It’s that time of year again. The phones will start ringing as soon as the holidays have passed and a lot of those calls will be from people who were stopped, detained and/or turned away at the border. I will hear the same story over and over and it will center on the same theme. You cannot travel to the USA with a criminal record. You now need a US entry waiver.
A lot of these people will have been travelling to the USA with family in tow, unaware that an old criminal record will prevent them from taking the kids to Disneyland or wherever else the family travel plans originally intended them to be.
Since the law says that you cannot travel to the USA with a criminal record the American border guards are completely within their rights and their duties as a border guard to refuse the entire family entry to the country. It may seem heartless and, frankly, it is in many cases but the law is the law and the US border guards are not there to make family travel plans any easier. They are there to make sure that only admissible persons are permitted to enter the USA.
So let’s be clear on something. You cannot travel to the USA with a criminal record and for the most part it does not matter what nature of the offence was. The Department of Homeland Security website includes a long list of summary offences that it says are not a problem, but in our experience this list does not correspond to reality.
In reality the only criminal record that the border guards will consistently let you travel to the USA with is a single DUI conviction. Everything else is fair game. And keep in mind we do have many clients who were not allowed to travel to the USA because of a DUI charge alone so there is no guarantee.
If you have ever been arrested the only way to be sure you are not at risk when travelling to the USA is to be in possession of a USA entry waiver. Alternatively you can just make sure there is no criminal record on file but this is not exactly in accordance with American law.
If you have questions about how to travel to the USA with a criminal record then I suggest you get in touch with us at the National Pardon Centre. I promise we are going to give you accurate, up to date information that is in your best interest.
If you need a waiver to travel to the USA give us a call because a team you can trust to do things right goes a long way.
And finally I would like to send a big Happy new year to everyone. Stay safe and out of trouble.
1-866-242-2411 x 227