Many people with an old criminal record believe that if they have crossed the border in the past without a problem then there will be no issue in the future. This is WRONG. It just takes one customs officer who decides to do a criminal check and they will uncover your criminal record (no matter how old and how minor, they can see withdrawn, dismissed, stayed and absolute and conditional discharges) and then possibly refuse you entry to the US.
If you are denied entry to the US then you will require a US Entry Waiver or 1-92 or I-194 to return to the US. This is a complicated and lengthy application and can take 7-20 months to obtain.
If you have never been denied entry to the US, then it is a good idea to get a Canada Pardon or File Destruction so that you may be safe to travel to the US in the future.
Here is a real life example of an email we recently received from a distressed traveller:
“I reside in North Ontario which is only a 20 minute drive to New York. We frequent the US for a variety of things, shopping, dining, etc. My parents have a place in Florida which we also frequent yearly. All the times crossing,”
“I have never been asked if I had a criminal record. Of course when asked, I replied yes. I mentioned a drunk driving charge I incurred more than 14 years ago. Homeland Security asked if any other charges and I replied no. They asked my brother-in-law and myself to park and go in.”
“They obviously ran a check on me and not only came up with the drunk driving charge but also a theft under 1000 incurred more than 20 years ago that I forgot about. When pressed I brought it up, but truly it was a forgotten charge. I was only 20 years old. It was a conditional discharge.”
“Please help. I need to travel between both countries. Anything you can do to help would be most 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.