JSL Law Blog | Can I cross the border with a criminal record?

Can I Cross The Border With A Criminal Record?


This is a difficult question with an often complicated answer. Having a criminal record may impact many different areas of your life; employment, family, travel and more.

When you cross the border, you are no longer bound by the laws of Canada. There are much more intrusive rules that govern whether you will be accepted into the USA. It is a good idea to be informed of your rights and obligations before buying that plane ticket to Disneyland.

Will Getting a Pardon Help?

Record suspensions (formerly called “pardons”) may not necessarily guarantee that you get to cross the border. You may be questioned about the crime you committed and what the outcome was. On the other hand, some people may not be asked about their criminal record and may be able to cross the border for years only to be stopped, questioned, and denied entry out of the blue.

You may choose to seek a waiver from US customs ahead of time. If there was a penalty associated with your court appearance, even if you obtained a discharge, you may still have to seek admissibility. This can be a difficult process and may involve you having to obtain reference letters, get your fingerprints taken, fill out the necessary paperwork, and provide evidence of your tax return, and more.

Going through the border can be a difficult experience.It may be in your best interest to speak with a lawyer if you are thinking about crossing the border with a criminal record. We are here to help.

Contact us to see how we can help. First consultations are free.

Toll-Free: 1-877-860-7575