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Can my passport be taken away?

It’s in your name and your possession, but you passport is property of the Canadian government, and it may take yours back if you abuse it.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can order a passport suspension or revocation based on criteria established in the 1981 Canadian Passport Order.

The order spells out many possible reasons why someone might lose their passport. These include if they:

  • are discovered to have obtained the passport with false or misleading information;
  • have had their citizenship revoked;
  • allow another person to use their passport;
  • fail to pay child support or alimony;
  • owe money to the Crown for consular assistance or repatriation;
  • are charged with an indictable offence in Canada (indictable offences are for serious crimes including theft over $5,000, break-and-enter, and murder);
  • are charged with an indictable offence outside Canada that would also be an indictable offence if committed here; For example, a disparaging remark about the monarchy can get you a prison term in Thailand, but the same crime committed in Canada would not draw such a harsh penalty. Murder, on the other hand, is an equally serious crime regardless of where it’s committed;
  • are imprisoned or otherwise forbidden to leave Canada (in accordance with parole, conditional sentence, or work-release program, for example) or imprisoned in another country under similar circumstances;
  • use the passport to travel with the intention of committing an indictable offence. In 2014, the government said it would revoke passports of Canadians who went abroad to fight with extremist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq, provoking some criticism of human rights violations since it essentially creates a “stateless” person;

If Passport Canada uncovers grounds to suspend or revoke a passport, it may launch an investigation during which time the person in question is ineligible for passport services.

The person under investigation may be granted a limited-validity travel document, which allows some restricted travel, if they can demonstrate urgent, compelling, or compassionate reasons for one.

Suspension and revocation decisions are considered final, and any appeal must be lodged with the Federal Court within 30 days of the decision date.

Once revocation or suspension takes effect, there is a period of ineligibility — typically five years — during which the person is denied passport services.

Read more:

Decision process for refusal or revocation of passport services:

Refusal, revocation and suspended passports:

Canadian Passport order: