If you have been denied entry to the USA due to having an old criminal record or for overstaying your welcome in the USA then you will need a US Entry Waiver (I-194, I-192) to return to the USA.
You may have traveled to the USA in the past with a criminal record and gotten through, but the Americans are now doing more and more criminal checks at the border so it’s possible you will be denied if you try again.
Once you are denied entry at the USA border, you will likely be fingerprinted by the border agents and then asked to withdraw your application for entry to the US. You will then have to turn around and go home. This can be a hugely embarassing and shameful moment for people as well as a financial burden of losing the payments for the airplane tickets and accomodations.
Each day we speak to many people who have been denied entry to the US and it is a horrifying experience. If you have never been denied entry then you can obtain a pardon or record suspension first, and then once it is granted, the Americans will not likely see that you have a criminal record and you will not be denied entry.
Here is a recent email from a person we helped to obtain a US Entry Waiver – I-192 and I-194:
Hope this finds you well. You had asked me to send you copies of the
paperwork if and when this is approved. I was nicely surprised to
find the APPROVED paperwork in today’s mail. As I submitted the I-92
at the end of June 2016 at Niagara Falls, it only took 3 months, and
even though I was expecting it to only be issued for 1 year the first
time out, INSTEAD they’ve issued it – good for 5 years (cited for
‘Humanitarian’ reasons. They must think I’m going to die soon. LOL.)
You had mentioned to me that the first time I try and cross the
border with this paperwork, that I should expect a secondary
interview after which time, they’d put a special STAMP on the form
… so that in future, crossing the border would be normal and would
eliminate any secondaries. Correct? I’ll do a land crossing at
Niagara in the next month of so, just to get that stamp. I think it
would be better this way than doing it at an airport as USA customs
doesn’t care about me missing any connecting flights while I sit and
rot in their holding area.