We receive hundreds of calls and emails each week from people who are turned away at the US border because of an old criminal record.
The Americans are becoming much more strict at the border and will deny you entry even if your criminal charge was withdrawn, dismissed, stayed, peace bond, absolute or conditional discharge. In each case, even though it is not considered a full criminal conviction in Canada, the Americans simply see on their system that you were in trouble with the police and they will deny you entry.
Once you obtain a file destruction, pardon or record suspension, you should be safe to travel as long as you have never been stopped by the Americans in the past.
If you have been denied entry to the US then you need a US Entry Waiver (I-194) to return to the US which is a long and complicated application.
Here is an email we just received from a person who was denied entry to the US because of a peace bond for an assault charge:
“On a recent trip to the us, I was detained by border customs agent and informed that I have a criminal record. The record they referred to was for an assault charge in about 1997. I was issued a peace bond (which was successfully completed) and told that I would not have a criminal record. I told the border agents the details, but they refused entry and sent me back to Canada. What do I need to fix this so I can travel to the US?”
If you have any questions regarding this topic or about Pardons, Record Suspensions and US Entry Waivers email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-929-6011 or 416-929-6011.