US Travel and Indian Status

US Travel and Indian Status

I receive a considerable number of calls from people who have status under the Indian Act wondering about what this means in terms of US entry privileges. The simple answer is that holding a Status Card does NOT entitle you to cross the border if you are otherwise inadmissible. US Travel and Indian Status don’t necessarily mean a “free pass” the border.

I think the confusion lies in that a Status Card used to be accepted as a valid travel document (just as a driver’s license used to be all you needed to cross the border). Some Ports of Entry will still accept a Status Card but as of 2011 no exceptions will be made and you will need to present a Secure Certificate of Indian Status in order to be allowed into the US. A Secure Certificate of Indian Status replaces a passport but just as a passport would not give me the right to cross the border if I had a criminal record, a US border guard will still refuse you entry if you only present a SCIS and you have a history of criminal convictions.

That being said, the Jay Treaty of 1794 does acknowledge certain travel rights for First Peoples. Essentially, you must be able to satisfy a 50% blood quantum requirement in order to be entitled to cross the border regardless of your criminal history. You should present an official letter from your First Nation or Band or Tribe detailing your ancestry so that the admitting customs officer can determine that you have at least 50% indigenous blood. If you can provide that letter, then you should be able to travel across the border without any trouble, even if you have a serious criminal record. If you cannot obtain such a letter (or if you have less than 50% indigenous blood) then you have no choice but to apply for an Entry Waiver if you wish to cross the border.

Please feel free to contact me personally if you have specific questions about your case.

Share:

Comments (242)
Jennifer / October 7, 2010

I have a criminal record and would like to travel as a status Indian can I travel to certain places regardless?

Reply
Frank odjick / December 28, 2016

Not sure who wrote this article but its totally wrong. I have native status and have a federal criminal record and i cross the border all the time between canada and the u.s.! I get pulled and they do a check but the borddr officers told me that they cant deny my under the jay treaty. Yes you absolutely can cross with status cards if you have a criminal record. No lie i do all the time. Also you DO not need the secure status card to cross. You can still use the old laminated style ones suppliedx by your tribal band office. Seriously this article is so misinforming its not funny. You do not need 50% blood quantem. If you have a status card that means you follow under jay treaty…simple as that. Jay treaty clearly states that you can not be denied entry by land or water. If you have a status card is says right on it in small print protected under the Jay treaty. Im not sure why this person is misinforming everyone but its not cool. This person is not customs nor immigration. If you guys dont believe me call any customs/border and ask the duty officer. They will tell you exactly what i just said.

Reply
Frank odjick / December 28, 2016

I add that the only time you need blood quantem is if your canadian native status and you want to work in the u.s. you need to apply for u.s. social security card. Blood quantem is needed then. You also need it if you apply for a permenant residence card from immigration. You definktely can get a residence card with native status.

Reply
Cliff S / January 10, 2017

Hi Thanks for the info I am considering working in the USA but not living permanently, could I get your email for more information, such as applying for a social security, I would like to know if a ups mailbox is sufficient for an address to get a social security card mailed to or does it require a signature.. My email is csettee7@gmail.com. Thank you for the info

Reply
Michael Ashby / January 10, 2017

Hi Cliff,

I don’t handle anything to do with social security but my email is mashby@nationalpardon.org

Kind regards,
Michael

Frank odjick / February 4, 2017

You can have a sicial card mailed to wherever youd like. It doesnt matter where you choose to have it mailed. Once you apply and prove who you are they simoly ask where youd like it mailed.

Cliff S / February 12, 2017

Thanks Frank do you think there might be a difference between where you are located and me which is Manitoba and the experience/knowledge of the Us Border Services? You see I am very wary, because I occasionally cross the border and have not been refused entry, but when I tell the Customs that I would like to work in USA they will find my record. I have a blood quantum letter and all other documentation. When you say a SS can be mailed anywhere does that include my address in Manitoba? Appreciate the info.

Cliff S / February 12, 2017

and another question is I wonder if the recent Border changes ie Tump will affect the way a Canadian Native would be treated at the border

Reply
Teresa / June 7, 2017

Do you know where i can get a SAMPLE copy of a blood quantum /tribal letter? The 51% blood quantum letter I presented several years ago in order to get my Social Security Card was sufficient for that clerk but when i applied for my Permanent Residency the clerk said my quantum letter did not have enough details. My chief will sign a new one but would like a sample letter to go by that has been used successfully. Any help is greatly appreciated.

cliff settee / May 26, 2017

Frank I got a SSC thanks for your help. Do you know how it is if you have a criminal record and wish to apply for a green card, I spoke to Border Services and it didn’t seem like it was guaranteed like the SSC.
Thanks

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

You do not need a green card. Native status cards are good enough. Under the Jay treaty we are free to roam throughout north america as we please. Sorry for the late response. You will be ok. Even with the record they cant deny you to cross. They can hold you up at the border and pull you in bit as long as you have nothing illegal they still have to let you cross. Its our jay treaty right. Example: i cross monthly with a federal marijuana felony. They use to hassle me but still had to let me in by law. The trump thing doesnt change anything. If you have a record 75% of the time they will pull you in at the border. Basically expect a 20-45 minute delay before they let you through. Sometimes if you cross frequently like i do they leave you alone after a while. As long as you have no pending charges or are wanted you are golden!

mike goulet / March 28, 2017

Hi Frank
i do have my tribe indian Card and the Letter that proves i got more than 50% blood quantum,buy do not have SCiS card, i was told by my Tribe that it’s not all Canada-Us entry point that let you enter in the State, Which entry Point would you recommend me, and yes i do have a Criminel background back in 1994…. Thanks for Advice!

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

Strange! U.s. customs is U.S. customs. Their systems are all linked and they are suppose to follow the same rules when it comes to Jay treaty. Im positive you have been misinformed. Call your nearest customs border and simply ask. Thats exactly how i got answers when i first needed the answers. I got sick of listening to everyone tell me different things so i called the border myself to get the real answers.

Reply
Steve / May 26, 2017

I am 50 percent and you do in fact need a blood quantum letter.If you look ingenious
They may not hassle you but if you are lighter skinned you Wil have a problem. .I have a 50 percent quantum band letter and that’s what you need to cross even with a Canadian pardon as I have .

Reply
Teresa / June 7, 2017

Do you know where i can get a SAMPLE copy of a blood quantum /tribal letter? The 51% blood quantum letter I presented several years ago in order to get my Social Security Card was sufficient for that clerk but when i applied for my Permanent Residency the clerk said my quantum letter did not have enough details. My chief will sign a new one but would like a sample letter to go by that has been used successfully. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Reply
Franklin Newhart / July 20, 2018

Today I went to US customs in Raymond Montana and was refused entry because I could not provide Blood Quantum. I presented my Status Card which is the new one and not the old laminated one. I am 100% Native. Both of my Parents where native and so where all four Grandparents and all eight Great Grandparents. As for the Jay Treaty, I just examined my Status Card and there is no small print that refers to the Jay Treaty on the said card.

Reply
jessie / January 24, 2017

hello i have a fraud charger from 20yrs ago, can i FLY out of the country?

Reply
Cliff S / February 12, 2017

depends where you fly to, if you have a valid passport, you can fly to say Mexico/Cuba but perhaps not USA, I had a 10 year old marijuana possession charge and was never denied entry to USA, flew to Cuba no problem

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

Fly no. Drive and cross with status card yes. You can drive across the border then catch a plane from state to state once your here. No passport needed bcuz state to state is not international flight its domestic. I went to disney and drove from canada to new york then caught a flight from new new york to florida. No passport needed just used my status card.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / October 8, 2010

Hi Jennifer,

No, a Status Card is NOT enough to get you across the US border if you have criminal convictions. You need to obtain a letter from your Band showing that you satisfy the 50% blood quantum requirment that the US imposes. Feel free to call or email me if you would like to further discuss your case!

Birgit

Reply
Trinity / January 23, 2015

Hi there, my friend and I were going to go to a concert in the states but we dont have our passports yet, we are both indian status and have our treaty cards, but do we need a passport still? Thanks

Reply
Michael Ashby / January 23, 2015

Hi Trinity,

To my knowledge everyone requires a passport to cross the border. It may be different for those with Indian Status but to be honest I haven’t looked into that.

Kind regards,
Michael

Reply
James / December 27, 2016

Hi Michael. I have a status card and a letter stating that I satisfy the blood quantum of 100%. I have been charged with a criminal record. Am I able to travel (by driving) across the boarder with my status card and letter from the band? I would also like to know if I can fly out of country? (From either Canada or USA)

Reply
Frank odjick / February 4, 2017

I have a federal criminal.record. have 1st nations status through canada and my feliny record us from the u.s. I drive across with my status monthly even with my criminal record. By land or boat the Jay treaty allows us registered natuves to cross back n forth. No you will not be able to fly from country to country but what i do is drive across then fly from state to state once im in the u.s.! Its considered a domestic flight so you are good to go. These ppl answering these questions have no clue wtf theyre talking about. This michael guy is misinforming. This forum these comments are on are pardon specialist not native rights specialist. They should not even be answering questions about native rights

Cliff / December 7, 2017

Hi Frank
Thanks again for the help, I cross the border frequently with my treaty card and marijuana posession charge, and have even crossed the Mexican border and returned at Tijuana with my treaty card. I have a ssn and have worked in California.

