criminal record is never easy, and when you need to travel, your record will
make it very hard to do so freely. Canadians have always enjoyed a good
relationship with their American neighbors, but after 9/11 happened, the US had
to tighten its border security considerably. Even now, 10 years later, they
still continue to tighten their policies and they have become very hard on
Canadians do not realize the extent of the difficulties presented when
traveling with a criminal record. Some people know that the US does not let
many types of criminal records across their border, but the border patrol
officers can even stop Canadians from traveling to other countries as well.
the details that every Canadian should know about traveling with a criminal
considers any person that is flying over or flying through their country to be
entering the US.
flights out of Canada have to fly through the US to get to any other country
flights from one point in Canada to another point in Canada have to land or fly
into United States airspace.
has an agreement with America's Department of Homeland Security that shares all
of Canada's criminal records, both pardoned and unpardoned, with the US.
US does not recognize pardoned crimes from Canada.
who has committed a crime involving moral turpitude will not be allowed entry
into the United States.
does not have a list of crimes involving moral turpitude, so the US border
officers have the jurisdiction to decide whether or not a Canadian crime
involved moral turpitude.
and the US are currently working together to share more information about
criminal activity to boost border security.
passed Bill C-42 in March, 2011, which means that if any flight from one
Canadian city to another Canadian city that has to land in the US, the pilot,
airline and travel agents must share 20 pieces of information about the crew
members and all passengers on board the aircraft.
a person can travel across the border with a record without being found out.
However, the Department of Homeland Security can access the record anytime and
once a person is found out, they can face severe consequences, including jail
time because the US considers these actions defrauding their country. (Which
happens to be on the list of crimes involving moral turpitude.)
What do the
above points mean for Canadian travelers? If you are from Canada and you want
to travel anywhere in the world, you will most likely have to "enter"
the United States to get to your destination. Many Canadians think that if they
have received a pardon in Canada, then they will be able to travel freely.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. It also doesn't matter what your
destination country's policy on criminal records is; the US can still stop
Canadians from traveling.
If you have
a criminal record and you have been able to travel outside of Canada, the best
and safest thing you can do is to apply for a US Entry Waiver. These waivers
can be expensive and they take months to receive, but they will allow you to
travel freely across the border for a period of 1 to 5 years. Once your waiver
expires, you will need to re-apply for another one, which means beginning the
process and paying the fees all over again, but if it means being able to take
vacations and participate in business trips, then the cost and effort is
definitely worth it!
Information provided by: Nancy Collins –
Canadian Pardon Services