My Spouse Cannot Get a Medical Exam for Their Dependent Child

Sample Medical Report

When you are sponsoring a foreign spouse you must submit the necessary criminal and medical checks for your spouse and all their dependent children, whether those children are accompanying your spouse to Canada, or they will remain in their home country with their other parent. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is very clear about this issue: all family members – whether they will accompany the sponsored spouse or not – must be “declared and examined” on the application form. That means medical checks for everyone and a check of criminal records for children who are 18 years old as well.  This includes any children who are “in the custody of a former spouse or common-law partner.” This is to ensure that if they wish to join you and your sponsored spouse at a later date, they will be able to do so.

This can be a problem if your sponsored spouse has children with a former partner with whom he or she has little or no contact. The ex-partner may be unwilling to allow your sponsored spouse to have access to his or her child in order to get the medical exam done. Unfortunately, given CIC’s policy for sponsorship applications, you and your sponsored spouse will have to find a way to enable your sponsored spouse’s estranged child to undergo the medical exam.


What Not to Do

  • Do not leave any estranged child of your sponsored spouse off the application form. You will be violating your obligation to provide accurate and truthful information and your sponsored spouse may be deemed inadmissible to Canada. You may also be unable to sponsor anyone else in the future. You may be committing a federal crime as well by being untruthful in your application.
  • Do not try to fake a medical exam with an unauthorized doctor. There is a list of so-called “panel physicians” in Canada and around the world who have been approved by Canadian immigration authorities to do medical exams for immigration purposes. If you have an exam done by a doctor who is not on this list, you will be asked to provide proof of an exam done by an approved doctor. You will also be providing untruthful information with the consequences listed in the above point. 


What To Do

You or your sponsored spouse should first try to convince the ex-partner to allow the estranged child to submit to a medical exam by an approved panel physician. 

  • You can try to quote CIC regulations to the estranged partner, explaining that a missing medical exam will hurt his or her chances of being accepted as a sponsored spouse.
  • Or you could hire a local lawyer and/or immigration consultant to contact the ex-partner and explain why the child needs to submit to a medical, even though the child is not accompanying the sponsored spouse to Canada.
  • It should be made clear to the ex-partner that the child’s medical exam is a CIC requirement, and does not mean the child will be taken to Canada with the sponsored spouse.
  • As well, the consultant should explain that if at some later date the child wants to study in Canada, for example, they will not be able to be sponsored by the parent or by you if the child did not take the medical exam previously. This will greatly reduce the child’s future chances of studying or working in Canada.

CIC officials will ask you to get the medical exam done. They may do so repeatedly. If you are convinced that a medical exam cannot be obtained for the estranged child, then you and your sponsored spouse will need to gather as much evidence as possible in writing to show why it was not possible to get access to the child and get the medical exam. Any of the following documentation, if possible, should be gathered:

  • Child custody documents;
  • Sworn declarations or affidavits;
  • Emails correspondence or letters that documents the ex-partner’s refusal to allow the medical exam;
  • Text messages or copies of that also document the ex-partner’s refusal to allow the medical exam;
  • Any other documentation – sworn or notarized if possible – that attests to the ex-partner’s refusal to allow the child to take the medical exam.

You the sponsor, as well as your spouse, are essentially waiving your rights to sponsor the child at some future date by not submitting the medical exam. You will have to sign a form stating that you understand and agree to this waiver of your rights to sponsor your spouse’s child at any point in the future. It is best, therefore, to do all that is possible and reasonable to enable the estranged child to take the medical exam.

See other Frequently Asked Questions about dependent children

Please note that should your former partner not allow your child to be examined, CIC may still refuse your spouse's application for permanent residence even if you provide evidence that it was not possible for them to obtain the exam.

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