Photo and signature
Generally speaking, Health Insurance Cards issued to persons age 14 or over must bear their photo and signature. In order for this to be possible, they must follow the authentication process so that an authenticating official Authenticating official
Usually an employee of a CLSC, of the Régie de l'assurance maladie or of the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). can verify their identity.
Some persons can obtain their Health Insurance Card without having to provide their photo and signature. They constitute the exclusions and exemptions to the rule.
At an service point
If you go to an service point (usually a CLSC), you must take with you:
- the form obtained from the Régie;
- the required documents (whenever an original document is required, it must be presented along with legible photocopies of both sides of that document)
- 2 acceptable pieces of ID;
- your photo.
Your photo may be taken at certain pharmacies or by a photographer. A fee is charged for this service.
Photos must meet the following specifications:
- Measure 5 cm wide by 7 cm high (2" wide by 2 ¾" high).
- Colour photograph taken against a uniform white or light coloured background.
- Taken in the past 6 months and dated on the back with a date stamp.
- Printed professionally (amateur photos are not accepted).
- The photo must not be overexposed or underexposed and must have correct contrast. No red-eye effect.
- The photo must show a front view. The face must take up 70% to 80% of the surface and be centered, and the upper shoulders must be visible.
- The head must be erect, the person looking toward the camera lens, and the hair must not cover the eyes, which must be open and clearly visible.
- Facial expression must be neutral and the mouth closed, not smiling.
- Eyeglasses are acceptable insofar as they show no reflection and the eyes are clearly visible. The frames must not mask the eyes. Eyeglasses may not be worn on the head.
- Wearing dark or tinted eyeglasses is acceptable only for visually impaired people or those suffering from photophobia or light intolerance. In the latter case, a medical certificate is required.
- No hat or head cover can be worn, other than for religious or medical reasons. In such cases, the entire face must be clearly visible and the head cover must not cast any shadow over the face.
- Decorative head accessories are accepted if they do not cast a shadow over or reflect on the face, and if they do not alter the shape of the face or head.
Your photo may be refused if it does not comply with one of the above specifications. If this happens, you will have to have your photo taken again.
At a Régie reception desk
If you go to a reception desk of the Régie, you must take with you:
Your photo will necessarily be taken at the office, so there is no point in taking a photo with you. A fee of $9 (plus taxes) applies.
Renewing your card at the same time as your driver's permit?
If your driver's licence is renewable at the same time as your Health Insurance Card, you can have your photo taken at a service outlet of the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). For further details, refer to the page on renewal of your card.
Some persons are exempt from the authentication process. These include:
- children under age 14. They may not obtain a card with photo and signature;
- persons age 75 and over. They may, however, choose to have their photo and signature appear on their card, in which case they must go to a service point (usually a CLSC);
- persons who, because of their state of health, are unable to provide their photo, their signature, or both (persons exempt for medical reasons);
- persons temporarily outside Québec who nevertheless remain covered by the Health Insurance Plan.
Persons who are not required to provide their photo and signature must mail their form (and any required documents) to the Régie de l'assurance maladie or take their form to one of the Régie's offices.
Procedure for obtaining a photo or signature exemption for medical reasons
Persons unable to provide their photo, their signature, or both must include with their form a medical certificate filled out by a doctor. The certificate must contain the following information:
- the insured person's identity: last name, first name, birthdate and, if possible, Health Insurance Number;
- the nature of the disease;
- the duration of the impairment (permanent, or temporary with approximate duration);
- the type of exemption (photo only, signature only, or both);
- the doctor's identity (last name, first name and professional number);
- the doctor's signature and the date.
The cost (where applicable) of obtaining the medical certificate is borne by the insured person.
Persons exempt from providing their photo only or their signature only must nevertheless go to a service point (usually a CLSC) and present a medical certificate.