Arrest and detention

If you are arrested or detained in another country, you should clearly inform the arresting authorities that you want them to immediately notify the nearest Canadian government office abroad of your arrest.

In countries that are party to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (176 States Parties as of 2013), the arresting authorities are obliged to advise you of your right to access consular representation and to arrange for this access. They are not required to inform a Canadian government office of your detention or arrest unless you specifically ask them to do so.

Consular officials will not arrange your release from prison. You are subject to the criminal justice system of the country where you are arrested and imprisoned.

Arrested or detained abroad

If a Canadian citizen is arrested and detained abroad, Canadian officials abroad can:

Canadian officials abroad cannot:

The Government of Canada cannot intervene in ongoing legal proceedings in other countries or regions unless it is requested to do so by local authorities. These requests are rare. The procedures required in legal proceedings or police investigations may be different from the procedures in the Canadian legal system. If you are involved in these proceedings, you may face long delays in the effort to resolve your case.

If your international human rights are known to have been violated, the Government of Canada may take steps to pressure the foreign authorities to abide by their international human rights obligations and provide basic minimum standards of protection.

While having dual citizenship is legal in Canada, it may not be legal or recognized in the country of your second nationality, which could limit the ability of the Government of Canada to assist you if you are arrested in that country. You should still request access to Canadian consular officials, who aim to assist all Canadian passport holders.

Contact the appropriate foreign government office in Canada to address these issues before you go abroad.

Contact us if you need help.

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