It’s a very straightforward question:

Can I Go to Canada If I Owe Child Support?

The correct answer is yes, you can enter Canada owing child support provided you have a valid passport and there are no related criminal charges.

Entering Canada with Old Criminal Charges or DUI

There are few more details to consider when travelling to Canada. A DUI or old criminal charges may prevent you from entering Canada. Canada takes DUI convictions very seriously. If you had a DUI after December 18, 2018 you will not be allowed to enter Canada due to changes in Canadian DUI laws. Whether or not a criminal charge will prevent you from entering Canada depends on how Canadian law views the severity of those charges, as well as the time that has passed since the conviction.

To read more about DUI convictions and entering Canada click: entry to Canada with a DUI.

The $2500 in Overdue Child Support Myth

There is a lot of misinforming on the web about being able to enter Canada when you owe a certain dollar value. We have seen $5000 and $2500 as limits owed that will prevent you from entering Canada. The fact is that if you already have a passport, you can enter Canada legally. If you don’t have a passport and need to apply, then you will be unable to apply for a passport when you owe $2500 or more in child support. The $2500 myth is a U.S. government issue and not a Canadian border crossing issue.

Like most myths, there is some truth to not being able to travel if oweing $2500 or more in child support – it is in regards to passport applications.

U.S Passport Applications With Child Support in Arrears

According to the U.S. Department of State website, “If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.”

The only solution provided by the website was to pay or make arrangements to pay child support arrears to the appropriate state child support enforcement agency then reapply for your passport as below:

If You’ve Already Applied for your Passport

1) Make arrangements to pay your child support arrears with the appropriate state child support enforcement agency.
2) The state agency reports to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that you’ve made acceptable payment arrangements.
3) HHS removes your name from their list and reports this to U.S. Department of State. This may take 2-3 weeks.
4) U.S. Department of State verifies that HHS removed your name.
5) U.S. Department of State processes your passport application.

State Agency Resource

The site did give a contact link for questions about child support arrears. It suggested contacting the appropriate state child support enforcement agency at this link.

Questions About Entering Canada?

We realize that crossing the U.S. border and being denied entry into Canada could cause any number of problems. CBCS owner Mitch Jessiman is a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with years of experience to help you determine your eligibility to enter Canada. Consultations are free. Simply call Mitch at 1-800-438-7020 or use the form on this page. Thank you.

Mitch Jessiman
Mitch Jessiman RRIC

4 thoughts on “Can I Go to Canada If I Owe Child Support?

  1. My family and I were considering moving to Canada because I am a professional truck driver but I owe some back child support totalling over 10k. My passport is expired and I was wondering if it would be possible to move there with all the above issues.

  2. Kathi L Lewis says:

    My son pays on his child support and currently owes more than $2500.00 in arrears. There was a planned trip to go to Alaska to bring a family back home to Maine. Will he be able to pass through or even get his passport to do this? This is the cheapest route as opposed to driving to Washington state and getting the ferry. He would drive to North Dakota and go up into Canada and traverse over to Alaska from there. Wondered if there were any waivers or exceptions to this? Thank you in advance.

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