Canada Immigration Medical Test: Is Having a Tattoo a Problem?

Tattooing has been an ancient practice. While some people don’t appreciate tattoos, others see them as art. They get tattoos for various reasons, such as self-expression, rebellion, fashion, artistic freedom, attention, spiritual or cultural traditions, etc. 

But when you’re applying for a Canadian immigration visa, should it be a concern? Here are some helpful facts you may need to know:

Medical Reasons for Possibly Failing Canada Immigration Medical Exam

Whether for a short visit, study, work, or live permanently, you need to undergo a medical exam performed by an approved panel physician. Whether you’re currently residing or inside Canada, you can find them everywhere, including an immigration medical Ottawa facility if you’re nearby. Visit the CIC website to see a list of approved physicians.

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

1. Danger to Public Health

The Canadian government needs to protect its citizens and permanent residents, including their health. Depending on the result of your medical exam, Canada’s immigration officials will look at your laboratory tests and any other reports from medical experts designated by the immigration. 

If you have the following condition, it’s most likely that they will deny your application:

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

2. Danger to Public Safety

The immigration officials will consider the following conditions as reasons to refuse your visa application:

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

3. Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services

The Canadian government may also deny your application if they believe that your health condition can cause too much health and social services demand. These two circumstances are the considered to cause excessive demand on the government’s health or social services:

  • 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?

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

How to Improve Application Success?

It’s always best to ensure that you meet the requirements to be considered admissible to Canada in the first place. Research and understand the immigration medical exam process since the result is one of the deciding factors to admit you or not. Adopt 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 potentially affect your medical exam result, consider working with medical and legal immigration professionals. 


If you’re applying for a Canadian visa and have a tattoo, you shouldn’t worry about your medical exam since Canadian immigration laws did not directly include having a tattoo as inadmissible. However, your panel physician may request you undergo an additional test, such as the Hepa B antigen screening. Also, note that some companies or employers may not allow workers with tattoos, just like other employers and companies in other countries.

Be ready and prepared to explain what your tattoo means if they ask. If possible, find a document that explains it. For instance, you may show your child’s birth certificate if you have a tattoo with their name. You may visit this link to know more about the process.