Can Felons Leave Canada?

While having a felony conviction does not automatically prevent someone from leaving Canada, there are some important factors to consider. Whether international travel is possible for a felon depends on the specifics of their criminal record and circumstances.

Domestic Travel Within Canada
For travel within Canada, a past felony alone does not restrict movement between provinces. Felons are free to travel domestically as long as there are no conditions from parole, probation, or outstanding warrants that prohibit it. Their criminal history will not be a barrier for domestic flights or ground transportation within Canada.

International Travel Requirements
Leaving the country is a bit more complicated for felons. They are not necessarily barred from departing Canada, but there are hoops to jump through. First, a valid Canadian passport is required for international travel. Having a felony on one’s record can negatively impact their ability to obtain or renew a passport. Serious felony convictions related to national security may also result in active travel restrictions imposed by the court.

Factors Impacting Admissibility Abroad
When planning to travel internationally, felons need to consider whether their criminal record will impact admissibility at their destination. Some countries will deny entry for certain felony charges, especially violent or drug crimes. Even if not explicitly banned, a border official has discretion to refuse admission if they deem a person’s criminal history problematic. Full disclosure is important to avoid legal issues. The severity of the offense matters more than the “felony” label – minor drug possession may be overlooked vs robbery.

Common Travel Restrictions
Frequent travel spots like the United States may permanently bar felons through programs like ESTA depending on the crime, such as drug trafficking, domestic violence or weapons offenses. The UK, Australia, and European nations also thoroughly screen criminal history.

Parole & Supervision Conditions
Felons currently under community supervision must abide by the rules set by their parole officer. Written permission is necessary for any travel outside one’s home province. International trips are rarely approved during the parole period. Failure to disclose convictions on passport/travel documents could lead to perjury charges.

Potential Impact on Immigration Status
International travel as a Canadian felon may interfere with residency or visa status, such as green card eligibility, now or in the future. This is an important consideration for anyone with U.S. ties or seeking an additional citizenship.

Advice for Felons Considering Travel
In most circumstances, Canadian felons can travel domestically without restriction. Certain international itineraries are also possible depending on the specific criminal charges, but professional advice should be sought from a criminal lawyer familiar with cross-border issues. With proper planning and disclosure, many felons can travel internationally as long as the destination permits their admission.