Completing your application — Proof of a medical exam (if applicable)
Not all Working Holiday, Young professionals and International Co-op applicants are required to take a medical exam.
When do I have to take a medical exam?
You have to take a medical exam:
- If you stated you want to work with children, in healthcare or as a caregiver in Canada.
- If you recently lived in one or more countries Canada designated as having risk factors for tuberculosis. In the list of countries, look for “YES” in the “Immigration Medical Exam (IME) required” column to see if a medical exam is required.
- If you have a physical or mental condition requiring ongoing treatment in Canada.
- If you or someone in your family has or had TB.
If you disclosed a chronic illness or a long-term condition in your background questions, you also have to take a medical exam. When you meet the panel physician (the designated doctor approved by IRCC), you should bring all your relevant medical documents (test results, medical records, specialist reports, current status, prognosis, etc.) so that the doctor has the information in hand to assess your situation and explain it to IRCC.
When you’re issued your work permit upon landing in Canada, make sure that it doesn’t have the following condition: “Not authorized to work in 1) child care 2) primary or secondary school teaching 3) health services field occupations.” If you took a medical exam, this condition is removed.
When to get your medical exam?
If you’re applying for a Working Holiday work permit, it’s best to wait for an Invitation to Apply to book an appointment with a panel physician (doctor approved and designated by IRCC and mandated for work permits or permanent residence applications medical exams). You’ll have to pay a fee for your medical exam. Don’t waste money since you may not receive the invitation as demand exceeds supply.
If you’re applying for a Young Professionals or International Co-op work permit and you know you are required to take a medical exam, you can make an appointment when you submit your application. Just make sure the quota isn’t filled yet.
Women shouldn’t schedule the medical exam during their period (and up to four days after) because menstrual blood can affect the urine test results.
Keep in mind that you only have 20 days to complete the form, submit the documents—including your medical exam form—and pay the fees from the day you accept the Invitation to Apply. So, before clicking on “Start application,” call the nearest panel physician to find out when is the next available appointment.
The panel physician will give you proof of medical exam at the end of the visit. You’ll have to include the “IMM 1017B-Upfront” form with your application.
If you can’t get an appointment within the 20-day period, IRCC advise applicants to provide proof of appointment in lieu of proof of medical exam.
IMPORTANT: in Apply for a work permit — International Experience Canada, it says that:
“If you can’t complete a medical exam before the deadline to submit your work permit, you may submit proof that you have made an appointment to get one.”
How much does a medical exam cost?
Fees vary from one physician to another and from one country to another. For example, applicants living in Sydney, Australia, may be charged up to AUD600.
This medical exam isn’t covered by your national health care system and it’s unlikely a private insurance covers it—these are out-of-pocket expenses. Remember to keep payment receipts, just in case.
Not only do you pay for your medical exam fees even if your work permit is denied—they won’t be refunded if your work permit is issued either!
What should I expect during the medical exam?
Panel physicians are just like regular doctors. They aren’t trying to prevent you from going to Canada or crush your dream. Generally speaking, they are pretty nice and they may even answer health-related questions about Canada.
The physical and the tests are usually done the same day, so plan accordingly—you may be there for a little while. When you book your appointment, don’t hesitate to ask the reception desk for more details about the visit.
- The medical exam is much like a routine physical. The doctor will do a quick eye exam, check your height and weight and do a reflex test. Depending on your medical history, other tests or exams could be performed.
- You will have to answer a number of questions about your medical history and lifestyle. For example, you may be asked if you smoke, if you’ve ever had surgery, if you drink, if you’ve ever had unprotected sex, etc.
- You will also need to get a chest X-ray. The doctor will give you a document for the radiology department. You must see the doctor before doing the chest X-ray.
- Finally, lab tests will be done (blood work for syphilis and HIV testing plus urinalysis). You’ll sign a consent form for HIV testing and the doctor will give you forms for the lab. You must see the doctor before the lab tests.
The doctor will tell you where to go and what to do for the X-ray and lab tests. Results will be sent directly to the doctor, who will submit them to IRCC. This means that you won’t get your test results unless you ask the doctor to send them to you.
However, if an infection is detected, you’ll be informed.
Your test results will not automatically be sent to you. If you want to receive them, you must ask the doctor (during your medical visit).
IRCC states that:
“Medical reports and X-rays for the medical exam become our property. We cannot return them to you.”
Additional medical exam required—what’s this?
Rarely, you may be required to take additional medical tests (additional medical exam requirements):
- The panel physician may order them directly during your initial visit (for instance, blood tests for hepatitis C for those who have a tattoo).
- You could also receive a letter from IRCC with instructions to return to the panel physician and a sealed envelope for the doctor. You will have to contact the panel physician again and give him the sealed enveloped (don’t open it!). The doctor will follow the instructions in the letter for further investigations.
Most of the time, the doctor will ask you to send him the sealed envelope to save you a trip in person—he will contact you after reading it. Along with the sealed envelope, you’ll find a letter and a document to fill out and send back to IRCC after the additional exams are completed. When you need to take additional medical requirements, your application is put on hold but you won’t lose your spot.
What documents should I bring to the medical exam?
On the day of the medical exam, make sure to bring:
- A valid piece of ID with your photo and signature (i.e. passport, ID card or driver’s licence)
- Your glasses or contacts (if applicable)
- Any medical reports or test results related to current or past health conditions (if applicable)
- 4 recent photos may be required if the doctor doesn’t use eMedical (enquire when you book the appointment)
The doctor may ask you to bring additional documents. Take your national health card with you.
If you’re living with a chronic illness or a long-term condition, it’s probably a good idea to bring a letter or a detailed report from your regular doctor or specialist explaining your health issue. This letter is very important, especially if you have a long-term condition—lack of proper medical history and background is often what prompts IRCC to require additional medical exams.
How long are medical exam results valid for?
Your medical exam results are valid for 12 months only. If you don’t come to Canada within that timeframe, you may need to take another exam.
Main articles about the WHV to Canada
Step-By-Step Guide to International Experience Canada Work Permits
Introduction to the Canada Working Holiday permit
Guide to Working Holiday in Canada (free download)
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
The duration of your insurance coverage directly impacts your WHV
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller