Passport seizure at the border


New Member

My wife and I while trying to go through the border crossing at St. Armand POE (Quebec) were stopped for additional verification.

The border crossing officer assigned to our case asked me everything ranging from our intent (which was to visit Montreal for a day) to what I do in USA (H1B), to when did we plan this trip (about a week ago) and if I knew anyone in Canada (yes a few friends but were not seeing them during this trip), based on my answers FIRST concluded that he doesn’t understand why would anyone drive up from Boston to spend time in Montreal for a single day. I responded by saying that I love traveling and since we don’t work on weekends, and also because Boston is just 4.5 hours from Montreal decided to visit again (yes, we visited Montreal last year too for 2 days).
He then went back for 3.5 hours and came back to inform me that he ‘doesn’t like my passport’, he really said that point blank. And started justifying by saying that the ‘texture’ of lamination was different, the picture was a bit off to the left, the signature was not entirely within the box provided, most shockingly that the plastic lamination had come off a bit from the first page (which I never noticed before, and I travel international almost every 2months).
FINALLY he concluded by saying that my passport had multiple irregularities and he was seizing it for authenticity verification pursuant to sub section 235(1) (b).
Has anyone else gone through such experience? Should I just wait for them to finish their verification (he mentioned it could take 30 days or more)? I am waiting for my express entry result by March. Could this impact that process too?

Riley Haas

Staff member
You might want to contact a lawyer to see what kind of rights you have about getting your passport back (which is technically not yours but the property of your home country). If you can afford to wait the 30 days then you can always wait until the time has passed before you resort to that action.

You can also file an Access to Information request with the CBSA to see what information that I have about you which might have triggered the incident.

Whether or not it affects your Express Entry application: So in Canada government departments and agencies are not allowed to share personal information with each other without your consent. (That doesn't mean they don't, just that they're not supposed to.) There are exceptions to this, of course, which could apply if they suspect you of something. However, I am just the forum admin and don't know what the exceptions are off the top of my head.

If you get your passport back in the stated time and nothing else happens this shouldn't affect your immigration application, though it might still cause a problem when you try to enter. (Immigration and the border are handled by two different agencies.) However, if something else happens with your passport, it's definitely possible that this could have some impact on your application.

As I said, you might want to speak to a lawyer (or a consultant if you can find someone with experience in these types of incidents).