Clearing American Customs

Canadian Passport

When you travel to the United States from Canada you clear customs at the airport you depart from, rather than the airport you arrive in. In other words, you need to clear customs before you even get the plane or – obviously – leave the country.

It probably seems obvious to most of you but it isn’t for some of the people I speak to. But there is a simple explanation for this. It’s because some people –more people than a lot of us would think – have never flown on an airplane and/or never left the country. Believe it or not but many Canadians don’t even have a passport.

Now imagine you’re one of these people who, for whatever reason, have never flown to the United States. You’ve finally planned that perfect family trip. The kinds are excited. Your significant other is excited. You’re excited. It doesn’t matter where you‘re going. Travelling is an adventure.

But what happens for a lot of people when they get to the airport is that they end up being reminded of something they did in the past that resulted in a criminal record. It might be 40 years old or it might only be from last year. Either way the result in the majority of these cases is that the family trip comes to an abrupt end before you even get on the airplane.

I spend most of January hearing stories of this sort but it happens all year long as well. It’s just that January sees a lot of people refused because of the pure volume of air traffic over the Christmas holidays. If you’re perfect Christmas vacation came to and end like this just know that you’re not alone. It can happen to anyone.

I’m not sure how stopping families from going to Disneyland, or wherever, is relevant to US homeland security but then again it’s none of my business. The United States has its own laws regarding tourist entry or any other kind for that matter. If you aren’t following their rules perfectly they can, and often will, refuse you entry and they will not care if your perfect family trip just came to an end.

So you need to make sure that you’re criminal record is taken care of. It should be the first thing on your list because it can take awhile.
If you’re unsure if you even have a criminal record, don’t take chances. Give us a call and discuss your options with a counsellor at the National Pardon Centre.

Chances are a Canadian pardon or a US entry waiver will help get your past that border guard and on your way towards your family holiday.

Michael Ashby

514.842.2411 x 227

About Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby is Co-Founder and Communications Director for the National Pardon Centre. Get in touch with Michael by sending an email to or calling extension 227.Michael Ashby est le co-fondateur et le directeur des communications au Centre du Pardon national. Contactez Michael par email au ou par téléphone au poste 227.


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