Michael Ashby / March 17, 2015

Worst case scenario is that he will need a US entry waiver. But there is also a good chance that his native status will be enough.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Adam / February 1, 2011

Mr. Davidson

I am currently an Indian status card holder and want to live and work in the United States. I was over in the U.S for the last 5 years on a student visa. I believe I fall into the 25% blood quntam range. Is there any special exceptions or is there anything I can do to live in the United States being 25% Indian? Any information would be greatl appreciated.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / February 2, 2011

Hi Adam,

Do you have a criminal record? If so, you will probably need to apply for an entry waiver. I can help you with that. If you do not have a record, then I suggest you consult an immigration lawyer regarding your options as your case falls outside of our area of expertise. We deal primarily with border crossing, not immigration, in our office.

Best wishes,

Birgit

Reply
Jamie lee / March 31, 2015

Hi there!

I have a criminal record for assult 11 years ago and for a small amount of narcotics.

I have my Indian status, Blood quantum letter, and passport. Will I be able to travel to the United states and apply for a permanent residency card?

Reply
Michael Ashby / April 1, 2015

Hi Jamie,

My understanding is that you can cross the border. But it would be best to get a pardon. As for the permanent resident are you not a Canadian citizen?

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
John Laforme / March 27, 2017

US customs DO NOT recognize Canadian pardons sir!

Reply
Michael Ashby / March 27, 2017

Agreed. You may want to read the information on the website more closely as the American border is a delicate matter.

Michael

Jamie lee / June 9, 2015

Reply

Jamie lee says:

March 31, 2015 at 10:50 pm

Hi there!

I have a criminal record for assult 11 years ago and for a small amount of narcotics.

I have my Indian status, Blood quantum letter 100% and passport. Will I be able to travel to the United states and apply for a permanent residency card?

Reply
Jamie lee / June 9, 2015

I am canadian citizenship.

Reply
Michael Ashby / June 9, 2015

Hi Jamie,

If you are already a Canadian citizen I don’t think you can apply for a PR card. If you mean residency for the States that’s out of my area of expertise. But for travel purposes you should be okay to cross.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Jamie lee / June 10, 2015

What do you mean I should be ok? You guys are stating all we need is blood quantum letter 50% or more first nations, new status card, and passport and we can cross the USA boarder with these 3 pieces of identification for air land or sea????

Reply
Michael Ashby / June 12, 2015

What I mean is it’s not my decision so I can’t give you any guarantees. Best luck.

Michael

Jamie lee / June 10, 2015

What do you mean I “should” be able to cross? You seemed positive with the 2 pieces of ID and blood quantum letter.

?????

Reply
Matt / May 28, 2017

Hey i was denied access because of a domestic violence that was verbal misdemeanor, I know I have American Indian in my blood, I also have a fiance that lives in Ontario and we were going to get married is there a way to get into Canada with a DNA test that proves that I am native American and how can I go about it

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

Lol you need a status card. Whatever tribe you are from has a band office you can visit or call to try to obtain a status card. You cant just go up to the border and say your native. You need to prove it and have a status card

Reply
Adam / February 2, 2011

Thanks for responding. Any information you can give me on immigration would be greatly appreciated. I need to know if my status card will help me to reside and obtain a job in the United States. If not what are my option? I have a Bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and want to put it to use in the U.S.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / February 2, 2011

Hi Adam,

Your best bet is really to speak with an immigration professional. I know waivers and inside and out but am not an immigration specialist. You may also be able to get some answers through INAC – http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

Good Luck!

Birgit

Reply
Jody / February 24, 2011

SO i have a blood quantum of 100% and have a letter stating so, and i have a treaty card but not a SCIS card. Can i infact still cross the border? Even with a record?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / February 25, 2011

Hi Jody,

You will need either a SCIS card or a valid passport in addition to your treaty card and letter in order to cross the border if you havea record.

Birgit

Reply
jody / February 27, 2011

Thank you very much Brigit. That really clears a lot things up for me. I know what direction i need to take now. Thanx again.

Reply
Daniel / March 1, 2011

I am a status Indian and would like to re-locate to the states for better jobs related in my field of work. What are the steps of going through this in the state of California?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / March 1, 2011

Hi Daniel,

Unfortunately, my area of expertise is border crossing, not relocation. I would contact INAC http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp. They shoud be able to point you in the right direction.

Good luck!

Birgit

Reply
Denise / March 8, 2011

I am planning on a vacation to Florida this coming August. I am in the process of obtaining my letter from my band stating in am 50% indigenous blood. If for whatever reason i cannot obtain one, is there another option for me to cross the border with a criminal record?
I do have my certificate of indian status. With having my indian status does this not alone tell you i am 50% indigenous blood?
I am aware that the process of obtaining a US waiver and or pardon is not only costly but also may take some time, at least 6 months. Please correct me if i’m wrong, but is a U.S. waiver better to have than a pardon? With a pardon you still may be turned down at the U.S. border.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / March 8, 2011

Hi Denise,

If you cannot obtain the letter from your Band, then you would need to apply for the pardon or the waiver.

Your status card is not legally enough to satisfy the blood quantum requirement because for a long time a non-indigenous woman could gain status through marriage.

The only way to absolutely guarantee entry in the absence of the above-mentioned letter is to apply for a waiver. Many people are able to travel with a pardon (provided the US had never seen their convicitons prior to the pardon being granted) but it does not offer an absolute guarantee like the waiver does. Pardons generally take 6-12 months to complete (with our expedited service) and expedited waivers normally take at least a year. As such, your best bet for your August trip would be trying to get that letter!

If you would like to start a pardon or a waiver, please send me an email and we can get the ball rolling!

Birgit

Reply
Carl Leblanc / March 24, 2011

I want to go to Las Vegas in September and I have a certificate of Indian status and the band will be sending me a official letter of my blood quantum and I be applying for my passport.I have a criminal record and I will flying.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / March 24, 2011

Hi Carl,

It sounds like you have everything in order. I suggest you arrive at the airport well in advance just in case it takes a while for Customs to review your documents.
Enjoy Vegas!

Birgit

Reply
Kim / April 9, 2011

So if you have a criminal record and are at least 50% status with an official letter from the band proving that, a status card and a passport you not only will be able to drive across the border but fly as well? I was also wondering what makes the letter from your band official? Is there anything required on this documentation? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / April 11, 2011

Hi Kim,

In a nutshell; yes! As long as you have the documentation that you listed, you should be able to clear Customs at any Port of Entry (land, air, or sea).
Please contact Customs and Border Protection directly for the specific requirements of the letter from your Band by copying and pasting this link into your browser window: https://help.cbp.gov/app/ask

Birgit

Reply
Brenda / April 11, 2011

I have a criminal record and have been off parole for 9 years. I am staus indian do i need to have a pardon to go to the U.S.A. ?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / April 12, 2011

Hi Brenda,

You do not have to have a pardon to travel to the USA but you DO need a letter from your Band, First Nation, or tribe attesting that you meet the 50% blood quantum requirement. You will also need a Secure Certificate of Indian Status OR a valid Canadian passport to cross the border.

A pardon is still a good idea though, Brenda, as it will open a lot of doors for you when it comes to your career. It sounds to me like you are eligible. Please feel free to call me if you want to discuss your options!

Birgit

Reply
evange / May 3, 2011

Do you have a sample letter I could use because I am not sure what it should say?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / May 3, 2011

Hi Evange,

Unfortunately, I do not have a template. To the best of my knowledge, the letter does not have to include your genealogy and simple statement about your blood percentage is sufficient although providing your family history certainly couldn’t hurt. The letter should be on official letterhead and signed in INK. If possible, an official stamp or seal should be included. It should state your full name and date of birth as well.

Hope that helps!

Birgit

Reply
Kim / May 5, 2011

I do not have a criminal record, but I want to travel to the US with a SCIS card. Will I require any other documentation to travel across the border?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / May 6, 2011

Hi Kim,

As mentioned above, a Secure Certificate of Indian Status, and not just a regular Status Card, replaces a passport. If you do not have a criminal record then you should be able to travel with just the SCIS.

Birgit

Reply
Jamey Skidegate-Sterritt / September 22, 2016

Dear Bridget: My circumstances are unique but well documented and probably qualify me for special consideration. I am being persecuted in Canada by Canada until I have to consider relief by crossing into the USA. Without going to deeply into the details which are supported by published biographies and court documents and by the email and Facebook records available on the Internet, are you able to advise me about, or direct me to such official sites that would enlighten me before I arrive at the border seeking sanctuary?

I travel with 3 guard dogs and they will be inoculated but will that be a concern to security Personnel?

I AM FULL-BLOODED Indian with Status card and am looking up the further document learned about today.

Thx for giving us your cogently assistance and if you offer personal service let me know so I can avail myself further and exit this country with a minimum of fear.

