It is illegal to cross the United States Border with a criminal record unless you have obtained a US Entry Waiver. You may have been managing to sneak across by not disclosing information about your record but at some point your luck will run out. Security measures have changed dramatically since September 11, 2001. Information sharing technologies between US and Canadian protection agencies have been developed and are constantly improving. Since 2010, US Customs and Border Protection has had full access to Canadian criminal databases at their fingertips.
Once your criminal record is discovered at the border, especially if you have answered questions pertaining to your record dishonestly, you will most likely be detained and most definitely refused entry. This is a humiliating experience that may include fingerprinting, being handcuffed, having mug shots taken and being treated very unkindly. Your record will be downloaded into an FBI file and you may have to undergo further questioning.
If you are caught a second time you will be treated very harshly because you now have no excuse for knowingly breaking an American law. It will be much easier to catch you after you have been stopped the first time. This is because the U.S. now has its own criminal file on you. Your vehicle and property may be seized and may not be returned to you. When you attempt to cross the border illegally American authorities have the right to confiscate your belongings and sell them at auctions. Proceeds from these sales go to the American government.
If you are traveling by bus, the entire bus may be turned away due to your behavior. If you are traveling by airplane, your ticket will be stamped “void” and you will not be able to collect cancellation insurance or obtain a refund on your ticket. You may be handcuffed and detained for a much longer period of time. If you do try to enter the US after having been refused you actually lessen your chances of being granted an entry waiver which gives you legal permission to enter into the states with your criminal record.
If you are reading this, you probably have a record and are interested in being able to legally and safely cross the border for business and /or personal reasons. The solution is to properly apply to the United States Department of Homeland Security for written permission. This document is called a US Entry Waiver.
While it is certainly possible to apply for a US Entry Waiver yourself by completing the appropriate forms and preparing the necessary documents, it is important to realize that preparing the application package requires a tremendous amount of paperwork and is a highly complex legal process. It is easy to make a mistake or omit an important piece of information. You will be required to submit your fingerprints on the appropriate schedule and you will need to provide biographic information, proof of citizenship, police records, character references, rehabilitation docs, statements of occupation and other supporting information.
Approval of your application is subjective and the officials reviewing it have great discretion. That means that the better your application package is, the better your chances are of having your waiver granted. Knowing what information should be included and what information should be excluded is knowledge based on experience. It costs $585 dollars US to apply for a waiver.
There is no refund if your application is denied so it is important that it be prepared and submitted properly the first time. It is a worthwhile investment to obtain assistance from a professional who can prepare an effective and appropriate application based on the type offense(s), current U.S.entry standards and best practice.
Imagine being free to go anywhere without restriction… visit the Grand Canyon, surf in Hawaii, shop in New York, visit your Auntie in Chicago! The possibilities are endless!