Temporary Resident Permit

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) Help?

Call Toll-Free Within North America

TRP Canada

Canada immigration lawyer focused on helping Americans apply for a Temporary Resident Permit so they can travel to Canada with a criminal record. We offer free comprehensive consultations (unlike many businesses who demand a retainer before assessing your options).

Can a Felon Get a Passport?

People make mistakes in life, and unfortunately poor choices in the past can lead to a good person being considered a "felon". What happens if one of these people wishes to travel internationally, can felons get a passport? The answer in many cases is yes, but if the goal is to visit Canada an American with a felony will typically also need to apply for special permission to cross the border. While a felony conviction does not automatically disqualify an individual from obtaining a US passport, the Canadian border will often deny entry to a visitor with a felony criminal record unless they have filed paperwork with the Government of Canada to show they are safe.

To apply for a United States passport, an American must complete US Passport Application form DS-11, if they are applying for their first passport, or US Passport Renewal Application form DS-82, if they are an adult renewing an expired or expiring passport. These forms do not ask about any criminal history, but do indicate the State Department will cross-reference the application with relevant government agencies. If an American has a felony conviction for international drug trafficking, they will typically be barred from obtaining a passport. Likewise, if an individual is currently in jail or on parole for a felony conviction, their passport application may be refused. In many cases, however, once a felon is out of jail and off parole, they can usually get a USA passport in a timely manner.

Can a Felon Get a Passport to Visit Canada?

One of the top reasons for an American to apply for a passport is because they want to be able to go to Canada. Millions of Americans travel to Canada every year, and for people living in Northern states such as Michigan, Washington, and New York the border may only be a short drive away. For this reason, once a US citizen with a felony conviction successfully obtains a passport, the first country they think about visiting is frequently Canada. This leads to the question, are felons allowed to travel to Canada? Even with a valid USA passport, an American with a felony record will often be considered criminally inadmissible to Canada and may be at substantial risk of a border denial.

If a US passport holder wishes to travel to Canada with a felony, he or she will typically need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) in order to gain access to the country. The Canadian border has full access to the FBI criminal database, allowing them to instantly flag visitors with a criminal history, so anyone with a felony conviction will usually either avoid the country or do the paperwork to obtain special entry permission. Even if someone only plans to spend a short amount of time in Canada, such as flying into Vancouver in order to board an Alaskan cruise, they will still need to overcome any inadmissibility to avoid the risk of a border denial.

Thinking about applying for a US passport so you can travel to Canada, but have a felony conviction? Contact our Canadian immigration law firm today for a free consultation to discuss your situation and available options!

So a Felon Can Usually Get a Passport But Still Cannot Enter Canada?

If an American wants to go to Canada but has a past felony, the big challenge is typically satisfying Canadian border agents as opposed to obtaining a US passport. Can you get a passport if you have a felony? In many cases, yes you can! Can you get into Canada with a felony even if you have a valid US passport? In many cases, no you cannot, you will often need to apply for a TRP or Rehabilitation to convince the Canadian Government you are not a threat before they will let you in with a felony charge or conviction.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) - a TRP is a short-term fix to criminal inadmissibility available for a maximum duration of three years, and requires an applicant to have a strong reason for travel such as a business trip.

Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) - Rehabilitation is a permanent solution to criminal inadmissibility and can be requested for vacation purposes, but in order to be eligible all sentencing including any probation or parole must have been finished at least five years ago.

Should I Even Bother Applying for a Passport?

If the only reason a convicted felon wants a passport is to be able to travel to Canada, the individual should consider just how much they really care about crossing the border. If being able to visit Canada is important, then it certainly might make sense to apply for a US passport and a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation. If being able to fly or drive to Canada is not important, however, some felons decide that applying for a United States passport simply does not make sense giving the additional hoops they would need to jump through with the Government of Canada in order to travel with a criminal record. If a felon wants to acquire a USA passport in order to visit countries other than Canada, then obviously Canada's border rules should have minimal impact on their decision of whether or not to apply for a passport.

Other Reasons a Person Could Be Denied a Passport

Obtaining an American passport is technically a privilege, not a right, and as such the US Government can deny a citizen a passport. While criminals can be refused a US passport for certain types of felonies, Americans can also be refused a passport due to unpaid child support or unpaid taxes. If a US citizen owes $2,500 or more in back child support, they could be ineligible to receive a passport. Similarly, if a US citizen owes the IRS $50,000 or more in unpaid taxes, and has not worked out a payment plan agreement with IRS tax collectors, they might not qualify for a passport.

Can a Felon Travel Internationally?

Can felons get passports? In many cases, yes. Can felons get into Canada? It is possible if they obtain special permission from Canada's Government to cross the border with a felony. This leads to the final question, can felons who obtain a US passport travel to other countries around the world? Yes and no, it depends on the country and type of crime. While a few nations, such as Australia, are known to have strict rules preventing criminals from visiting, felons from the United States seem to be able to travel internationally to dozens of countries without issue. The reason Canada in particular can be so difficult is the United States of America gives them full access to the criminal history of all their citizens. When you show up at the Canadian border, they can swipe your US passport through their computer system and immediately detect that you have been convicted of a felony in the past. USA does not casually share this information with foreign governments, however, and most countries are not given access to your private arrest record the way Canada is.

Canada also does not require an offense to be a "crime of moral turpitude" (CMT) in order for it to be problematic, they can even deny entry to American citizens because of a misdemeanor DUI conviction. The rules in some other countries are different, so certain types of felonies may not necessarily be a problem at other international borders. We are a Canadian immigration law firm, so we are experts on the border rules for going to Canada with a felony but not for entering any other country as a felon. This being said, many of our clients have told us of all the international travel they have done over the years Canada is the only country that ever turned them away.

Are you a felon interested in getting a United States passport so you can travel to Canada? Questions about crossing the border with a US passport and a felony? Contact our legal team today for a free consultation!

How Can We Help?

If you have any arrests or convictions on your record and need to visit Canada, call us today or fill out this form! 24 Hour Response Time!