At The Law Firm of Ted Yoannou, we assist clients in need of Pardons and/or Waivers into the United States.
Legal entry into the United States from Canada is becoming more difficult as policymakers south of the border seek to tighten security in response to perceived threats worldwide. For those Canadians with criminal records attempting to cross the border without acknowledging their criminal history there is a risk of detention, deportation, and even incarceration.
It is possible in Canada to apply to the National Parole Board for a pardon for a criminal conviction. If the pardon is granted the person’s criminal record is sealed which means that it will not show up in the Canadian databases typically searched by law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border. However the criminal record is not erased and can be disclosed or re-instated in the appropriate circumstances.
In terms of crossing the border a Canadian pardon has no effect on records kept in the United States. Therefore if your criminal record has been entered into the U.S. system for any reason you may still be refused entry into the U.S. based on that criminal record even though the record has been sealed in Canada.
To gain legal entry into the U.S. with a Canadian criminal record it is therefore advisable to apply for a U.S. Travel Waiver. An application is made to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and generally requires the full disclosure a person’s criminal history as well as the completion of an application package including fingerprinting.