Jamey Skidegate-Sterritt

Reply
Blaise / May 12, 2011

Hi birgit,

I have a criminal record and am interested in getting a waiver to travel to U.S. just wondering if is a waste of time and money based on my criminal record. i also have a indian status card not sure if that really helps any info would really help.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / May 12, 2011

Hi Blaise,

You mentioned you have Status- do you meet the blood quantum requirement I outlined in the post? If so, then you do not need a waiver. If you don’t meet the requirement, then please send me an email with the details of your criminal record (approximate dates and charges) and I would be happy to give you my thoughts about whether or not they will give you a waiver!

Birgit
bdavidson@nationalpardon.org

Reply
Syannearoo / May 24, 2011

Hi Birgit,

I know this is likely redundant…but I’m sure you can appreciate how apprehensive one is about crossing the border these days.

I leave next week for a work-related trip to California (flying) but I have a criminal record (shop lifting from 21 years ago). I do have a Certificate of Indian Status card; a valid passport and a letter from my band attesting to my blood quantum – is this enough to ensure my entry to the U.S.?

Thank you in advance for your response (I hope it will help settle my nerves).

Reply
Birgit Davidson / May 24, 2011

Hi Syannearoo,

It sounds to me like you have everything you need to cross the border successfully. It is a good idea to arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight as they may still pull you in for secondary inspection.

Bon Voyage,

Birgit

Reply
Syannearoo / May 24, 2011

Thanks for the information and for the well wishes.

If I encounter any snags at the border, I’ll let you know so others can benefit from my experience.

Reply
Carl Leblanc / May 31, 2011

Back in April I,2011, I made application requesting a Letter of Ancestry(blood quantum).The office of Indian and Northern Affairs(www.inac.gc.ca)and they advised me that the Indian Act in Canada does not recognize or define the term Blood Quantum.In Canada,entitlement to Indian status is based on descent from,or adoption by individuals who were recognized as Indians and as members of Indian Bands,rather than a person’s exact degree of Indian blood.However they can confirm the following on the Indian Ancestry through records held within the Genalogical and Reseach Unit.Is this acceptable at the US Border crossing.I have my passport and my status card and the letter from Indian Affairs which I hope is acceptable with the US border.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / May 31, 2011

Hi Carl,

You are absolutely right: “Blood Quantum” is not a Canadian concept but, rather, an American one.

Homeland Security is clear in stating that a person must satisfy the 50% blood quantum requirement but is rather vague in explaining exactly what documentation is required. If you have official docs from INAC showing your ancestry, then I believe that this would be sufficient (accompanied by your status card and passport). You may want to contact the Port of Entry that will be processing your entry to confirm.

Birgit

Reply
Charleen / June 7, 2011

I was just denied entry to the US because of a previous minor criminal record of 20 years ago. I had no idea about the whole native status thing. I have a letter and I have my status card. Now that I have been denied entry, if I go back with this documentation, will I be allowed to cross even though I was stopped before? And will they ask why I did not present this when I was stopped previously? Also, as far as I know not all provinces are making this new enhanced status card. They were rolling them out slowly and well, it’s really slow. I think only 2 provinces have been switched over.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 7, 2011

Hi Charleen,

You should be allowed across as long as you have the required documentation. I suggest you call the Port of Entry that you plan on attending to see if an appointment is required.

Birgit

Reply
Charleen / June 7, 2011

Thanks so much Birgit. I wish I knew this info before I got on a bus to NY last night!

Reply
Charleen / June 9, 2011

What are the rules if you are flying? Is it the same? Do they have to let you through at the airport as well?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 10, 2011

Hi Charleen,

Some airports in Canada have US Preclearance facilities. This is the same as clearing customs at a land border and they enforce the same immigration laws.

Birgit

Reply
Syannearoo / June 15, 2011

Update: Back safe and sound from my trip and didn’t encounter a single issue. The lady at customs asked a couple perfunctory questions, took a good long look at my face and waved me through. Nonetheless, I will carry all the required documents with me each and every time I head south because I couldn’t imagine anything more embarassing than being denied entry in front of colleagues and everyone else waiting to get through. Thanks for all the help, Birgit.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 15, 2011

Hi Syannearoo,

So glad to hear it went smoothly!

Birgit

Reply
shayne / June 22, 2011

i am status indian ,i also have a criminal convictions on both sides of the border and if u are status indian from north america they cannot stop u from entering the usa from canada,,ive done time in both places .if your status resides in canada the usa will let u in because they cannot stop u but if your status resides in the usa (meaning where your rez is )canada Does NOT HAVE TO LET U IN)they can stop u ,hold u, but eventuly they have to let u in EVEN IF YOUR A CRIMINAL <EVEN MURDER

Reply
vikas / June 26, 2011

Hello, I am an Indian, staying in Mumbai, and I am 20 aged IT graduate. I have never gone outside India. But I want to settle myself in USA permanently and work there. Is it possible?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 28, 2011

Hi Vikas,

Charleen is right- the above post is regarding members of First Nations in North America.

The National Pardon Centre is not an immigration firm and so unfortunately, I do not know how it might take for USCIS to process your application nor can I venture a guess regarding your chances of success. One of these websites may provide you with some helpful info (copy and paste it into your browser… I can’t create a link here for some reason):

http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/

Good Luck!

Birgit

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 28, 2011

Hi Shayne,

Our agency only deals with entry into the USA (and not entry to Canada) so thank you for mentioning that the requirements may differ. Anyone seeking information on admission to Canada should consult the Canada Border Services Agency.

I also want to be very very clear that status alone does not guarantee entry to the USA… You MUST satisfy the blood quantum requirement detailed above.

Cheers,

Birgit

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 28, 2011

Hi Vikas,

You should consult the US Embassy or Consulate and/or a lawyer or immigration professional specializing in US immigration.

Birgit

Reply
vikas / June 28, 2011

thanks…..i just want to know whether it is possible or not? if it is
possible then how much time(years) it takes. thanks for your concern..

Reply
Charleen / June 28, 2011

ummm Vikas, we are talking about Native Indian as in aborginal people, not people from India. : )

Reply
vikas / June 28, 2011

hey charleen thanks….but i want reply from the author…..

Reply
Diana / July 4, 2011

I have a regular status card, U.S birth certificate, dual citizenship & no criminal record! I was wondering if any of these documents would help me at the border. I traveled with these documents 2-3 years ago & had no problem before. I would like to apply for the new status card but they are rolling out very slowly in my area 🙁

Reply
Birgit Davidson / July 4, 2011

Hi Diana,

You must have either a Secure Certificate of Indian Status OR a Canadian passport OR a US passport in order to cross the border. The laws changed this year and they will no longer accept the old status cards as travel documents. I know it is possible to get a Canadian passport pretty quickly so maybe that is an option for you?

Birgit

Reply
Chris / May 17, 2018

Hi I have crossed several times with a scis status card, the last 2 times I crossed the US border with it I was told by the border guard that it was not a SCIS card that I had. He stated that the SCIS card has machine readable code on the bottom. This is very confusing as I have the latest status card.

Reply
Michael Ashby / May 22, 2018

Hi Chris,

I apologize but I don’t know enough about scis status cards to advise.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Bernice Cardinal / July 20, 2011

I have been going to the usa a few times. I have a criminal offence which took place 25 years ago. I have a canadian pardon. The 1st time to the states I got a 1 year waiver. The last time i went i got a five years waiver. Each time is very expensive. I am now apply for Treaty Indian because of the new laws for treaty Bill c 43. If I get my treaty card, will I have to reapply for a waiver when my 5 years are up?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / July 21, 2011

Hi Bernice,

If you have more than 50% indigenous blood, and if you are able to obtain a letter attesting to this from your Band or Tribe, then you will not have to apply for another waiver. Your treaty card alone will NOT allow you to cross the border.

If you do not meet the 50% requirement, then you will have to keep applying for travel waivers.

Good luck!

Birgit

Reply
Jerrod / July 22, 2011

My brother had recently renewed his status card. There was a question that said they will give his info to the border. Someone had said that they can now use this new status card as a passport as well. is Is this correct?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / July 25, 2011

Hi Jerrod,

If your brother has received a Secure Certificate of Indian Status then it does serve to replace a passport. If it is not the secure card, then it is not a valid travel document.

Please contact INAC for further information: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

Birgit

Reply
Molly / August 3, 2011

Was stopped at the us border and was told I had a conviction and would have to complete a waiver. About 38 years ago I had a small shop-lifting incident for which I had a conditional discharge. I am 50% Native Indian and have a letter from my band. I did not know the law when I was crossing pertaining to Natives being able to cross even with a record (which I don’t really have in Canada but apparently do in the US.) Now I don’t know what to do because apparently in the US, they don’t change their database and I’m afraid of being stopped again. How do I clear this so that I can travel freely? Do I have to go back to the same crossing to explain my situation? Help!

Reply
Birgit Davidson / August 3, 2011

Hi Molly,

If you show up at ANY border crossing with your letter then you should be allowed to cross into the USA despite the fact that you have been refused entry in the past.

