Cars wait in line for inspection at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. Hermosillo is a three and a half hour drive from the port of entry in Nogales. (Photo courtesy of Customs and Border Protection)
Crimes that deny you entry to the U.S.
If you have criminal records it will be hard for you to cross to Canada or to the U.S. There are so many criminal offenses that can lead you being denied access in either of the countries. If you cannot cross the border to the US due to criminal records, you can try the U.S. entry waiver application. The following are the common crimes that cause you to be denied entry to the U.S.:
1. If you have been convicted of crimes more than two times, and both totaled a jail term of five years. It does not matter if or not the crime was as a result of a single trial. The crime could have resulted from one general misconduct.
2. If you have been convicted of human trafficking offenses
3. If you have committed crimes involving moral improbity. If you have attempted or conspired of such an offense, then you are not legible to cross the border. If you committed the crime when you are below the legal age of 18 years you may be granted entry. However, you should have been released from jail more than five years prior to applying for a visa. You can be granted entry if your maximum penalty for the offense did not exceed one year. Examples of these offenses involving moral improbity are child abuse, sexual assault, prostitution, passing bad a cheque, assault using a weapon, assaulting someone with the intent of causing bodily harm.
4. If you are convicted of practicing prostitution or commercialization of sex.
5. If you have been charged with money laundering and related offenses
6. If you have been reported in the past from the US, you will not be granted access. Under the US laws, deportation is considered to be a felony and can result to imprisonment.
What are your options?
If you have ever been convicted of any of the criminal offense, you can still cross the border. The two countries have procedures that allow you to cross the border, despite the criminal records.
You can apply for the US entry waiver. Although the process is long and tedious, you will be eventually allowed to enter the country. First, your fingerprints must be taken by the RCMP accredited fingerprinting institution or the police jurisdiction. You can hire an expert to help with you with the process. He will also advise you if you are eligible for the waiver or not, to save you from wasting your time and resources.
You can still be granted access at the border, even if you have the criminal records. Try to be polite and calm to the officers. Do not misrepresent your records. Avoid lying to the officers at the border. It will only make the matters worse.
Having a criminal record can be challenging, especially when it prevents you from doing important things such as getting employment, traveling to other countries or accessing education. You should know that all is not lost, you can seek for entry waiver and pardon to leave a normal life.