October 3, 2023

Can a Person Living with HIV Immigrate to Canada?

Are you living with HIV/Aids or with a chronic disease and wishing to immigrate to Canada? Do you have a Canadian Citizen as your spouse, sibling, or relative looking at the possibility of migrating to Canada but need to find out if that is possible?

Well, you can still migrate to Canada, depending on the level or nature of the illness. Many people in the past with similar illnesses have immigrated to Canada, and as such, you can also achieve the same dream.

When migrating to Canada, you must go through Canada Immigration medical exam. This examination can consider whether a person can be clinically admissible to Canada. For example, if a person has some serious medical or health condition that may require excessive demand on public health services, they might be denied entry to Canada.

So, whether a person living with HIV can migrate successfully to Canada typically depends on the type of immigration application that person puts in.

Canada Immigration Medical Inadmissibility Due To Positive HIV Status

In Canada’s immigration process, the medical examination mainly confirms whether you are medically admissible or inadmissible to immigrate to Canada. It also indicates if you pose any threat to Canada’s public health and safety or if you have any health condition that is likely to debilitate Canada’s health care system.

Your application for Canada’s immigration might be refused if your current health status seems dangerous to Canada’s public health and safety. Additionally, medical inadmissibility also occurs when your health condition can result in exuberant demand for Canada’s health or social services.

However, foreign nationals aged above 15 years who want to apply for Canada’s immigration are mandated to undergo a medical examination. In addition, HIV-positive foreign nationals in the family and dependant refugee classes are not always regarded as medically inadmissible because of the extremely high demand on Canada’s health care system.

Issuance of Automatic Partner Notification Policy

The spouse of the infected person must be notified of the possible adverse effects on their health due to their partner’s health status. Automatic partner notification involves creating an opportunity of 60 days for HIV-positive foreign nationals to enable them to open up their current health status to their spouse. If foreign nationals can’t do this, they must withdraw their application.

The 60 days countdown began right from when you were given the information to act of your own free will. After 60 days, formal notification will be sent to the spouse of the HIV-positive individual. Upon the notification, the processing will be initiated.

Note: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is dedicated to their country’s public health and safety. Disclosing your current health condition to your spouse will aid their dedication.

Steps For HIV Immigration To Canada

Here are the steps for HIV-positive applicants who intend to immigrate to Canada;

  1. Post-test counseling by a panel physician
  2. Identification of the HIV-positive foreign national
  3. In-person interview with a visa or immigration officer
  4. Processes after the in-person interview
  5. Outcomes after 60 days of the interview
  6. Formal notification to the spouse

1. Post-test counseling by a panel physician; 

A panel physician is placed in charge of the HIV-positive foreign national who seeks Canada’s immigration. The panel physician has to provide post-test counseling to the individual and enlighten them on their health condition’s psychological, social, and medical implications. Moreover, they will ensure that the foreign national acknowledges the post-test counseling form is duly signed.

2. Identification of the HIV-positive foreign national;

The responsible medical officer will have to send a written notification to the responsible immigration program manager when an exempted foreign national has a health condition that is dangerous to Canada’s public health and safety.

However, foreign nationals implementing family class procedures and fully aware of their health status do not need a partner notification process until a file has been created for them at the visa office. This means that such a foreign national has undergone every appropriate counseling.

3. In-person interview with a visa or immigration officer;

The foreign national will be physically interviewed by a visa or immigration officer. The officer will not talk about the issue of partner notification with a foreign national who does not possess the acknowledgment of the HIV post-test counseling form.

Foreign nationals must also have a vast knowledge of their health status. Hence, the interview may be suspended if the visa or immigration officer discovers you lack enough knowledge of your health condition. The officer will then ask the foreign national to return to the panel physician for more counseling. They will also have to get a new acknowledgment of the HIV post-test counseling form.

After the foreign national must have acquired enough knowledge of their health condition, the visa or immigration officer will move ahead to explain the automatic partner notification policy.

4. Processes after the In-Person Interview;

If the foreign national does not append their signature on the acknowledgment of the automatic partner notification policy, the processing will not stop. Instead, it will be noted on the file that the foreign national was mindful of the policy but decided not to sign it. Thus, it will be flagged to Litigation Management BCL at NHQ.

If the applicant does not want their health status disclosed, the immigration program manager will be counseled by the visa or immigration officers. In addition, they will be advised on how to handle HIV-positive foreign nationals with self-interests.