Birgit

Reply
Charleen / August 31, 2011

I too did not know about the option of crossing with a status card and letter and was refused entry back in June. However, I just came back from a US trip and when I showed my card and letter, they noted they refused me earlier and apologized (that’s a first I’m sure!) and let me through no problem! I was also assured that whatever info they had on file would be deleted so I would not go through that again.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / August 31, 2011

Hi Charleen,

GREAT! Glad to hear that you had no problems and that they apologized for refusing you earlier!

Enjoy your travels!

Birgit

Reply
Jason H / November 2, 2011

Can you still enter the US if you are on probation or parole? and how does the jay treaty stand up against that? I am on parole and am allowed to travel as long as it is approved. The parole officer told me that i cannot enter the US, however i thought i could via the Jay treaty. any thoughts?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / November 2, 2011

Hi Jason,

Did you parole officer say that you can not travel to the US in particular or just that you can not leave the country? He or she may not be familiar with the provisions of the Jay Treaty but it could also be that you are not approved for travel to the US due to a condition of your parole. You should speak with your parole officer to confirm but you should abide by any rules that he or she establishes for you!

Birgit

Reply
Jason H / November 2, 2011

She said i could not go to the US because of my record and parole status, however she was not aware of the JAY TREATY which allows me to live and work freely in both countries. On one hand i could just go and the US would have to let me in, however i want to do things properly as that is whats best for my family and I. If i could show proof that i can travel to the US utilizing treaty rights than she would approve it. So any information that would support this would be great.

Reply
Birgit Davidson / November 3, 2011

Hi Jason,

I would be happy to speak with your parole officer regarding the provisions of the Jay Treaty. Please feel free to pass on my contact information to her!

Birgit Davidson
403-698-8800 x 106
bdavidson@nationalpardon.org

Reply
jesse / November 7, 2011

if i am a canadian and just got my indian status card does this mean i have duel citizen ship and can i move to the u.s.??

Reply
Birgit Davidson / November 8, 2011

Hi Jesse,

You should speak with someone who specializes in immigration questions for an up-to-date answer to your question! I deal only with issues linked to criminality. I suggest you try INAC.

Birgit

Reply
Jason H / November 8, 2011

Ok, so i still don’t understand. Can a Canadian criminal record or parole/probation status extinguish the jay treaty right given to american indians born in canada by the US?

yes/no

Reply
Birgit Davidson / November 8, 2011

Hi Jason,

A criminal conviction does NOT extinguish the rights recognized by the Jay treaty but a probation order may temporarily override them (if a person is bound by a probation order preventing them from leaving the country, for instance).

I have not seen the provisions of the order that you are currently bound by and so am unable to answer specific questions regarding your case. I suggest you speak with your probation/ parole officer or you can ask him or her to check out the INAC website… it contains information regarding travel rights. He ro she will be in a betetr position to explain what you can and cannot given your individual circumstances.

Birgit

Reply
Jason H / November 8, 2011

The questions and the answers i am seeking are in general and apply to every status indian that is on parole or probation. All will have a stipulation to remain in their designated parole areas. With permission to leave their district by their parole officer…would the US deny their entry because their status would show their on some type of release? AND can the US deny their entry based on probation/parole status (even with a letter from the PO) and if so wouldn’t that be infringing on the treaty right?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / November 10, 2011

Hi Jason,

To begin, I am not a lawyer and suggest that you speak with one for accurate answers to your questions.

That being said, section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (which governs admission to the USA) states: “Sec. 289. [8 U.S.C. 1359] Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the right of American Indians born in Canada to pass the borders of the United States, but such right shall extend only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race.” To me, this reads that the US will not refuse you entry even if you are on parole.

My understanding is that INAC can revoke a SCIS (just as CIC can revoke a passport) if you are bound by a court order that prevents you from leaving the country. If you do not have a valid travel document, then the US would refuse you entry.

If you still have a valid travel document, and if you have permission from your parole officer, then I do not think there is anythign preventing you from entering the USA.

Again, I STRONGLY suggest you speak with a lawyer as I am not qualified to give legal advice of this sort.

Birgit

Reply
Peter Boehringer / April 4, 2012

Although you are not a lawyer, amd can’t give people legal advice, let me just say i would like to warn those who are Native American like me who were born in Canada who have 50% blood quantum, if you are coming to the United States via the Jay treaty of 1794, certain rights to certain benefits like medicaid, food stamps, and the like are going to be hard to get because the form I-181 from the USCIS is obsolete, that was told to me by USCIS. DHS, of certain states will act like if you have all the documents like the blood quantum, birth certificate and all if someone else cares to discuss this pass on my contact info because i do need to talk to my fellow natives. I know how they treat us natives becuse i am down here right now trying to apply for food stamps and medicaid and they are denying me every time i try even though i have all the documents they have requested i get. Help.

Reply
fabian / July 21, 2012

hi i need help well Im from ontario , it’s a reserve call BIG TROUT LAKE ONTARIO and i need help i got i my cards and the paper from the chief can that work to cross the US boarder?

Reply
Kyle Pistawka / July 23, 2012

Hi Fabian,

As long as you can satisfy the blood quantum requirement than you should be able to travel to the USA with out any issues. To do this you must be able to present an official letter from your First Nation or Band or Tribe detailing your ancestry so that the admitting customs officer can determine that you have at least 50% indigenous blood. So if the documentation you have shows this then you should be able to travel to the USA without issues.

Kyle

Reply
Paul Davidson / February 22, 2015

Just in case anyone need to fill out a USCIS form I-181, I found a blank form in this link http://goo.gl/vjed8I. This site PDFfiller also has several related forms that you might find useful.

Reply
Michael Ashby / February 23, 2015

Hi Paul,

Just a heads up but I believe you’ve included your full name in your comment. Most people don’t want their last name included on this blog so I just thought I’d reply and see if you wanted me to change it.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Amanda L. / December 8, 2011

Hi i am well aware of the jay treaty i am haudenosunee status and have not had any problems crossing into the u.s however I lived there for a couple years and had a child, finished school and moved home. my daughters father is an enrolled 100% north american indian from the u.s and we have a court agreement for him to travel to canada to see his daughter. he has had a past criminal record and even came to canada and went back to the u.s no problems with his tribal card and birth certificate…now however with the assumption he could travel into canada FOR THE HOLIDAYS (with no changes or additions to his criminal record) he was refused entry.

while we waited for hours after he traveled a good 12 hours to be with his family, only to be told it was because of his criminal background and then border patrol switched their story to him needing to provide proof of being the father and then ANOTHER excuse was that he needed immigrational temporary residence which would cost him 200$ because (they stated) he is not north american indian… should i continue the temporary residence approach?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / December 8, 2011

Hi Amanda,

The US and Canada have different rules regarding admissbility and I want to clarify that my area of expertise is entry to the US. My understanding is that if your daughter’s father has claim to status under the Canadian Indian Act then he would be entitled to re-enter Canada but you should speak with Canada Border Services Agency and/or INAC for clarification. It may be that your daughter’s father does not have any claim under the Indian Act and that you would have to proceed with the TRP.

Birgit

Reply
Georgia / January 24, 2012

i have a question about air travel, my husband and i want to travel to south america and he is full blooded Ojibway with a criminal record. We have traveled to Europe and never had a problem, but the flight to South America has a stop over in the states. Will he be able to take this flight without problems if we bring the recommended papers?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / January 24, 2012

Hi Georgia,

As long as he brings the documents I mention in my post, he should have no problem landing in the US.

Birgit

Reply
Charleen / January 27, 2012

Hi Birgit,
The Secure Certificate has not been rolled out in full yet and in fact they have halted the production it seems. Only a couple provinces in Canada have them and there is no informtation on when they will replace them across the rest of the country. Driving across the border has been fine as I have my status card and letter from my reserve. I’m wondering about flying. With no timeline in sight for this new secure card, if you have been denied once at a border crossing, will this cause a problem with flying?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / January 30, 2012

Hi Charleen,

I wasn’t aware of any delays with the Secure Certificate. Thanks for letting m eknow about that.
If you have a passport (and as long as you are sure to travel with the letter from your reserve attesting that you meet the blood quantum requirement), then you should have no trouble flying. Airport CBP officers are governed by the same rules as those at land crossings.

Birgit

Reply
jj / February 6, 2012

hi..my husband has a criminal record from 10 years ago..he has not received any pardons..in the summer we attempted entry into the states by land and we were let through no problem..we only showed are canadian passports…more recently we went through the same border with our kids and he was questioned about his criminal record..he told the officers that he was charged but not convicted and they let thim through..they did however say that he would need a waiver if he attempted to cross again…i was researching on how to obtain the waiver when i came across your site…my husband is a status indian…he has his treaty card and number…i read earlier in the posts that this might not be enough to get entry under the jay treaty…with that being said i asked him to contact his band to request the above mentioned letter…they seemed confused and said that they would send a letter saying he was from that reserve..i don’t think they will put anything about blood %…is there a standard form or letter that can be used…my husband is 50% …..please help..we have a trip booked for the end of the month..thanks

Reply
Birgit Davidson / February 6, 2012

Hi JJ,

Unfortunately, I do not know of any form letter that can be used. The letter WILL have to attest to his bloodlines though so he may need to speak with them again and ask that they issue a second document.

Good luck!

