January 17, 2024

What Do They Check in an Immigration Medical Exam (IME)?

A Comprehensive Guide on What to Expect During a Canadian Immigration Medical Exam

Canadian Medical Exams

Canadian immigration medical exams are required for people applying for permanent residency and certain people applying for a temporary visit over six months to assess their health and admissibility. These exams aim to identify any medical conditions that may pose a public health risk, cause an excessive demand for healthcare services, or compromise public safety. The medical exams check what is necessary to verify that there are no conditions that would lead to these risks. 

Do You Need a Medical Exam?

For stays under six months, a medical exam is generally unnecessary, unless you’re planning to work in certain roles where public health must be protected, such as healthcare workers, clinical lab staff, medical students, those providing care to vulnerable individuals, and other similar jobs. Agricultural workers who have been in certain countries for over six months before coming to Canada may also require an exam. 

If you’re planning to stay longer than six months, a medical exam is needed if you’ve lived in certain designated countries for six or more months in the year before travelling to Canada, or if your visit involves work requiring public health protection. The requirement also applies to those applying for a parent and grandparent super visa. 

It’s essential to note that medical exam results are valid for only 12 months. Full requirements can be found on the Government of Canada website.

Types of Medical Exams

There are two types of immigration medical exams: streamlined and standard. You should be aware that you have the right to a chaperone at any time during the medical exam, regardless of the type of exam. You can request a staff member to be present in the room, and stop the exam at any time to ask questions or ask for a chaperone, even if you initially refused one.

Streamlined Medical Exam

The streamlined medical exam is used during urgent or exceptional situations as determined by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and is a simplified process. A medical history questionnaire is completed with the doctor, to identify any previous or existing medical conditions and any medications you are on. Omitting details may lengthen your processing time. Depending on your age, routine chest X-rays and laboratory tests may be conducted. The doctor will discuss any abnormal results with you. Further testing may be required, including a referral to a specialist based on your results. 

doctors adjusting x-ray machine

Standard Exam

As with the streamlined exam, the doctor will complete a medical history questionnaire with you. A physical exam will also be completed to check your weight, height, hearing, vision, blood pressure, heart rate and pulse, skin, and limb mobility. The doctor will also listen to your heart and lungs and feel your abdomen. The genital and rectal areas are excluded from the exam and won’t be checked. Breast examinations may be necessary, but the doctor will explain how it will be done and why it is required.

Based on your age, chest X-rays and laboratory tests, including blood and urine samples, may be required as part of routine screening. X-rays help identify various underlying issues such as tuberculosis; X-rays aren’t conducted if you are pregnant, to protect your growing fetus, but other prescribed tests will be necessary instead. Blood samples are taken to assess for major diseases like HIV, syphilis, and others, while a urine analysis will detect diabetes, kidney disease, and other significant illnesses or issues.

These are all routine screening methods; the doctor will advise you of any abnormal results and will discuss them with you.


You are encouraged to bring any proof of previous vaccinations such as:

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type B
  • Rotavirus

immunization history form

After the Exam

If you’re found to have inactive tuberculosis in your medical exam, you’ll be required to undergo medical surveillance once you’re in Canada to ensure that you get proper treatment.


All fees associated with the medical exam, such as the doctor or radiologist fee, costs for special tests, investigations, treatments, or consultations with specialists, must be paid at the time of the examination. If you decide to receive any vaccines offered, you may be responsible for their cost. Refugees and asylum seekers may be eligible for an exemption from paying fees for medical exams and vaccines.

Get Help With the Immigration Process

If you have questions about the Canadian immigration medical exam or have concerns about how any conditions you have may impact your residency application, Oro Immigration can help. We support those who are interested in visiting or immigrating to Canada, with services in Spanish and English, helping them understand admission requirements as well as other aspects of their application process.


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