Obtaining A Passport With A Criminal Record

By 9 November 2016June 22nd, 2022No Comments

Pardon Applications of Canada explores answers to common questions regarding obtaining a passport with a criminal record.

The majority of Canadians automatically assume that once they have a criminal record they also cannot obtain a passport.  While a criminal record can certainly pose an obstacle in many ways, this is not entirely true.

Do I Need to Disclose My Criminal Record When Applying for a Passport?

The Canadian passport application process does not include questions about the applicant’s criminal history or a criminal record check.  Most individuals with a criminal record can still apply to obtain a passport as long as the terms of sentencing do not prohibit it.

Can My Criminal Record Affect My Passport Application Approval?

You certainly could have an issue obtaining a Passport if you’re currently serving a sentence or actively being charged with a criminal offence — especially if that charge is indictable.  If you are being charged with a crime that you could be sentenced for two years or more while waiting for trial, you may be denied a passport. Even if you are completely innocent, you will more than likely be denied a passport until you have been proven innocent by a judge.

better business bureau a+ rating logo

Does a Valid Canadian Passport Grant You Unlimited Access to Travel?

If you have a criminal record, have no upcoming legal matters, have completed all sentencing, and are a Canadian citizen, you are probably eligible for a passport.  However, having a passport does not mean you can travel freely with a criminal record.  It is always best to use caution when making travel plans as you may be permitted to leave Canada, but may have trouble entering your destination country.  When traveling internationally “aliens” or “foreigners” may be required to obtain a visa before attempting to enter. If the destination country runs a background check as part of their visa issuing process, then your criminal record could prevent you from being granted entry.  In general, you should clear your criminal record with a Pardon (record suspension) before travelling outside the country.  And, it’s important to do some research in advance of your selected destination country’s visa program before booking a trip.

Can I Cross the Border into the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

The United States Customs & Border Control is known to be very strict regarding entry to their country and does share a criminal database system with Canada. If you are looking to travel to the United States with a criminal record, it is highly recommended that you obtain a U.S. Entry Waiver in addition to your passport. Even if you are transferring flights in the United States or merely traveling over U.S. airspace, it is important to have a U.S. Entry Waiver to avoid any issues when you arrive at your destination.

PAC’s Ongoing Service Commitment

Email [email protected]
Schedule a Call
My Account Dashboard

Pardon Applications of Canada is a nationwide A+ Accredited processing firm for Canadian Pardon (Record Suspension) & U.S. Entry Waiver applications.  For more information on Pardon Applications of Canada, call 866-383-9744 or [email protected]


  • Fill out the form to receive a complimentary, 100% confidential email with more information on Pardon Applications of Canada services. You'll also receive a no-obligation phone consultation with an Accredited Pardon & U.S. Waiver Officer.
  • Check 1 or More that Apply.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.