Can Trump come to Canada now that he’s a convicted felon?

Can Trump come to Canada now that he's a convicted felon?
(Justin Lane/Pool Photo via AP)
Former President Donald Trump leaves the courthouse after a jury found him guilty of all 34 felony counts in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York.

A Canadian immigration lawyer says Donald Trump is technically barred from crossing into Canada now that he is a convicted felon.

The former U.S. president was found guilty Thursday on all 34 counts in his criminal hush money trial, punishable by up to four years in prison.

“Technically, upon him being convicted, he is now inadmissible to Canada,” said Mario Bellissimo, a Toronto-based immigration lawyer and policy analyst.

Given the number of convictions, Trump is likely to remain barred from crossing the Canadian border as a civilian until at least five years after he has served his sentence, Bellissimo said.

After that, he can apply for a “certificate of rehabilitation.”

Alternatively, Trump could apply for a visa if he had an especially compelling reason to come to Canada, the lawyer said, but it would be very difficult for most people to get one in the same circumstances.

However, Trump is anything but a conventional case.


The verdict makes Trump the first former American president to be found guilty of felony crimes, and comes just six months before the presidential election in which Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

Trump’s ability to travel north may well depend on his political fortunes and whether is elected to the Oval Office once again. Canada’s government has the discretion to allow people in, especially for diplomatic reasons, said immigration lawyer Nathan McQuarrie.

“In practice, the Canadian government would likely weigh the diplomatic consequences and might still find a way to facilitate the visit, possibly under special permissions or conditions,” said McQuarrie, who is based in British Columbia and specializes in cross-border cases with the U.S.

“While convictions could theoretically affect the admissibility of a U.S. president to Canada, the reality is that diplomatic considerations and special permits … are likely to facilitate their entry, especially for official duties.”

But the more serious the crime, the more significant the issue, said McQuarrie, and fraud convictions would fall into the “serious” category.

Spokespeople for the public safety and immigration ministers said they would not discuss individual cases, even ones as high-profile as Trump’s.

The Canada Border Services Agency said decisions about who is allowed into Canada are made on a “case-by-case basis.”

“Several factors are used in determining if an individual is admissible to Canada, including involvement in criminal activity, human rights violations, organized crime, security, health or financial reasons,” the agency said in a statement.

Trump repeatedly professed his love for Canada during his time in the Oval Office, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Canada is top of his list of travel destinations.

His only visit to Canada as president was a raucous affair that ended in a major spat between him and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The 2018 G7 summit in La Malbaie, Que., included closed-door conversations among leaders and negotiations to replace the continental trade agreement, NAFTA.

After a press conference to wrap up the summit, Trump lashed out on social media to call the prime minister “weak” and “dishonest,” based on statements Trudeau made at a press conference as the summit wrapped up.

Following the spat, his trade adviser Peter Navarro accused Trudeau of stabbing Trump “in the back on his way out the door.”

Trump’s sentencing is set for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention.

The irony, said Bellissimo, is that if Trump committed the same crimes as a Canadian, travelling south of the border would probably be off the table.

“It is a crime of moral turpitude,” Bellissimo said.

“Even after potentially being cleared of the time, and finishing a sentence, it would be very difficult to get into the United States. But that’s a whole other story.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2024.

— With files from Dylan Robertson and The Associated Press

Laura Osman, The Canadian PressLaura Osman, The Canadian Press

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