Reply
Jackie / April 2, 2012

I am in the united states right now me and my family drove here and I crossed the borded showing my Indian treaty card from Canada and I do not have my passport just my Indian treaty card was wondering is it possible I can fly back to canada from the united states just want to get home quicker or do I have to drive home?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / April 2, 2012

Hi Jackie,

The standards at land borders and at airports are the same. You are supposed to have a Secure Certificate of Indian Status of you do not have a passport if you want to be allowed to enter Canada.

Birgit

Reply
Cindy / April 3, 2012

Hi jason
well im not sure but you might of answered my question before but im just not understanding it this is my question my husdand just got his papers saying he is now registred indian and has a temporary confirmation of registration document now your saying he need something eles and his passport to drive across the border i was hoping to take him a way for his 50th birthday this year but thought i had to get him a pardon and a pardon is taking 1 12 years and cost about 1300.00 is there something eles we can do

Reply
Birgit Davidson / April 3, 2012

Hi Cindy,

Not sure who Jason is, but in response to your post:

Your husband needs paperwork showing he satifies the 50% blood quantum requirement, not just a temporary confirmation of registration document. He ALSO needs either a Secure Certificate of Indian Status OR a valid passport.

The blood quantum letter is what overrides the fact that he has a criminal record but the SCIS or passport is required to travel, PERIOD (even if he didn’t have a record).

Hope that makes sense.

Birgit

Reply
Kayla / May 8, 2012

Hi,
I have planned a trip to Vegas with some friends. My band has not yet set up the equipment for the SCIS, so, I still have the CIS. Is this valid to cross the border? We are driving across the border then flying in-country (WA-NV). Will I have any trouble because I don’t have a passport?

Kayla

Reply
Birgit Davidson / May 8, 2012

Hi Kayla,

You should definitely get your passport if you are unable to obtain your SCIS. The law says that you need either a passport or SCIS so I would hate to see you miss out on your trip because they wouldn’t let you cross the border! I know you can request expedited processing on a passport application. The last time I renewed mine it only took a couple of weeks!

Birgit

Reply
Carolyn / June 15, 2012

Can anyone tell me what the letter of blood line has to say? I would like to ask my band office for this soni can go on a trip to the states. Plus I want to make sure that I don’t get turned away at the airport. This won’t happen will it?

Reply
Birgit Davidson / June 18, 2012

Hi Carolyn,

The letter simply has to prove your blood lines and show that you meet the 50% blood quantum requirement. I know that some of these letters will show your parents info and basically trace your lineage. Most Band offices are familiar with this type of letter but please let me know if you have any further questions.

As long as you have the letter, you should not get turned away at the airport.

Birgit

Reply
Kenneth N / July 24, 2012

Hi Birgit.

I had a criminal record from 1982 & was granted a pardon in 1993. In 1991, my family and I were turned away at the border and my truck taken ( I did have to jump through hoops & red tape and US court, but paid the fines/fees and got it back). Haven’t been to the US since.

My question is: am I able to travel into the US now that I have my “Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document”( my SCIS is still being processed) and no criminal record?

Thanks, Ken

Reply
Kyle Pistawka / July 24, 2012

Hi Kenneth,

I do not believe that the SCIS or Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document is enough to gain access to the USA. Just proving you have Native status is insufficient. You need to satify the 50% blood quantium requirement.

Kyle

Reply
ashley / August 22, 2012

Hi.
I havent recieved my status card yet. Can i present a letter from my band and my government ID at the border to cross to the US?

Reply
Kyle Pistawka / August 22, 2012

Hi Ashley,

As long as the documents you have satify the “blood quantum” requirement mentioned in the blog post you should be fine.

Kind Regards,

Kyle

Reply
Belinda / February 25, 2013

Hello,
I have passport + statues card on this day.
I have been going back & forth to Washington past 4 years now
& just couple days ago a border gaurd took me in office check are truck out
then came back & told me cause of my almost 25 year old drug charge
that he would flag my name & that this the last time i,m allowed here in usa unless i produce my Blood quantum letter from my band, I have my letter now,
What do i do next? i have 100% native blood in my veins & I Love going to us plz let me know thanks have a great day!!

Reply
Michael Ashby / February 26, 2013

Hi Belinda,

To the best of my knowledge you should be fine crossing the border.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Robert / April 8, 2013

What a NEXUS card? Im not sure if you have information regarding this, but would getting a NEXUS card be satisfactory with a criminal record. Provided that you gave them all the documents that you said. Just wondering.

Reply
Keri / April 11, 2013

Hi Robert,

A nexus card is designed to fast track the processing time through customs. It is not however granted to individuals who possess a criminal record. Individuals with a criminal record are (depending on the conviction) required a United States Entry Waiver to legally cross the border.

Keri

Reply
Sierra / May 21, 2013

I am going the the us for just one day, what do i need in order to cross the boarder if i don’t have a passport

Reply
Michael Ashby / May 22, 2013

Hi Sierra,

You cannot cross the border without a passport. If you have a criminal record on top of not having a passport I suggest you call me to discuss before making any travel plans let alone attempting to cross the border.

Kind regards,

Michael
514.842.2411 x 227

Reply
tom / May 22, 2013

I agree with Michael. Be very careful when you cross the border and make sure you are ‘clean’. I have heard sometimes even if you don’t have a record, they give you a hard time. Once the put your name on their system as suspicious, it is very hard to remove it…

Reply
Michelle / June 13, 2013

A friends daughter wanted to travel with me to another province but we need to cross the border for about 1 hour to get to the other Canadian border. Now she doesn’t have a birth certificate but has a status cars and a health card. Is she able to travel with me without a BC or would it be a hassle with just a status card letter of permission and health card?

Please email me as I don’t know if infer a notification to my answer. Thnx

Reply
Michael Ashby / June 17, 2013

HI Michelle,

You need a passport to cross the border.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
serenity / June 22, 2013

iam canadain living in canada my partner is american living usa my partner is native aamerican50% i have been looking ways for her reside canada with me being native american from usa canada we have jay treaty is there anything for native american live in usa want live canada..also my grandmother born in usa is there way iam able apply for usa citzship any advice would help us thankyou

Reply
Michael Ashby / June 25, 2013

I am afraid I am not an immigration lawyer so I cannot help you with immigration issues.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Brittany / July 30, 2013

Hello, my boyfriend has a criminal record for assault causing bodily harm, but has his passport, and has a status card from INAC stating that he is aboriginal. We have already flown to Mexico before and have had no problems but we are planning on driving across the border this time. Is this enough documentation? He also is darker and looks aboriginal if that helps as I read on another site that they generally don’t question the 50% if you look of aboriginal ancestry.

Reply
Michael Ashby / July 31, 2013

Hi Brittany,

Sorry for the delayed reply. As for your quesiton I would not recommend making any assumptions at all when crossing the border. The Native status may or may not suffice. The best way to deal with this would be to get a pardon done and ensure that nothing is visible to the border guards when crossing. Otherwise you may find he ends up needing a US waiver and they get very expensive.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Janny / August 4, 2013

Can a person cross border w indictable offence with having letter fr band and scis if approved into usa only or other countries like mexico or jamaica

Reply
Michael Ashby / August 5, 2013

Hi Janny,

I am afraid not. You will need a waiver to cross the border legally. If you would like to apply for one let me know and we would be happy to help you.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Indigenous Sherry / October 13, 2013

I am wondering about a Canadian status indian with %100 blood quantum, with a US Charge, are the rules different for charges that were convicted in the US. I served my time and came back to Canada will I be able to cross with the appropriate documentation?

Reply
Michael Ashby / October 15, 2013

My understanding is that you cannot be denied entry if you have official native status. But I am not an expert per se on matters of this sort so it might be worth checking with the Department of Homeland Security.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
orand / November 25, 2013

hi,iam a truck driver ,I would like to know if I can cross the us border with just my status card, while hauling grain into the states this will be happening 2 or 3 times a week or do I need a passport ..

Reply
Michael Ashby / November 25, 2013

Most likely you need your passport but I’m not 100% sure as far as how it applies to someone with a status card. The smart move here would be to err on the side of caution and avoid interruptions in your drive. Getting a passport is a relatively simple matter. You can get the forms online.

Kind regards,
Michael

Reply
Kurt / November 26, 2013

Hi im status first nation and would like to cross the border i am 50% blood quantum but i would like more help on getting across the border…?

Reply
Kurt / November 26, 2013

I have a criminal record for mischief and assualt nothing too serious but a criminal record nometheless.. i do fit the 50% blood quantum but would like more help to cross the border…?

Reply
Michael Ashby / November 26, 2013

Hi Kurt,

Have you been stopped at the border yet? If not I would suggest getting a pardon regardless of your Native status. If you like feel free to give me a call and we can go over everything in detail. The border is complicated.

Kind regards,

Michael
514.842.2411 x 227

Reply
Audrey / December 7, 2013

My daughter and I want to live work in the US, if I have a 50% blood quantum letters for both of us, a passport and a long form birth certificate. Do I really need a status card or certificate as well?

