It seems like the US Department of Homeland Security is getting even more strict at the US border than ever before.
We are receiving hundreds of calls and emails from people being questioned at the US border if they have ever been charged with a criminal offence.
The question is tricky because if you have been fingerprinted for a charge (for example domestic assault), then the Americans will see the charge even if it has been withdrawn, dismissed, stayed, absolute or conditional discharged.
Of course, if you have a criminal record, even if its really old, then the Americans can see that too.
If the customs officer turns you away at the border then you will require an I-194 or I-192 US Entry Waiver to re-enter the US. The application process is lengthy, complicated and costly.
If you have never been turned away at the US border, its a good idea to call or email us immediately so that we can help you remove the charges (even if they have been stayed, withdrawn, dismissed, absolute or conditional discharged) before you cross the US border. Your criminal record can be removed with a Canada Pardon or File Destruction depending on the offence and how long you have been out of trouble.
Here is an example of an email we recently received from a distressed traveler:
“I am just sitting waiting for my flight after a lengthy discussion with Customs. I am a Canadian citizen and travel a great deal as I am a professional poker player.”
“This trip I was at US customs they asked the usual routine questions & a new one do you have a criminal record?”
To which I answered no and this began a rescreening and quite the debauchle. I was charged with an assault many moons ago as I was a bouncer and the charge was dropped yet still showing up!?! ”
“Wondering about steps to rectify this oversight thank you.”
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.