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International Patient Program
International Patient Program

Intake Process

  1. Submit a referral
  2. Medical review
  3. International Patient Program Response – Referral accepted or denied
  4. Financial arrangements
  5. Appointment booking
  6. Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) assistance

1. Submit a referral 

International patients who meet the eligibility criteria may be referred for treatment, consultation or medical second opinion at SickKids for their child are required to submit a referral which includes: parent/legal guardian section to be completed and signed (Pages 1 to 3)

  • Physician referral completed and signed (Pages 4 to 5) including:
  • A complete medical history and current condition
  • Medical notes (completed within the last 6 months)
  • Recent laboratory and other test results, including imaging CDs
  • A copy of the moving echocardiogram (ECHO) for review, if the child has a heart condition requiring possible treatment at SickKids

IPP Referral form.

Please send the referral to the International Patient Program:

  • Email: international.patientprogram@sickkids.ca
    Please note that email may be intercepted between the sender and the receiver and is therefore neither secure nor confidential. Your continued use of email communication confirms that you accept this risk. 
  • Fax: +1-416-813-8667
  • Mail/Courier: International Patient Program
    The Hospital for Sick Children
    555 University Avenue
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    M5G 1X8

The SickKids medical team may request additional medical information to help decide whether your child is eligible for treatment at SickKids.

All information must be submitted in English. Referrals with documents in a language other than English, or which have not been translated by a medical translator, will not be reviewed by the SickKids team. The International Patient Program office is unable to process the application until all relevant documents are received in English.

2.  Medical Review 

Once the IPP office has received the completed referral form and all relevant medical information, your child's application and supporting medical information will be reviewed by the appropriate SickKids medical experts. For some cases, this will occur during scheduled case review rounds and multidisciplinary team meetings and may take approximately two weeks to complete.

During this medical review process, the medical team may ask you/your child's doctor to provide additional medical information to help determine if SickKids can accept your child for treatment. The SickKids medical team will not proceed with reviewing the referral until all of the requested additional medical information has been received.

3. International Patient Program Response 

If your child meets the eligibility criteria for acceptance, and the SickKids medical team have reviewed all the documents and test results provided, the treatment plan will be reviewed and approved by the SickKids Surgeon-in-Chief and/or the Paediatrician-in-Chief. Once approved, the International Patient Program (IPP) Program Coordinator will inform you of the decision.

If SickKids is able to provide the services requested, the referral will be accepted. The IPP office will send the family a letter with the proposed treatment plan with an estimate of the associated costs.

If SickKids is unable to provide the services request, the referral will be declined. When possible, the IPP office will provide a list of alternative paediatric centres and/or consultant doctors closer to the child's place of residence that may be available to provide the services requested.

4. Making Financial Arrangements 

Coverage for payment in full is required before any service at SickKids can be confirmed. This can be arranged by direct payment in full by credit card, cheque or bank transfer. Coverage can also be provided by a Letter of Guarantee from the insurance company, embassy or government for the full amount of proposed services. Instructions will be provided to the family in the intake package from the International Patient Program office.

If the family is requesting humanitarian financial support through the SickKids Herbie Fund, additional financial review and approval from the Herbie Medical Review Committee will be required. More information about the Herbie Fund can be provided upon request.

5. Notification of Acceptance and Appointment Booking 

Upon receiving financial coverage, the IPP office will send the family notification of acceptance. If the patient has been accepted to receive care at SickKids, travel arrangements for the patient and parent can be started at this time. Services and appointments will be arranged as outlined in the proposed plan. Specific instructions from the clinical program will also be sent to the family, if applicable.

The IPP office will provide the family with appointment dates, times and locations, in addition to other important information in preparation for the child’s travel. Prior to departure from the child’s home country, the International Patient Program team will arrange to meet with the family upon arrival to SickKids and prior to the child’s first medical appointment.

Please note: In the event that your child arrives at SickKids in a condition different from originally described to the SickKids team, or if there are unexpected complications and if additional medically necessary care is required, there will be additional costs associated with these changes which will be provided in the final invoice.

Medically necessary care will be communicated to the insurance provider, or foreign government or embassy, with a request for coverage and guarantee of payment.

If you are seeking humanitarian support, please review the information about the Herbie Fund.

6. Visa and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Assistance

Travel arrangements should be made only following confirmation of payment guarantee or receipt of payment by SickKids. If you require assistance you may contact the IPPIntake Coordinator who can guide you through this process. The IPP office can provide you with a letter to support the visa application for the child and one accompanying parent/legal guardian. The letter will indicate that your child will be receiving treatment at SickKids, the estimated cost of the treatment, payment has been made or guaranteed and the estimated length of stay for the treatment at SickKids.

It is important that you know which travel documents are needed for you and your family to enter Canada. You may need to apply for a visa. Information on the visa application process can be found at the Government of Canada website. Please be sure to submit all relevant documents in the visa application process such as an acceptance letter, appointment booking and proof of payment for care that your child will receive. It is important that you know the visa processing time at the Canadian embassy in the country where you live.

Travelers from abroad who do not require a visa will need an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter Canada with the exception of U.S. citizens and those who have a valid visitor visa to Canada. Those who require an eTA must obtain it prior to traveling in order to be permitted to board their flight.

Please note: The IPP office cannot apply for a visitor visa or eTA on behalf of the patient and family.

For further information regarding the International Patient Program, please contact us.