Thank you,
Audrey

Reply
Michael Ashby / December 12, 2013

Hi Audrey,

Living and working in the USA is an immigration matter so we are not qualified to advise you. I suggest consulting a lawyer.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Bryce buffalo / January 9, 2014

Hi I have a DUI from when I was 18 I’m almost 22 now. I’m going to Vegas in 2 days an I’m 50% blood status I have a government status card n I have my passport been to Mexico lots since my DUI. Just wanna know if I’m going to run into troubles.

Reply
Michael Ashby / January 9, 2014

Hi Bryce,

You should not have any problems if its a singel DUI. I strongly suggest you get a pardon for this however. If you are interested in pursuing it feel free to give me a call. It sounds like the perfect time to get things started.

Michael
514.842.2411 x 227

Reply
Lisa / February 1, 2014

So my boyfriend and I are thinking about flying to Florida or Las Vegas from buffalo. He is a 50% First Nations Indian but he only has the status card not the scis, he has applied for it but itrobably won’t be in before we want to go. He also has a possession of marijuana charge from about 15 years ago. So should he be ok to go if he gets a letter from the band or does he need a pardon, a passport or do we need to wait for the scis. Or should I just plan a vacation alone or go with someone else

Reply
Reyna / February 25, 2014

Hi I’m trying to find out if i can still invoke my Jay Treaty rights regarding crossing into the US. i have a criminal record, with federal charges. I have more then the 50% blood quantum. My new status card. Plus my passport. I can easily obtain my letter proving my quantum. I just wanted to know if i can cross easily ? or will there be issues?

Reply
Michael Ashby / February 26, 2014

Hi Reyna,

You should be able to cross without problems. However I personally wouldn’t give it a try. Better to get your pardon done and not let the Americans know anything about it then to argue with them over treaty rights.

Michael

Reply
L.D.Zafar / March 12, 2014

Please offer your opinion on this. I have a close friend who is First Nations and has been in prison in NY for 25 years, and he will come before the parole board for the first time in June. He thought he would be deported if granted parole which is what he had wanted as he felt there would be programs for Native offenders in Canada that would help rehabilitate him back in to society better than the US would have but he recently found out about therapy treaty. How could this affect his parole eligibility and if granted parole would he have to stay in US even though he does not have any blood relatives just friends? Or if released would have to find his own way back into Canada if he wanted to return. If he wanted to return to Canada if granted parole could he come back in the US later on? He is worried how the Jay treaty may affect his chance at Parole and could it possibly hurt or help him? Worried for a friend….Please offer your thoughts as his parole hearing is creeping up quickly. Thanx…

Reply
Michael Ashby / March 12, 2014

Hi LD,

I am afraid this is just not my area of expertise. You may want to consult a lawyer.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Guy / June 30, 2014

Just wondering if I me and my family will be allowed to cross the border. We are possibly heading to Minneapolis for some shopping and sight seeing. We only have our status cards and birth certificates. I crossed the border in buffalo heading to New York about five years ago using only my status card. Will we be able to cross the border using only these documents?

Reply
Michael Ashby / July 1, 2014

Hi Guy,

If you can prove native status you should be ok.

Michael

Reply
Robin LP / July 7, 2014

I am a Native AmericanUS citizen my mother married and we moved to Canada Frasher Vally back in the 1970’s I have family in Harrison Mills imediat family mother, sister’s to grand niece’s and nephew’s. I was turned back to the stats from Canadian coustoms because of a thirty year old theft charge under two-hundred doller’s , what is my best option in order to cross immediately my mother is 89 years old and is not healthy in and out of hospital three times last week. I studied the Jay treaty and the pardon suspention and the US Waiver but I have a car in the impound and need to get it out buy the 16’th of this month, need quick halp can I pay the Canadian Border and cross for only that day?

Reply
curious native / July 14, 2014

Hey there I’m a Canadian citizen who is at least 51% blood quantum with a letter to prove it. SCIS card in on the way. I lived in the US though for a few years and got a conviction there. I had a green card because when I went I didn’t know about Jay treaty etc. So they deported me and I gave up my green card rather than fight to stay. When I came back I found all this out about Jay treaty and they should not have been able to depth me because of that. Soooo can i at least visit the us for vacation and conferences with SCIS and letter? Should I ask us border people first? What is their contact info? Thanks

Reply
Nicole / July 23, 2014

Hi Birgit, I recently graduated from school in NY and now I am looking to gain residence into the US via my Indian status. I was adopted and my biological mother is 3/14 native via mic mak tribe therefore I am a little less then half native blood.
I have been issued my status card from my tribe in Nova Scotia, Canada and I was wondering if in your opinion I still would qualify with said percentage of blood line as being eligable for status?
Also, what would you suggest I do as a next step in working towards my US status? Who do I talk to? Where should I go? The more I research the more confusuing and I feel lost in this process so any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks for this comment board and thanks for your help!
Best, Nicole

Reply
Michael Ashby / July 23, 2014

Hi Nicole,

Birgit is no longer with the Pardon Centre. For travel purposes it sounds to me like you should be fine to cross the border. Immigration is another matter though and we are not qualified to advise you on that. I suggest an immigration consultant.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Kristi / August 1, 2014

My husband has a regular status card and a 50% blood quantum letter from his band, as well as a passport. Is this enough to get across border, or will he need to apply for the secured indian status card?

Reply
kristi / August 1, 2014

Hi again, i just looked at the letter that my husbands band sent him and it says that he is a registered indian under his registered number, with his band name. It also states that his parents and grandparents are registered under the same band. but it doesn’t mention any percentage of indian blood that he has. The band also provided a followup letter saying the following:
i am writing in response to your request in which you asked for confirmation of your percentage of indian blood. in canada, entitlement to registration as an indian under the indian act is not based solely on a persons decent from ancestors as indians and as members of indian bands. for example, under previous indian acts it was possible to acquire and lose indian sataus through marriage. thus, because registration as an indian under the indian act is not based on the percentage of indian blood, it is impossible for me to provide you with a letter confirming your percentage of indian blood.

it goes on to provide an attached letter with his family indian lineage. Will this suffice for the 50% blood quantum letter or does it need to state more?

Reply
Michael Ashby / August 1, 2014

Hi Kristi,

I would guess that it should be enough but to be honest I haven’t dealt with this issue in quite a long time and it is always up to the border guard anyway. If it’s a criminal record you’re worried about don’t take any chances. Get his pardon done and stay away from the border until its finished. otherwise you’re taking chances.

Contact me if you would like to get started or simply apply online.

Best luck,

Michael
514.842.2411 x 227

Reply
Emma / August 12, 2014

I’m from Canada, with a recently issued original status card, the laminated one. I’m supposed to be going to the states in a couple days, and I’m just wondering if I’m going to be stopped at the border and restricted access. If yes, that means my whole travelling party will have to turn back. I’m 17 with no criminal record.

Reply
Michael Ashby / August 13, 2014

Hi Emma,

Why are you worried you would be turned back if you have no criminal record?

Michael

Reply
Melanie Poirier / September 10, 2014

Criminal record and I’m 50% inuit and I have my nti enrollment card but I don’t believe they provide such documents to prove my %, what can be done, thanks

Reply
Michael Ashby / September 10, 2014

Hi Malanie,

I really don’t know. Unfortunately this isn’t something we deal with very often. I would suggest getting rid of your criminal record and forgetting all about this if you haven’t already had trouble at the border. Otherwise you may want to consult the American embassy.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Jerilyn / September 16, 2014

what if I just have my Status card and my birth certificate?

Reply
Michael Ashby / September 16, 2014

I really couldn’t say for sure. Sorry.

Michael

Reply
cedric / October 5, 2014

i have an scis card.i also have a criminal record in both countries. my charges in the u.s. are from 20 years ago. my family lives in the u.s. and i havent seen most of them in 20years. i had been givng an exclusion from the countryin 1995. my father is a u.s. citizen. would you be able to help me to be able to cross over again?

Reply
Michael Ashby / October 7, 2014

Hi Cedric,

If you are a Canadian citizen and require a us waiver we can help you. Please feel free to give me a call at 514.842.2411 x 227

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Sara / October 15, 2014

I was pulled in at the border and denied entry due to a 12 year old minor charge. When I was being detained and finger printed and put in a holding cell for 3 hours while my husband and 5 year old child were in a lobby confused and nervous and visibly concerned for me and told nothing, i was told at least 10 different times that I was not allowed entry into the US without showing a blood quantum letter proving 90% aboriginal or i would be arrested for even attempting to come back. Is this no the case at the borders here in in Ontario where do I find out more information??

Reply
Michael Ashby / October 15, 2014

Hi Sara,

It sounds like you got the harsh treatment. It’s actually not that unusual. Basically if you can’t prove the blood quantum aspect you will need a US entry waiver. We would be happy to assist you if you decide to pursue that.

Give me a call if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Michael
514.842.2411 x 227

Reply
James / November 24, 2014

Hi I have a couple questions
We’re do I pick up the form to give my band to prove I am over 50%?
Also we got new treaty cards…but they aren’t the scis kind…but when we got them, we got a letter stating that we can use them to cross by land..because of the humongous backed up orders on scis, so is this still in affect?

