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Border/Customs questions when there is a criminal record involved

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
when my DH was young and stupid, he got in some trouble. well, he got in trouble 3 different times. in 98, he got charged with simple assault, minor possession, and in 00 or 01, theft under $5000. he was quite young and stupid at the time, obviously. he pled guilty, paid his fines and served his probation.

now in Feb 2010, my parents want to take our whole family on a vacation together. which would be awesome! but R won't be able to cross the border. we live in canada, will fly from the US and i believe we will be going to mexico.

i'm screwed, right? does anyone know who i can contact to see about what to do to get him allowed to come? i called an immigration lawyer and he told me that for him to help us, R would have to apply for a criminal waiver, which will cost us like $2000. but i just realized now, that that likely only covers entering the US. what about mexico? what if we fly straight from canada to mexico? would that be any easier?

i'm so bummed right now.

any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 21
even though he's served his sentence/probation, he still can't travel? i didn't know that.
post #3 of 21
Why hasn't he applied for a pardon? If you do it now you might get it back in time, it does cost a few $$ (I don't remember how much, a few hundred) it did not cost $1000 - but then, the person in question filled out paperwork etc herself we didn't use a lawyer.

fyi, it's not me, it's my sister who also did something extremely stupid when she was younger and despite the fact that she is now pardoned, she has to live with me knowing about it
post #4 of 21
My brother cannot visit dd and I because we are now living in the US (have been for 6+ years) and he cannot cross the border for something that he is not willing to tell us about. But I do know that he could apply for a pardon... not sure what the process is but it would be worth looking into. I have heard that if you did something stupid when you are young, they are easier on you, not sure if this is true or not. Also, going to another country first won't matter, you still have to go through customs.
post #5 of 21
theft? assault? You can't cross the border if you committed those crimes? I'm shocked! I'm not saying it's not true. Just that I'm shocked.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaraBoo View Post
theft? assault? You can't cross the border if you committed those crimes? I'm shocked! I'm not saying it's not true. Just that I'm shocked.
In this day and age your lucky if you can get across the border with a freakin' parking ticket.:
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
In this day and age your lucky if you can get across the border with a freakin' parking ticket.:
:
post #8 of 21
you can fly straight to mexico without going to the US.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
yeah. we might go right from TO to mexico. but he is going to apply for his pardon anyway. hopefully it'll go thru relatively quickly.

the US customs guy told me that when you go thru the US customs, and they run your name, they can see that you have been fingerprinted. but they do not know WHY. they ask you and you obviously tell them and that is how your charges get in their system. and once it is in there, they stay there, pardoned or not. hopefully if R gets his pardon and they question it, they will accept the fact that he got pardoned for it. but we might just play it safe and go thru TO.
post #10 of 21
In my sisters case, once she got her pardon there was no record of what happened. She has been through to the States many times, the first being the day after her pardon arrived I should note that she has also been stopped at the border many times since - declaring items, routine checks etc etc. It's never come up.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
oh, sorry. i meant to say that if you have been turned back ever. Like, R has these charges, and he tried to cross once. they asked him about the fingerprints, and he told them why he was arrested. they turned him back, saying to come back when his probation was up. this was all pre-9/11. but now that they have it in their system, it stays there. for someone who has never been put into the US system, the pardon will seal the fingerprint records and the customs will never see it.
post #12 of 21
I know a friend of mind had a possesions charge and was turned back from trying to cross into Canada. I didn't know you could get a pardon...I wonder if it would be the same in the us too.
post #13 of 21
Whatever you do, don't just fly into Mexico or try to get around the law. You do not want to end up in a Mexican jail.

Unfortunately, sometimes, when you break the law, the consequences follow you for a long time, even for life.

I am not snarking on your DH. Everyone makes mistakes.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatblondegirl View Post
yeah. we might go right from TO to mexico. but he is going to apply for his pardon anyway. hopefully it'll go thru relatively quickly.

the US customs guy told me that when you go thru the US customs, and they run your name, they can see that you have been fingerprinted. but they do not know WHY. they ask you and you obviously tell them and that is how your charges get in their system. and once it is in there, they stay there, pardoned or not. hopefully if R gets his pardon and they question it, they will accept the fact that he got pardoned for it. but we might just play it safe and go thru TO.
What is TO?
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatblondegirl View Post
yeah. we might go right from TO to mexico. but he is going to apply for his pardon anyway. hopefully it'll go thru relatively quickly.

the US customs guy told me that when you go thru the US customs, and they run your name, they can see that you have been fingerprinted. but they do not know WHY. they ask you and you obviously tell them and that is how your charges get in their system. and once it is in there, they stay there, pardoned or not. hopefully if R gets his pardon and they question it, they will accept the fact that he got pardoned for it. but we might just play it safe and go thru TO.

I was fingerprinted for my landed status in Canada (it was done in Canada), and that in itself has never been questioned at the border. The printing was 14/15 years ago, and we cross at least every other month.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianchick View Post
What is TO?
Toronto.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatblondegirl View Post
oh, sorry. i meant to say that if you have been turned back ever. Like, R has these charges, and he tried to cross once. they asked him about the fingerprints, and he told them why he was arrested. they turned him back, saying to come back when his probation was up. this was all pre-9/11. but now that they have it in their system, it stays there. for someone who has never been put into the US system, the pardon will seal the fingerprint records and the customs will never see it.
This makes me think he'd be fine if his probation is up. Call customs and ask.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Toronto.
Ok, that's what I thought. I may be totally wrong but I do not think you can fly into Canada from the US or from Mexico without going through customs.... especially if flying into the Toronto airport, it is freaking huge. I flew in there and got lost. You will either go through before you board the plane or when you get off. I cross the border every few weeks and they are very throrough with me, I can't imagine they are letting non-Canadians fly into the country with no checking them out first. Just my 2 cents worth.

It was different many years ago. I grew up on the border and we crossed all the time with no ID... now it's much, much more difficult.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatblondegirl View Post
oh, sorry. i meant to say that if you have been turned back ever. Like, R has these charges, and he tried to cross once. they asked him about the fingerprints, and he told them why he was arrested. they turned him back, saying to come back when his probation was up. this was all pre-9/11. but now that they have it in their system, it stays there. for someone who has never been put into the US system, the pardon will seal the fingerprint records and the customs will never see it.
ah! that makes sense.B never got stopped at the border before she got pardoned, mind she only went down a few times before she decided to stop taking the chance of ending up in their system forever!

The things we got up to in our younger days!! My parents must be so proud
post #20 of 21
I'm pretty sure you'll be fine flying directly from Canada to Mexico - the only issue with the US that I know of is a prior drug conviction (I don't think the other charges would bar him).

This isn't a 9/11 thing... more a "war on drugs" thing - that Canada reciprocates. I have a friend who had a um, spirited youth, which briefly included growing a lot of weed in his parents' attic. He can't go to the States, but can travel most everywhere else .
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