applications for a temporary resident permit at a port of entry are available to foreign nationals who are making last-minute travel plans. Port of entry applications are processed immediately at airports, land crossings or sea entry points, anywhere a passport would be required to enter the country.

A Canadian immigration officer will weigh the inadmissible person's need to enter Canada against the danger to public health and security of the Canadian population. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their entry into Canada is justified on health grounds.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Port of Entry Applications

The primary advantage of applying in this manner is the speed with which a person can acquire a TRP, which may be granted in a matter of minutes.

The main disadvantage of a port of entry application is the uncertainty; you don’t know whether your application will be approved or denied by the immigration officer that handles your case. If denied, you will not be allowed to enter Canada until you have received an approval from a Canadian consulate.

If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you will need to apply for a temporary resident permit based on the guidelines set out by your specific country, as each country’s application form may be different.

Government Application Fee

A fee of $229.77 CAD applies for each temporary resident permit application submitted.

Have you received a Procedural Fairness Letter?

If you have received a procedural fairness letter, you may only have a short time to submit a response.

In most cases, your opportunity to respond could range from 7 to 30 days. In response, a legal opinion letter which cites any relevant law, case precedents, and corroborated evidence, is suggested to increase the likelihood of gaining medical admissibility status.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone who applies for Canadian immigration must undergo a medical assessment to identify potential threats to Canadian public health or that could cause excessive demands on the health care system. These assessments include a physical examination, as well as blood and urine tests.

They remain valid for one year following the examination. If your visa has not been issued within a year of your last examination, you will have to undergo another medical examination.

If you are affected by a disease or disorder that could pose significant health risks to the Canadian population, you could be considered medically inadmissible.

Any condition that poses a threat to public health, or that could cause excessive demands on health or social service, could result in a finding of medical inadmissibility.

Yes, exceptions can be made for spouses, common-law or conjugal partners and dependent children through the Family Sponsorship category.

Pregnant applicants do not have to undergo x-rays as part of their assessment, however, after the birth of the child, both the infant and mother must undergo medical examinations.

Recognized medical examinations are performed by Designated Panel Physicians in many countries. For Canadian immigration visa applications, applicants can use the services of a designated panel physician in any part of the world.

Both accompanying and non-accompanying dependents must undergo medical examinations. In certain circumstances, a non-accompanying dependent who is unwilling or unable to undergo a medical examination could be exempted. But, the non-accompanying dependents will not be eligible for sponsorship through the Family Sponsorship category.

About Cohen Immigration Law

Cohen Immigration Law is one of Canada's leading immigration law firms. We have over 45 years of experience and feature a team of over 60 Canadian immigration attorneys, paralegals, and other dedicated professionals.

CanadaVisa.com was founded in 1994 as the online presence of Cohen Immigration Law. Since then, CanadaVisa has grown into one of the world's most trusted resources on immigration to Canada. Please connect with us so we can support your inadmissibility needs.

Get a Free Legal Consultation