Being able to go anywhere in the world that you please.
Walking tall with your head held high.
Confidently applying for any job.
Knowing you have finally shed the chains of the past.
If that sounds good, it might be time to apply for a US Entry Waiver.
Don’t play Russian roulette with your travel plans
Have you ever noticed how Americans seem to have a ‘tough on crime’ mentality? As a country that incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world, it’s not surprising that they are extremely security-conscious when it comes to people trying to enter their borders. As you probably already know, American Customs and Border Protection officials can choose to do a criminal background check on anyone they want to, at the border. There doesn’t have to be a reason. Perhaps they think you look suspicious, or maybe they are having a bad day, or perhaps they simply haven’t met their quota that day. Maybe you have a guitar in your backseat or maybe you are with a pregnant passenger and it’s assumed you are trying to immigrate illegally. Maybe you’re wearing certain clothing, or maybe there is a travel alert out on someone who happens to look like you. All it takes is a few clicks of a mouse for a border official to discover that you have a criminal record, and deny you entry to the U.S.
Legal loopholes do exist, but it’s a risky game
Unfortunately, the closest country to ours, the United States of America, is also the only country that has access to our criminal database (CPIC). Other countries may require a criminal background check to apply for an entry Visa, so it’s advisable to confirm this before attempting to travel internationally; but with the US, it’s a certainty that your criminal record can be scrutinized at will.
Because the American government is willing to overlook certain crimes, known as admissible offenses, some myths have sprung up around just how difficult it is to get past border officials. While you will probably be admitted to the States if your criminal record displays only a single offense of shoplifting or driving while intoxicated, the fact is that border guards have tremendous discretionary power and they are allowed to arbitrarily refuse you entry, even if this is the only charge on your record. Suffice it to say that there is little point in protesting such a decision.
What happens if you are caught at the border without a waiver?
Many people are unaware of the consequences of being stopped at the U.S. border without having the appropriate U.S. entry waiver, because their crime may have occurred decades ago and they have been across many times at the same or different entry points, without any problems. Others have been asked a few standard questions about the purpose of their trip, yet ultimately let in. Still others are willing to take the gamble because it’s not a big deal; if turned back, they can make other plans. Right?
Not necessarily. The consequences of being denied entry to the United States range from annoying (missing out on a fun weekend) to awful (having to forfeit a non-refundable airfare departure from the US) to the tragic (not being able to attend a loved one’s funeral or a child’s wedding, south of the border). At Dominion Pardons & Waivers, we have heard it all: people who missed out on career-changing conferences and business meetings, lost executive jobs because they required travel to the U.S., and had their property seized at the border. We know all too well that without a waiver, you could be photographed, fingerprinted, detained, handcuffed, searched and questioned in a humiliating manner before being turned away. But it gets worse: you could even be arrested and detained at the border, not because of your past Canadian charges/convictions, but because you tried to enter the country again after previously having been denied. Once you have been warned by a US official that you require a United States entry waiver for admittance, it is grounds for arrest and/or property seizure if you continue trying, because you are knowingly breaking a U.S. law.
What a US Entry Waiver can do for you
As its name suggests, a U.S. Entry Waiver allows you to travel into the U.S.A. even if you have a criminal record, without fear of being detained or refused entry. If you have already been deemed inadmissible at the US border, you will need a waiver. But even if you haven’t been deemed inadmissible yet, all it takes is one time for you to be refused entry. If you continue to attempt to cross, this will flag you in the US system and they could choose to deny you an entry waiver in the future.
A Canadian pardon is a wonderful thing to get for your own peace of mind and for your life in Canada, but a pardon (or record suspension, as they are now known) is not a document that is recognized by the American government. That means that if you plan to travel to the United States, the only way to ensure you don’t encounter any problems, delays or hassles is by obtaining a separate U.S. entry waiver. If you already got your pardon before attempting to cross the border, Americans won’t be able to see that you ever had a criminal record; but if you were already stopped at the border before getting a pardon, and were questioned or refused entry, or admitted to the guard that you have been charged with an offense, then the United States immigration officials will have it in their system. Once you have an INS and an FBI file, they won’t care that a pardon was subsequently issued.
A US Entry Waiver is literally your only guarantee of being allowed to enter the United States if you have a criminal record.
Now is the time to move past your mistakes. Let Dominion Pardons & Waivers guide you through the process as we have done for countless individuals who finally got sick and tired of the past coming back to haunt them, and enlisted our expert help.
An application for a US entry waiver takes months to approve, so it’s best to start the waiver application process well in advance of when you wish to travel to or through the States. The good news is, Dominion Pardons & Waivers will undertake all the necessary steps and processes to help you obtain a U.S. Entry Waiver as quickly as possible.
Don’t wait till it’s too late. Call now for your free, confidential consultation – and say yes to a fresh start.