Among all things we needed to do before moving to Canada, this has to be the one that we were most nervous about. Maybe we’ve seen one too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, but we’re just scared of the possibility of the tests uncovering something that shouldn’t be there… which would probably cause some complications with the application.
When we got our Invitation to Apply (ITA) under Express Entry (EE) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), we were asked to complete an Upfront Medical Examination. I don’t know why it’s called “upfront”, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll just call it our “medical”.
Anyway, we were given a list of Panel Physicians designated by IRCC to perform immigration medical exams in the Philippines. There are several places all over the Philippines where you can have your medical done; three of which are in Metro Manila.
IOM Manila Health Center: Salcedo Village, Makati
St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic: Ermita, Manila
St. Luke’s Medical Center: Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
You can find the complete addresses of these places here in this link.
For IOM, please take note that you will need to set an appointment with them prior to having your medical. For St. Luke’s it will be under a first come first served basis.
We decided to go with St. Luke’s in BGC because we felt that it would be the most efficient since it was the newest and largest facility among the choices. Here’s our experience and what you need to know.
Requirements & Costs
You will need to bring the following: two passport – sized pictures, passports (original and a photocopy) and your baby book with immunization/vaccination records if you still have it.
The basic medical examination, which includes a blood test, urinalysis, chest x-ray, physical examination, and MMR vaccination (if needed) cost us around P7,900+ each (without MMR vaccination). There will be additional costs if further tests are requested (i.e. hepatitis tests for those with tattoos or men with piercings, pregnancy tests for females, Measles-Mumps-Rubella “MMR” vaccination or booster… the MMR shot will be around P2,500+).
If you decide to contact the clinic before you come to confirm the costs and requirements, note that you would have to inform the clinic that the purpose of your medical is immigration Canada so that they can give you the correct list of documents to bring. The same clinic also performs medicals for Australian and New Zealand visa applicants and they may have a different set of requirements and costs.
Medical Exam Day!
Last October 18, 2016, we made our way to St. Luke’s Global City in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The clinic opens at around 7:00 AM and accepts applicants until about 2:30 PM. We were there as early as 6:00 AM and were third in line. The clinic is at the 10th floor and it just looks like a regular clinic inside a hospital so there were seats just outside where we waited for the security guard to start letting people in. When they finally opened, we were asked to fill out a form and were each given a number. Then we were finally called by the nurse in the reception area for our signatures on the HIV test waiver and for picture-taking. After that, we waited a few more minutes before the radiologist started to call applicants in for the chest x-ray.
The first procedure done was the x-ray. We were asked to remove our shirts (and bras for the ladies) for this, but the women were provided with nice clean hospital robes. It was really cold inside the x-ray room to the point that we had a difficult time staying still, but it took no more than five minutes for each of us to finish.
Afterwards, we were sent back to the reception area to wait for the next part of the medical, which was the blood pressure, height, weight and a quick vision test. Next, it was time for the blood extraction, we were not required to fast prior to coming, so we assumed that no cholesterol tests were to be done (this is a good sign for us Filipinos right? Hehe). The blood extraction – we think – is for the purpose of HIV, Hepatitis and Syphilis testing. After doing that, we were given cups for the urinalysis, which we were able to accomplish right away… thanks to that very cold x-ray room. 😛
The next step was the physical exam with a doctor. There were two doctors, a male doctor for the male applicants, and a female one for the female applicants. It was pretty simple actually, the doctor asked a few questions, asked us to remove our clothes (except for underwear, which was contrary to the sign posted outside) and lay on the bed, while he/she poked and pushed at some areas of our body to look for any pain or discomfort.
It was around 9:00 AM at that point and we were technically done with everything. It seemed that the decision to wake up really early and get to St. Luke’s by 6:30 in the morning was worth it. We were already talking about where we’ll have breakfast and our other plans for the suddenly free day when the nurse called us over and informed us that our initial blood work came out with no problems. However, she informed us that the medical for Canadian immigration will require the applicant to have the aforementioned Measles-Mumps-Rubella “MMR” interview/vaccination and that the doctor that handles this part of the exam arrives at 1:30 PM.
Fast forward four and half hours (which were at least efficiently spent driving around the city running errands) and we were back in St. Luke’s waiting for our turn with the MMR doctor. After a quick wait, we were called in and the doctor asked to see our baby books with immunization records. Sadly… both our immunization records were unclear as to whether we had the MMR vaccine, so the doctor just decided to give us a booster since it would be safe for us anyway even if we did had the MMR vaccine when we were kids. After paying the fee and getting the shot (the payment felt like another shot to be honest), we were told that they will just be the ones to send the results to CIC and we will just be contacted if further tests are needed.
Thankfully, it seems that everything is in order since we haven’t received any calls from the hospital asking us to come back for more tests. All in all, our experience in St. Luke’s was pretty good. If you do decide to also have your medical there, we’ve got some things to keep in mind below.
- Make sure to bring all the needed requirements: two passport – sized pictures, passports (original and a photocopy) and your baby book with immunization/vaccination records. (This one’s pretty obvious).
- Speaking of your immunization/vaccination records. If you have the time and you want to make sure you won’t have to add P2,500+ to the already expensive medical exam fee. Have your pediatrician/doctor certify that you have had your MMR vaccine already. Normally, most people would have gotten the MMR vaccine at around 10 months to 1 year of age. In our case, it was written in our baby books that we had the vaccine but it was either not readable or not signed, so the doctor had no choice but to
givecharge us for a booster shot.
- Come early. While it was a bit of a hassle for us to wait from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM, that amount of time does serve a purpose in case you need further tests after your blood work and chest x-ray. We were lucky enough to be given the all clear at 9:00 AM, so we didn’t have to have anything done, but it is a possibility that you would need some time to go see another doctor just in case something comes up from your tests. That time in the middle will come in handy so that you can complete the additional requirements while still having time to get the MMR vaccine in the afternoon – saving you a trip back to the clinic the next day.
- Bring some snacks and drinks. Depending on the number of applicants, wait times may take a while and it will be good to have something to munch on and drink (also to help you pee foor the urine exam).
- Bring a jacket, it does get a bit chilly.
There you have it. We do hope that this will help you have a good experience with your medical. Moving to Canada will be a daunting task for anyone and If there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!