And thank you

Reply
Michael Ashby / December 2, 2014

Hi James,

I am afraid I don’t know the answers to your questions as I’ve never been asked before. When you find out please come back and share the information with us.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Olivia / January 15, 2015

Can a Native Indian with 50% blood quantum letter, status card, and Canadian passport who was been convicted of drugs, armed robbery, and murder still be allowed in the US with these serious convictions?
I heard the US has to allow them in but wasn’t sure about the most serious charges.

Thanks

Reply
Michael Ashby / January 20, 2015

HI Olivia,

To be honest I’m not sure what the minimum blood quantum is. But it’s best so stay away from the border until you can get your pardon done. That way there is no need for the Americans to ever know about it.

kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Tosha / January 22, 2015

Hi,
My family & I will be traveling to Florida in about 10 months. We go roughly every 2 years. My boyfriend is a status Indian with the regular CIS laminated status card and we have always used that to cross the border with no issues. Last time we went to the states was a month or two ago and he used that status card. We didn’t go all the way to Florida at that time, just directly across for some shopping but seeing as this time we will be traveling with our children and the trip will be paid for and planned out we don’t want to chance anything. He does have a criminal record and is currently going through the pardon process which is taking forever. My question is, if we get his blood quantum and a passport as well as his current status card(the laminated one) would that be good enough for crossing or does he need the passport, blood quantum and the new certified status card? Or would just a passport and the blood quantum suffice ? Sorry if that’s confusing. I just don’t want to get turned down at the border with our children expecting to be heading to Disney world. Thanks in advance!

Reply
Michael Ashby / January 22, 2015

Hi Tosha,

I am not completely sure so you may want to contact american border services but to my knowledge he should require proof of status (the card you mentioned I would think) and a passport.

But again, it’s not an area of expertise for me.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Shawn / February 24, 2015

Hi,
My sister is getting married in Arizona and I have a old public mischief warrant issued in Ottawa from 2002, and have been living in Alberta since, and have not dealt with it. Can I cross the boarder with my SCIS card and blood quantum letter?

Reply
Michael Ashby / February 24, 2015

Hi Shawn,

If you have a warrant out you will likely be arrested at the border, or anytime you are in contact with the police. But I’m not a lawyer so this is not legal advice. I would strongly suggest you contact one and have this taken care of.

Best luck,

Michael

Reply
Shawn / February 24, 2015

Hi Michael,
I’ve never had an issue with the police arresting me, I don’t have a criminal record, just an old outstanding warrant for public mischief in Ottawa, I was pulled over for speeding recently here in Alberta, and was told then that it was still outstanding, but their was nothing the officer could do because it was out of his jurisdiction and that it was a city warrant, and not a provincial or Canada wide, I’m not worried about coming back into Canada, I know I will get stopped and questioned coming back in, my main concern is if I could get into the US with my SCIS card and blood quantum with an old outstanding warrant?

Reply
Michael Ashby / February 24, 2015

Hi Shawn,

I really can’t say for sure but I personally wouldn’t risk it. Best to just take care of it before crossing. I wish I could be of more help.

Michael

Reply
Awan / February 27, 2015

So, verify this for me please. A Native American living on a boarder reservation with Canada with a criminal record cannot freely pass the border into Canada? For example, a band member of Grand Portage Minnesota with a DUI can or cannot cross into Canada? According to what I read the Jay treaty is only for Canadian Natives entering the US, not US Natives entering Canada.

Reply
Michael Ashby / March 4, 2015

Hi Awan,

To be perfectly honest I am not really sure what the rules are coming to Canada from the USA. I suggest you consult an immigration expert.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Erica Le Grand / March 4, 2015

My fiancé is an Indian status card holder born in Canada and is able to satisfy a 50% blood quantum requirement. I am a US citizen and looking to live in NIagara Falls, NY. He is currently working in the KW area in Ontario. My concern is can he continue working in Canada if he lives with me in Niagara Falls, NY? If he can, is there any other paperwork or certificates he needs to carry with him so he isn’t delayed at the border (so he can make it to work on time)?

Reply
Michael Ashby / March 4, 2015

Hi Erica,

I’m afraid it sounds like an immigration issue. I personally don’t see any problem but I’m not really qualified to answer your question. You should consult an immigration consultant.

Kind regards,

michael

Reply
William / March 22, 2015

i have a status card that was issued 30 something years ago from Brantford Ca. Indian and Northern affairs Canada can i use this to get into Canada from Niagara Falls New York i live in the States or do i also need a passport.
Thanks

Reply
mackenzie / June 25, 2015

Hi, my aunt took me shopping in the states last year and all i needed was my status card. My friend wants to take me to new jersey for a week will i need more then my status this time i go across the border?

Reply
Michael Ashby / June 25, 2015

HI Mackenzie,

I am not an expert on this issue but I would keep the card whenever you travel just in case.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
james / July 6, 2015

Hi there I’m just wondering if Id encounter any issues crossing the boarder to attend my family trip to vegas at the end of august. I have a criminal record that’s about 8 years old now. I am also a status Indian with the scis card and have over 50% indigenous blood or blood quantum % and have my passport? If you can get back to me asap that’d be great

Reply
Chantel / August 24, 2015

Hi I am a U.S. Citizen but I hold a Canadian drivers license. Also I am First Nations Indian with a status card. I cross the U.S./Canadian border daily. I’ve lived on the Canadian side for the past 15 years but I work on the U.S. Side which is a 10 min drive. I haven’t had any problems until recently. While driving a U.S. Plated vehicle with my Ontario drivers license the Canadian border officer pulled me in told me I have to pay taxes to import the vehicle and such. The vehicle isn’t mine it’s a friends. I’ve never heard anything so obsurd. They turned me around with the vehicle told me I can not enter canada until it is imported. I am not allowed to drive a U.S. Plated vehicle while being a Canadian resident. I do not know If that is true. I know a lot of people that live right along this border that cross daily same situation or vice versa and have never had any problems while holding a status card. I’m not sure my rights. Does anyone know?? Thank you

Reply
Michael Ashby / August 27, 2015

Hi Chantel,

I am afraid importing a vehicle just isn’t our area of expertise. The only thing I could suggest is going into the border office and speaking to someone to get a clarification of the rules. Other than I don’t have a lot of advice to offer.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Cheryl / September 4, 2015

I just got a new Indian status card is that still enough to cross into the u.s next week? I really would like to know before I head out I am going by grey hound and don’t want any problems I do not have a criminal record

Reply
Michael Ashby / September 8, 2015

Hi Cheryl,

To my knowledge the Indian Status card should be enough. If it isn’t you will need a waiver but those can’t be done over night. They take about 12 months to complete.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Kirsten Gambler / September 13, 2015

Hi,

I Have everything I can Possibly Need to Live and work in the states, I have My Blood Quantum letter, Blood Quantum card, Membership And Registration papers, My Passport, My Indian status card, And My Sercure Indian Certificate Will be arriving in mail soon. Birth Certificate A heath care card. I took me A hole Year to Get everything. And I’ve already done my research in regarding Canadian Natives. And the Jay Treaty states If you 50% or more You can live and work And the U.S Can Not Depot You. If you have Proof. I’ll be leaving soon I’ll be buying One flight ticket. Do I have to notify anyone about my plans? I was told I can apply for My S.S.N in the states? Please Help. YOU can send a message to My Email

Thanks kirsten

Reply
Michael Ashby / September 14, 2015

Hi Kristen,

I am afraid I can’t advise you on living and working in the States as that is the kind of thing we help with.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Jessica / October 17, 2015

Did you have any luck moving to the U.S?

Reply
Jermaine / October 1, 2015

I have a dui, assault causing bodily harm, valid indian status card, valid Canadian passport, I’m a Canadian citizen, if I have the required letter from my Band office stating I have 50 % indigenous blood, can I still cross in to the us on a vacation under the Jay Treaty?

Reply
Michael Ashby / October 1, 2015

Yes this is how I understand it. Although I do not deal with the Americans directly on this matter.

Michael

Reply
Jessica / October 17, 2015

Hello. I had a question.
What is a Certificate of Indian Status ? Is that just the status card with the red line?
i believe I have everything to prove that I am at least 50% native american to be able to live in the U.S without a green card
As it says I need
-a letter from your band office stating that you have atleast 50% Aboriginal blood(also refferred to as a blood quantum).
– Your Certificate of Indian Status
– Your long form Birth Certificate
– A photo ID
i don’t have a criminal record, and i have a letter from my band office saying that I have at least 50% native american blood.
And i was wondering if that is all I really need? Please, email me back or reply. Thank you.

Reply
Michael Ashby / October 21, 2015

Hi jessica,

I am afraid I am not an expert on this issue. But my understanding is that your Cert. of Indian status should suffice.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Katelin / November 6, 2015

Hello, I had a question.

I’m not exactly sure what an SCIS is. Is it just an Indian Status card? I just need that clarified.

