Immigrating to Canada: Tattoos and Medical Exam Results

While some people don’t appreciate tattoos, others see them as art. They get tattooed for different reasons, including self-expression, rebellion, fashion, artistic freedom, attention, spiritual or cultural traditions, etc. But if you’re applying for a Canadian visa, should you be worried that it will affect your medical exam result?

Medical Reasons You May Be Inadmissible to Canada

Whatever the purpose of your visa application is – a short visit, study, work, or live permanently, you have to undergo a medical test performed by an approved panel physician. Almost all countries have authorized physicians, so it must not be an issue finding a panel doctor. If you’re inside the country, you can find them everywhere. You can visit the page of CIC or search “panel physician near me” to find one in your area.

Here are the three reasons you may be denied entry to Canada:

1. Danger to Public Health

One of the Canadian government’s priorities is to protect the health of its citizens and permanent residents. Based on the result of your medical exam, immigration officials will look into your laboratory tests and any other reports from medical experts designated by the immigration. 

They may refuse your application if you have the following infectious diseases:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Active syphilis
  • If you’ve been in direct contact with other individuals with infectious disease

2. Danger to Public Safety

If the result of your medical test shows risks of the following conditions, you are considered a threat to public safety:

  • Unpredictable or violent behavior
  • Loss of physical and mental abilities or sudden incapacity

3. Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services

The Canadian government can also deny your application if they believe that your health condition causes excessive health and social services demand. A specific medical condition causes an excessive demand under these circumstances:

  • The services required to manage and treat your health condition would tend to cost more than the excessive demand cost threshold.
  • The health or social services to treat your health condition would negatively impact wait times for services in the country.

Who Are Exempt from Medical Inadmissibility to Canada?

Everybody who wants to enter Canada to study, visit, work, or live permanently must undergo a medical exam. But the following are exempt from the excessive demand threshold:

  • Refugees and their dependents
  • Protected individuals and some people who their family sponsored: dependent children, spouses, common-law partners.

How to Improve Application Success?

Before your application, ensure that you meet the requirements to be considered admissible to Canada. Research and understand the medical exam process because the results are one of the deciding factors to approve your application or not. It’s also vital that you start adopting a healthy lifestyle at least a few weeks before your medical test.

On top of these, if you know you have medical and mental conditions that can impact your medical exam result, consider working with medical and legal immigration professionals. 


Because the Canadian immigration laws did not directly include having a tattoo as inadmissible, tattooed applicants should not worry. However, your panel physician may request you to have an additional test, such as the Hepa B antigen screening. Also, note that some companies or employers may not allow workers with tattoos, especially offensive ones.

As part of our preparation, be ready to explain what your tattoo means, should they ask. If possible, look for a document that explains it. For instance, present your child’s birth certificate if you have a tattoo with their name. Visit this website for more information about Canada’s immigration medical exam process.