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Passport Refusals

Are you a Citizen of Canada? 
Have you been refused a Canadian passport?
Has your passport been revoked, suspended or cancelled? 
At Bellissimo Immigration Law Group PC we can help!

Both the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness have the authority to refuse to issue a passport, or to revoke, suspend or cancel an existing passport. There must be sufficient reliable information to support the decision of either Minister.

Grounds for refusal, revocation, suspension or cancellation

Passport Refusal

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may refuse to issue a passport to a person for a number of reasons. These include (but are not limited to) findings that the applicant:

  • is not a Canadian citizen;
  • has provided false information during the process of applying for a passport, or has not provided all required information (including requested information and material);
  • is charged with an indicted offence either in Canada or abroad, is imprisoned either in Canada or abroad, or is subject to court-imposed conditions that have the effect of preventing possession of a passport;
  • has been convicted of a passport offence under the Criminal Code of Canada or under equivalent legislation outside of Canada;
  • there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the passport must be cancelled in order to prevent the commission of sexual offences against children outside of Canada; or
  • the Public Safety Minister believes that the decision is necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, pursuant to s. 2 of the Criminal of Canada, or for reasons of national of Canada or a foreign country or state.

Note that intent must not be established in order to support a decision to refuse a passport.

Passport Suspension

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada may refuse passport services to a passport bearer who has failed to pay child support or alimony and thus can be subject to the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistant Act. Intent need not be established when deciding to refuse passport services. Where a passport has been suspended it must be returned to the Passport Program. If it is not returned, then it will be cancelled. If the suspension ends before passport expiry, it is returned to the bearer. 

Passport Cancellation

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may cancel a passport to a person on the following grounds:

  • the passport holder is deceased;
  • a request to return the passport was issued pursuant to s. 11 of the Order but the passport holder has failed to do so;
  • there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the passport must be cancelled in order to prevent the commission of sexual offences against children outside of Canada; or
  • the Public Safety Minister believes that the decision is necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, pursuant to s. 2 of the Criminal of Canada, or for reasons of national of Canada or a foreign country or state.

Note that the cancellation of the passport renders it invalid for travel. Following cancellation, officials assess whether there are grounds to revoke the passport. Where insufficient grounds exist to revoke, a new passport will be issued with the same expiry date as the cancelled passport.

Passport Revocation

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may revoke a passport to a person for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • the passport holder is no longer a Canadian citizen;
  • the passport was obtained through the provision of false or misleading information;
  • the passport is used in, or to assist with, the commission of an indictable offence either in Canada or a similar offence outside of Canada;
  • the passport was used by an individual other than the passport holder with their permission; or
  • the Public Safety Minister believes that the decision is necessary to prevent the commission of a terrorism offence, pursuant to s. 2 of the Criminal of Canada, or for reasons of national of Canada or a foreign country or state.

Note that intent must not be established in order to support a decision to revoke a passport.

Investigation Process

Investigations are usually divided into two categories (category one and two) based on the types of incidents being investigated. The process remains the same for each category, however. Investigations that could result in refusal, revocation, suspension or cancellation of a passport are concerned with fact finding. Material gathered in assessing whether to refuse or revoke a passport is weighed on a balance of probabilities. Persons subject to these investigations must be informed in writing of the material facts and information available, as well as the procedure governing investigations and applicable sections of the Order. Persons should be provided with the opportunity to respond to this information within a specified time frame given in the investigation letter. The decision to refuse or revoke may be accompanied by an ineligibility period determined by the decision maker, lasting up to 10 years.

Final Decisions

Following assessment of this response (if provided) a final decision is rendered. Where the investigation does not support proceeding with refusal, revocation or cancellation, the subject will be informed that their passport entitlements have been reinstated. Where the investigation supports action, the file is sent to a decision making for a final decision. The decision maker may then decide to: 1) issue or return a passport; 2) revoke a passport; 3) refuse to issue a passport; or 4) refuse passport services for a period of time.

What can be done?

In the event that you have been refused issue of a passport, your passport is revoked and/or you have been refused passport services, you may seek leave and judicial review of the decision in Federal Court. Here at Bellissimo Immigration Law Group PC we pride ourselves on being one of the leading law firms that deal with refusals and citizenship and immigration litigation.

Individuals whose passports have been cancelled by a decision of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may apply for reconsideration of the cancellation to the Passport Cancellation Reconsideration Office. This application must be made within 30 days of the date that the cancellation was communicated to the subject. Following submission of the application, subjects will be provided with reasons for the cancellation. The subject may thereafter provide information in support of the application for reconsideration. The Minister will review this application and render a decision. Where the cancellation is maintained, this decision may be challenged at the Federal Court of Canada.

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