If you are visiting countries around the world on a short term as a tourist, there is generally no medical testing required, so your health conditions will not be an issue.
When you are applying for a long-term visa, your health is important.
Table of Content
1. Medical Checkup
The immigration department of many countries often require a medical checkup to assess whether you will be a burden to the local healthcare infrastructure.
1.1. What tests are involved in immigration medical checkups?
Typically, medical checkups for immigration purposes include:
- Chest X-Ray for tuberculosis
- General physical exam
- HIV/AIDS tests
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
There may be more or fewer tests involved, depending on your destination country.
1.2. Which clinics to go to for a medical checkup?
During your application, you may be asked to either:
- Visit a physician or clinic of your choice in your country of residence.
- Visit a physician or clinic that are approved to provide immigration medical checkups, in your country of residence or when you arrive in your destination country.
2. Medical Inadmissibility
Countries around the world want to protect its own interest for the benefit of their citizens.
If you have conditions that are deemed to be potentially burdensome to the local health infrastructure, the population, or the economy, you might not be granted a visa on the grounds of medical inadmissibility.
The most common types of health conditions that lead to a visa refusal are:
- Hepatitis B
There are certainly more, and it varies from country to country. History of physical or mental disorders that might cause harm to others are also examples of conditions that can lead to a visa refusal.
2.1. The good news is, not all countries treat health conditions the same way.
- Country A might not care that you have Condition B, but it's a big deal for Country C.
- Country D might be equipped to handle Condition E, but Country F might not.
For example, having HIV/AIDS is not an issue when immigrating to countries like Germany, but it is a reason for a visa refusal to a country like Qatar. In Canada or Australia, it is considered on a case-by-case basis with further health assessments.
Here is a website that shows travel and immigration restrictions for People with HIV/AIDS: HIV Travel
2.2. Show proof you're self-sufficient.
This is not a guarantee, but if you have certain health conditions that could lead to a visa refusal, you can mitigate it if you can show proof that:
- You can handle all your medical bills privately
- You have adequate health insurance that will cover you in your destination country
- You have disability benefits from your home country and you will continue receiving it even if you move to another country
Your application may or may not be treated differently, but providing proof of your self-sufficiency could help, especially if your destination country adopt a case-by-case policy on health conditions.
3. Medical Deportation
This is scary, but you should know it.
If you ever get diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, or Hepatitis B during your time as a temporary visa holder in some countries, you will be deported (though unlikely in Western countries).
Deportation happens when a person is already holding a visa, but is made to leave the country because their visa is withdrawn, cancelled, or invalidated for a certain reason. Deportation usually happens due to a criminal action, but it can be for health reasons as well.
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait have been known to deport expat-immigrants diagnosed with Tuberculosis [Source: UAE Government Portal, Migrant Rights].
- Several countries in the Middle East and North Africa such as Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia have been known to deport individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. A few countries in Southeast Asia also have similar practice.
On the other hand, some countries adopt a less punitive practice and will issue a conditional visa for a limited time instead of a full-on deportation, as long as you undergo treatment and are deemed to have a low or no risk of infecting others.
4. Privacy Laws on Health Information
If you are from a Western country, you might be used to the privacy that you have around your health information. This means that the only individuals that have access to your health information are:
- Your healthcare provider
- Other individuals or third-parties, but ONLY IF you consent to it
In many cases, this means that non-health government departments such as immigration do not automatically have access to your health information.
But, in many other countries around the world, healthcare privacy laws are loose in practice and aren’t strictly enforced.
In fact, your healthcare provider might be legally required to report certain health conditions to the government (such as the immigration department).
You may be going for a regular health checkup, but if a reportable health condition comes up positive—the next thing you know, you're next in line for deportation.
Want to Move Abroad?
Learn about the cons of moving abroad, and how to get a visa if you think moving is right for you. More about this here.