The recent incident with the Nigerian bomber in Detroit has raised US concerns about security at their border crossings. As a result, they have become stricter about doing criminal record checks on any foreigner who enters the US.
If you have a criminal record, the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) can deny you entry at the US Border. If they do so, you will require an I-194 or US Entry Waiver to re-enter the US. This application is a long and complicated process and can be costly.
If you have a criminal record, and that includes if you have been fingerprinted by the police but the charges were later dismissed, withdrawn, stayed or absolute and conditional discharge, you can apply for a Pardon or File Destruction. If you complete this process before the Americans stop you at the US border, you may be safe to cross the border without the need for a US Entry Waiver or I-194.
Its true, the Americans do not recognize Pardons in Canada, and they will tell you that fact whenever they possibly can. However, if you already have a Pardon, they may not be able to see the charges once they are removed, it depends on the file.
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.