We receive hundreds of calls each week from Canadians who are shocked that they have been refused entry to the US because of a criminal conviction that is decades old. Even if they have gone back and forth to the US hundreds of times in the past, it just takes one customs office to decide to do a criminal check and change your life forever.
If you have been refused entry to the US, you will need a US Entry Waiver (I-194, I-192) to re-enter the US. This process is complicated and can be expensive. It is recommended that you seek our guidance in completing this application.
If you have not been refused entry to the US but do have a criminal record, or even if you have been fingerprinted for a criminal charge but not convicted (charges were withdrawn, dismissed, stayed, diversion, absolute discharge or conditional discharge) you should obtain a Canada Pardon or file destruction to remove the charges from public record before traveling to the US. Often, once the criminal charges are removed, you should be safe to travel to the US without a US Entry Waiver (I-192, I-194).
Here is a recent article in the Toronto Sun titled “Man Turned Away at US Border Over Decaded Old Charge”, which highlights the perils of traveling to the US with a criminal record, no matter how small and how old it is:
If you have any questions regarding this topic or about Pardons and US Entry Waivers email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-929-6011.