Feel free to email me back! Thank you, Meegwetch. 🙂

Reply
Michael Ashby / November 6, 2015

Hi Katelin,

This might help you out. I am not an expert on these things.

https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100032380/1100100032381

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Pat Stathes / November 24, 2015

Hi,,,I’m sorry not sure how to start,,,my daughter is Native American 67% born in Las Vegas,we have ha e DNA proof.however what is this band letter and card???.we are interested in getting her more proof that she is Native she is very young and I feel she should have some kind of card…SOS THANKS

Reply
Michael Ashby / November 25, 2015

Hi Pat,

I’m afraid I’m not the one to ask. If you find out where you get the native status card please come back and update your comment to let other know.

Michael

Reply
Yoginder Naithani / February 11, 2016

i am Indian nationality, I have charged of alcohol selling under 21 age in USA Florida , I was came out from USA on bail bond then came back to india , it’s almost 4 years back , but I feel guilty and I love to face that charge , in court so is there any way I can get USA or they will denie , me entering to USA ? But I have record in county , and if I enter to USA they will arrest ? Because I am confuse what to do .

Reply
Michael Ashby / February 11, 2016

Hi Yoginder,

I am afraid we cannot help with your situation. Consult a laweyr or immigration consultant.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Naya / May 14, 2016

Hello Michael,

I’m half Inuk, I can’t get the Secure Certificate of Indian Status like the Indians, but I have beneficiary enrollment card, long form birth certificate, passport, and a blood quantum letter, would those be enough?

Reply
Michael Ashby / May 16, 2016

Hi Naya,

I am not an expert in Native affairs so I would suggest you contact the border or an embassy. I would not want to give you the wrong advice on this matter.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Megan / July 30, 2016

Hello,

My husband and I are 100% blood-quantum First Nations, we will both have our passports, and status cards. He has a record and cannot get a pardon yet. Are we able to fly from Toronto to the United States with a letter from our band stating his blood quantum, along with the mentioned documents?

Thank you very much.

Reply
Jody / August 21, 2016

I have a status card. I also have a past criminal record from over 30 years ago. Can I get a nexus card?

Reply
Melinda / August 22, 2016

Hello,

i am aboriginal status, i have crossed the boarder several times over the years with no problems. My question is that I’ve been considering a move to Delaware with my son’s, and may have a job opportunity down there, what are the steps that i have to take to make this possible and legit? and how long would i be able to live in the U.S?

Reply
Melissa Angel / September 1, 2016

Hi, I was born and raised in California. I am a registered First Nations and have live on my reserve in Canada the past 5 years. I am getting married next month in California but will return to Canada. I would like to move my Husband here to live with me. He has a past legal record, not on parole, probation or any outstanding fines or anything. What steps do we need to take to get him here. I understand it takes a lot of time and $$.

Reply
jason wilson / October 3, 2016

Hi I am a metis citizen from canada, In 2016 the supreme court ruled that metis citizens are aboriginal and was wondering who to contact to follow up on the jay tready and ensure metis people are accepted into this and who and where to apply.

Thank you
Jay Wilson

Reply
James / December 27, 2016

Hi. I have a status card and a letter stating that I satisfy the blood quantum of 100%. I have been charged with a criminal record. Am I able to travel (by driving) across the boarder with my status card and letter from the band? I would also like to know if I can fly out of country? (From either Canada or USA) and will it cause any inconvenience (or embarrassment) while crossing?

Reply
Francis G Jadis / January 29, 2017

Canadian dual citizens from Muslim-majority countries in Trump’s travel ban won’t be allowed into U.S.

i a first Nation Person ,how does this hurt us

Reply
Freyja / February 24, 2017

I want to move to the states. Both my birth mother and my brother have said I can use my birth certificate, and status card to do this. Both have said they were able to. I am wondering if this is possible.

Reply
Gina / March 1, 2017

gina_naylor14@hotmail.com I have a Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document and was wondering if i can use it to cross the border i am still waiting for my status card to come and i would like to visit states from time to time i have no criminal record of any kind just would like to visit and maybe do a little shopping

Reply
Michael Ashby / March 15, 2017

Hi Gina,

I’ve never had this question before so I really don’t know. I am afraid I am unable to give you the answer but my gut instinct says no.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

Absolutely but get your blood quantum paper too so that you can get a U.S social.security card. You will need that to be able to work and get health insurance

Reply
Chris / May 19, 2018

yes it is possible I did it

Reply
jared / March 10, 2017

I was born in the U.S.A. but lived my whole life in Canada. I have a expired status card. can I still go to U.S.A and back to Canada on a expired status card

Reply
Bethany Anderson / August 30, 2017

I’ve read much on the process of crossing the boarder by different methods and have a good understanding of the requirements. Once I have established myself in America and am seeking employment, is there a specific procedure to go through regarding work similar to the Canadian process? Such as applying for a social insurance number? Will this require extensive information regarding my Canadian and native status to receive? Will I be required to fill out employment forms and than be able to file taxes similarly to Canadian processes?
Thanks in advance!

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

Get your blood quantem paper. Your band office should have that on file. You will need it and ypur status card when you come to the U.S. to get your Social security card which is the u.s. version of a sin card. Once you have your social security card that makes you totally eligible to work in the u.s. no employment papers needed. Once you are working in the u.s. yes you can file taxes in the u.s.

Reply
Frank / September 15, 2017

Lol im sorry, im not even sure if youre native…oops sorry

Reply
Dwayne / October 5, 2017

Hello, I have a question? I’m a First Nation Native Canadian and my future wife is Native American from Montana and she wants to come stay with me in Canada but can’t cross unless she proved she is working or going to school, how can she come over with out doing any of those because it would take longer? I asked some people and the said I need a letter from my band office to support her financial to stay longer in our country is this true?

Reply
Brandon / November 7, 2017

If I am status Indian can I fly over the border from Canada to US? If not can I cross the border by land Canada to US then fly inside the US?

Reply
Michael Ashby / November 7, 2017

Hi Brandon,

The regulations regarding entry are the same at any border. Land, sea or air makes no difference at all.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
MaggieKay Tuplin / November 21, 2017

Hi, I am Canadian, I have an S-2 Native Status, I have a great deal of Native Family along the East Coast of the US, I would like to travel by car throughout USA from Michigan to Arkansas, and mostly the North East Coast. I may or may not be able to stay for a great deal of time I have 6 – 12 months to travel, I also have a 3 yr old child, whom does not have native status, and has a CND citizenship cert. A Canadian born abroad, a passport has been commissioned, does my child need to have special allowances to attend daycare, pre-school,, etc. If I choose to remain in the US? I realize that is a loaded question, I needed to paint the right picture. I am an artist am I able to sell my work as a Native?
Many thanks in advance,
Sincerely Ms. MK TUPLIN

Reply
Michael Ashby / November 21, 2017

Hi Maggie,

I’m sorry but I can’t advise you on immigration matters. I suggest contacting a lawyer.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply
Grayson G / March 28, 2018

Hello I have a question regarding working in the United States as an Aboriginal. I have my secure Aboriginal Status Card Issued from INAC and I currently looking at jobs in the USA. My grandfather is 50% Aboriginal and my father is 25% Aboriginal and I am 12.5%. According to US immigration Law and the Department of Homeland Security you have to be at least 50% Aboriginal to be eligible to work in the USA. My father who is less than 50% is somehow entitled to work in the USA based on the fact that he contacted his band office and both INAC who reassured him that he was legally entitled to work in the USA. On the back of his card, it states that he is ” Valid for US entry. ” Also on the back of my card, it states that I am also ” Valid for US entry. ” Under the Jay Treaty you must be at least 50% and ” look ” status Indian to be eligible for work and benefits. My question to you is that me having being a fraction of Indian Blood in me, am I eligible to work in the USA with my current Status Card.

Reply
Tiffanie / March 28, 2018

Hi Grayson,

According to the Jay Treaty, qualifying American Indians born in Canada (ABCs) are “entitled to privileges unparalleled by all but United States citizens to enter and remain in the U.S. for the purpose of employment, study, retirement, investing and/or immigration, or any other reason”.

But such right extends only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of aboriginal blood.

Because you quantum is estimated to be 12.5%, we are unable to provide a certain answer.

I would suggest that you refer yourself to the Department of Homeland Security to have more information about the rules that apply in your specific case.

Regards,

Tiffanie
1-866-242-2411, ext. 226

Reply
Sandra / May 30, 2019

HI there, I was charged with fraud 18 years ago, and a couple years ago I tried crossing into US with my full native status card and was brought in for hours, finger printed and turned back. This was after I had phoned and asked if I had a status card, could I come across and the immigration officer said yes. I had a letter from my band and they challenged it because I don’t look native though my Dad was, and they challenged my blood quantum. I was told if I wanted to pursue it further, I would have to sit in jail till I saw a lawyer. I was totally appalled, made to feel horrible. Needless to say I never went back. I’m not sure what I can do as this was a terrible experience!

Reply
Amanda Brown / July 30, 2019

Hi im seeking proper information on what is needed for indian status people who are 50% and more native blood to take a Caribbean cruise from Vancouver B.C.
Can i use my Indian status card to be allowed to be on a cruise ship?
How does that work
Or what proper i.d. and paperwork do i need to require entry onto the cruise ship.

Reply
Michael Ashby / August 16, 2019

The only concern is crossing the US border. Based on my understanding you cannot be refused if you have a Native card.

Kind regards,

Michael

Reply

Leave A Comment