Do I Need A Pardon To Get A Passport?

Passports and Criminal Records

The Canadian Passport Office evaluates eligibility for a passport on a case by case basis. At present a criminal record is not sufficient cause to refuse an applicant from receiving a passport. Rumours have circulated for years that this will be changed. However, to date we at National Pardon Centre have never experienced anyone being refused a passport application due to possessing a criminal record.

In an age where information is shared instantaneously it makes little sense to forgo applying for a pardon to remove your criminal record and alleviate yourself of the restrictions to travel and employment you may currently experience.

When it comes to travelling to the United States of America you may be at risk as it is against the law to cross the border with a criminal record. The penalties for attempting to do so may be fines, imprisonment and/or being banned from future entry. The solution to this problem is to secure a pardon or United States entry waiver making your criminal record inaccessible in common searches by the U.S. and Canadian authorities.

If you have a criminal record and are planning to apply for your passport consider applying for a pardon at the same time to remove the restrictions associated with a criminal record. Failing to do so could present serious complications to your life and freedom.


Comment (0)
Genevieve / January 2, 2015

My bf has a criminal record, does he need a pardon for a passport to go to Philippines?

Michael Ashby / January 12, 2015

Hi Genevieve,

He needs a passport of course but he does not need a pardon so long as the flight doesn’t stop in the United States. I do suggest a pardon anyway though. You never know when a criminal record will mess up your plans.

Kind regards,


Michelle Novak / September 8, 2016

I’m trying to see what I can do to help my boyfriend get a passport.
I’m wanting to surprise him with our first tropical holiday in 10 years.
He does not have a current Canadian passport, but I do.
Thank you so much

Michael Ashby / September 8, 2016

Hi michelle,

We don’t handle passport applications I’m afraid. Is there something else we can help you with?

Kind regards,

PB / April 5, 2018

Approximately how long is the processing time on a passport renewal application for someone with a criminal record…..this information is not available through the service Canada passport information site

Tiffanie / April 5, 2018

Hello PB,

Our clients with a criminal record have experienced the same delays compared to individuals who don’t have a criminal record.


1-866-242-2411, ext. 226


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