Criminal Records and the US Border

US Entry Waiver


Crossing the border with a criminal record

Contrary to popular belief circulating among the media these days American border agencies do not have access to pardoned criminal convictions.

Pardoned records are sealed and kept separate and apart from active criminal records and no matter what anyone tells you the Americans do not have access to the pardoned criminal record database. And although this is the good, honest truth there are many reasons for the confusion going around. The following should help clarify:

If an American border agent has viewed your criminal record prior to obtaining a pardon it will be downloaded into FBI files. Border agents will then always have access to it, regardless of a pardon from Canada.

  • American law and American authorities do not recognize Canadian pardons. Therefore, if you admit to having received a pardon they will register your name with the FBI database. You will then be considered to have an active criminal record as far as the American border is concerned.
  • Since American law does not recognize pardons when you enter the country you are required to disclose your pardon to border authorities, even though they do not have access to pardoned criminal records.
  • You do not need to have been convicted of a crime to be barred from entering the United States. Canadians have been refused entry for admitting to having used marijuana among other minor transgressions.

The bottom line is that you should be aware of the laws when traveling to the United States. But the truth is that American border guards DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO CRIMINAL RECORD PARDONS .

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 mashby@nationalpardon.org 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 mashby@nationalpardon.org ou par téléphone au poste 227.

One Comment

  • Jean says:

    I have been questioned at US border with finger print taken for immigration purpose is it the same database as criminal fingerprint? I wanted to know if US police pullme over I will consider as a criminal?

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