You may have traveled to the US many times in your life without incident at the US Border, but if you have any past criminal activity (including a conditional or absolute discharge, withdrawn, stayed or dismissed criminal charge) you may be surprised one day by a US Customs Agent who decides to do a random criminal check.
Once the Americans know about your criminal record they can choose to refuse you entry or delay your travels with intensive questioning. Either way, you want to avoid this embarasing and painful situation if you can before it happens to you.
If you have been denied entry to the US, then you need a US Entry Waiver or I-194 to return to the US. Obtaining a US Entry Waiver requires a complicated and somewhat expensive application to be submitted to the DHS (Department of Homeland Security).
If you have not been denied entry but have been fingerprinted for a criminal charge, regardless of whether you have been convicted you should apply for a Canada Pardon or File Destruction before traveling to the US.
Here is a recent email we recieved from a distressed traveler who was questioned at the US Border because of a Theft Under Charge in 1977:
“I am a business owner, own and operate a business in Calgary Alberta, and another in Arizona, I also own a home in Arizona.”
“I have been traveling back and forth to the US with no issue, until last weekend, on the 16th of Sept. 2011.”
“I was going to Arizona for the weekend, at the airport i was subject to secondary screening and the immigration officer said i had a conviction from 1977, putting me at the age of 17. I now recall the incident, it was theft under 50 dollars. and again i was only 17.”
“The US Border agent stated that i absolutely needed this cleared up before being allowed entry again.”
“This leaves me in a very bad situation, if i cannot return what do i do about my home? and also my business? I have invested approx. 1 million in the business in the US, and purchased my home for 780,000.00 cash. Also i have up to 20 American employees, do i lay them off? as i cannot over see my operations. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”
If you have any questions regarding this topic or about Pardons and US Entry Waivers email us at [email protected] or call 1-877-929-6011 or 416-929-6011.