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A hard lesson about Crohns and college as a foreign national in Canada

Thu, August 26, 2021 2:52 PM

A hard lesson about applying to colleges in Canada as a foreign national: Things to Know


I write this not to berate a particular university or individual, but to share what happened to our son this year.  My hope is that other college-age students with underlying health conditions like Crohn's/Colitis don’t have to go through what we did.


The main takeaway: Never assume that just because a student got into a college abroad, that they well meet immigration requirements. Their health alone could bar them. That’s what happened to us with Canada.


Our family members are all US Citizens. This year, our younger son applied to a number of colleges in the US and one in Canada. He was accepted into many schools, often with merit scholarships. He ultimately chose the Canadian university (which gave him a very generous academic scholarship) because it looked to be the best fit for what he was looking for. The school advertises itself as having a great number of international students on campus.


Right after he was accepted, he had to begin the process of applying for a study permit, which he did. Two weeks into this, Canadian Immigration required him to do a medical exam. He did this too.

 We heard nothing. Three weeks before the start of school, we went to apply at the border. There he was told he could not be granted a study permit because of medical inadmissibility, because his issue would be an undue cost burden to Canada.

 No one, not even school advisers, or the border guards, even knew this would be an issue. It is listed on the Canada immigration website, but we didn't know:

FPO irenepug
Joined Aug 20, 2021

Mon, January 23, 2023 9:53 AM

Reply posted for AmyJeffords.

It's been over a year and we are beyond the situation, having decided to attend a US college.  Please know that the criteria of being healthy/well-controlled at the time were not sufficient to allow entry. Nor was this application  for permanent residence, but for undergraduate university. 

Also, hard to know how much COVID was impacting speed of processing. 

The one piece of advice I can give people with IBD is to get knowledgeable about the requirements for entry to a country, even to study. And if there is doubt, it may help to hire an Immigration Consultant during the application process if one is unsure. IBD/Chronic Health condition merit their own considerations. We know this now.

We wish everyone the best



FPO irenepug
Joined Aug 20, 2021

Wed, January 18, 2023 5:02 AM

Reply posted for irenepug.

As a foreign national, the process of gaining a Master's or PhD in Canada is difficult. You'll face some challenges that you might not be familiar with. You need to follow this and get more new skills for education ideas. From the language barrier to an inability for cross-cultural collaboration, dealing with a severe illness like Crohn's disease can turbocharge your dismissal from your program as well as make accommodations for you difficult.

FPO Harry321
Joined Apr 24, 2022

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