Heading to the US for addiction rehab or medical services?
Back in the 80s and 90s, it was common for Canadians struggling with drug and/or alcohol dependency to be sent to private treatment centres in the United States…with OHIP picking up the tab. While the days of free state-side treatment in the hot sun are long over, many still choose to seek treatment in the US simply because their facilities may have certain advantages over some Canadian ones. Now of course, it costs money to attend private rehabs or seek medical attention of any kind in America, whereas under the Canadian provincial health care system, most health care is covered by the government; that’s a major disadvantage for the Americans right there, and one which has caused the patchwork US health care system, in all its iterations, to take major international flak. Yet when it comes to seeking medical treatment of any kind in the United States, there are reasons why foreigners still continue to pull out their wallets:
- Specialty treatments not available in Canada, such as wrangling horses to overcome addictions
- Cutting edge clinical trials and potentially lifesaving experimental treatments not being attempted elsewhere
- Prestigious medical care facilities sought after by people from all over the world
- Renowned plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons performing superb restorative work
- Potentially reduced wait times for paying customers
So if you (or your family) can afford to visit the United States for medical treatment that you can’t otherwise get in Canada, that’s wonderful! That is, if you are allowed across the border. Without a US travel waiver, Canadians with a criminal record, no matter how old or how seemingly trivial their offense, can be turned back Customs and Border Patrol, even if their circumstances are desperate.
Struggling with anorexia and bulimia, this Canadian citizen could not seek help
This is Francesca’s* story, in her own words:
“I struggled for almost 20 years with bulimia and anorexia. It is a killer and probably the toughest disease to beat. It has the highest mortality rate of all mental illness and it’s also not talked about enough. Everyone has a lot of pressure to look a certain way and it’s a fine line when an obsession becomes unhealthy. If you or anyone you care about needs help it is there and talk about it. And if you are suffering you can beat it, it’s a bitch but you can. I have been there crying over plates of food, the pain of refeeding, the thought I can’t take one more bite.
I couldn’t get into US for treatment…til I got humanitarian parole from US. Now I am banned from the US again. I now have freedom, but not without any bumps on the path, but it is possible.”
Because of an old criminal record, Francesca wasn’t allowed into the United States for treatment for her eating disorders even though they were literally killing her. She applied for humanitarian parole, which was eventually granted, but the moment her treatment was complete, the special pass was revoked, meaning that if she should suffer a relapse, she would not be able to return to treatment in the US without going through another lengthy application process and hoping a special dispensation would once more be granted. It’s not something she wants to experience again.
Trying to sneak across the border with a criminal record can bring not only failure, but legal consequences as well, such as detention and property seizure. The only way to ensure safe admittance to the US – even if you are going there for heart surgery for your innocent child – is to obtain a US Travel Waiver. Find out more and apply for your travel waiver here.
Call TOLL FREE 1-888-890-1321
or fill out the online inquiry below and have a qualified agent help you see if you are eligible to clear your criminal record with a Pardon, or gain access to the United States with an Entry Waiver.