5. Outcomes after 60 days of the interview;

Here is the aftermath after 60 days of the interview – 

  • If the foreign national withdraws the application, the visa or immigration officer will process the withdrawal based on normal processes.
  • If the application were withdrawn by the sponsor based in Canada, the visa or immigration officer would refuse the application based on standard processes. Before this, the visa or immigration officer must be informed by the Case Processing Centre: Mississauga, Ontario.
  • If the foreign national and the sponsor did not withdraw the application, the foreign national’s application would be further processed.

6. Formal notification to the spouse;

If the foreign national or sponsor did not withdraw the application, the visa or immigration officer must prepare and send the partner notification letter to the spouse in Canada.

Immigration to Canada with HIV

1. Is Subject to Your Illness;

According to Canadian immigration regulations, a person is not permitted to enter the country if they have one of the following medical conditions:

  • likely poses a threat to public health
  • likely poses a risk to public safety
  • Possibly leading to an overwhelming demand for social or health services.

HIV-positive individuals typically meet the first two criteria; they would only be deemed hazardous if they participated in high-risk behavior or disobeyed health authorities.

The third requirement is likely to have the most impact on immigrants who are HIV-positive, and for five years, a person’s medical expenses would likely total more than $15,000 due to excessive demand. Due to the variety of HIV instances, not all individuals with the virus fit this standard. You should anticipate having to provide evidence that your actions don’t put an undue burden on Canada’s social or health services.

2. Immigration under Family Class;

Suppose an immigrant’s HIV-positive family members are their spouse, common-law partner, or child. In that case, the sponsor must be a Canadian citizen. Due to enormous demand, parents and grandparents are not excluded from medical inadmissibility.

3. Appeals for HIV-infected Immigration to Canada;

Numerous immigration routes to Canada, particularly those for the economically privileged (skilled employees, independent contractors, investors, and business owners), need medical examinations. As was already indicated, the medical inadmissibility rule also applies to many other streams, such as parents and grandparents. However, suppose a person’s application for immigration to Canada is turned down due to medical inadmissibility. In that case, they are entitled to appeal in several ways:

  • In family-based immigration, the sponsor may appeal to the IRB’s Immigration Appeal Division.
  • The applicant has the right to file an appeal with the Federal Court.
  • The applicant can make a temporary resident permit application.

How Can A Person Living With HIV Immigrate To Canada?

These are the several ways someone living with HIV can immigrate to Canada;

Applying for Permanent Residency – 

Applicants living with HIV who are applying for permanent residency may be qualified for having a Canadian citizen or permanent resident as a spouse or sibling (relatives).

But, applicants above the age of 15 will be required to pass a Canada Immigration medical exam. If the examination turns out to be positive, this can make permanent immigration difficult. An HIV patient’s application for Canada PR can get refused on two conditions;

  • If the health condition of that person is considered a danger to public health.
  • If it is considered to be a danger to public safety
  • The patient’s health might require excessive demand for Canada’s health or social services.

But, the excessive demand may not be considered if the applicant applies as a refugee or is sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Applying for Temporary Residence – 

Applicants with HIV who apply for a temporary resident visa are usually considered and are given a visa. Usually, most applicants staying in Canada for a short period of about six months are not required to go through the Canada Immigration medical exam.

Temporary residents are not fit for the provincial healthcare program. They won’t place excessive demand on health services.

Asylum Application – 

Refugees or Asylum seekers must pass Canada’s Immigration medical exam but are exempted from inadmissibility grounds.

Asylum applicants only need to prove they meet the protection criteria, and submitting permanent residency becomes easy. They can also enjoy free public health and social services in Canada.

We hope we can clear some of your questions about persons living with HIV and Canadian immigration. You can drop some more inquiries with us and expect answers soon.


What causes Canadian Immigration Inadmissibility for HIV-positive applicants?

An HIV-positive applicant for Canada’s immigration will likely cause an extravagant demand on her healthcare systems and social services.

What is required to do a medical examination for Canadian immigration?

While preparing for your medical examination, you must take recognized evidence of identity. For this purpose, you can use your passport or any government-issued identification. You might also need to provide information on your health, including the names of your medications (if you are currently treating an illness).


Every immigration circumstance is unique, and the same is true for those who are HIV-positive. If you’re unclear about your place in society, discuss your choices with an experienced immigration lawyer.

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