Having a criminal record can hold you back in many areas of life including employment, education, volunteerism, and travel, but being convicted of an offence shouldn’t dictate your future. This is why many Canadians who have been convicted of a criminal offence choose to apply for record suspensions and U.S. waivers.

Record suspensions are commonly referred to as record expungements or pardons. A record suspension keeps the judicial record of your conviction(s) separate and apart from other criminal records the police have on file. This removes all information about your conviction(s) from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database and means that your conviction(s) will not show up on a regular criminal record check.  Your criminal record is not erased but is kept separate and apart from other criminal records. Depending on the nature of your offence, your conviction could still show up on a vulnerable persons record check. Record suspensions can be obtained for many Criminal Code of Canada offences.  The eligibility and wait time for a record suspension depends on the offence committed and the type and length of sentence you received.

If you have a criminal record, even one you’ve received a pardon for in Canada, you may have difficulties at the U.S. border. American border authorities have wide discretion to decide who is and is not admissible to the United States. The most common criminal record-related reasons for being inadmissible to enter include if you have been convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude,” if you have multiple convictions, or if you’ve been convicted for drug possession and/or trafficking. Although these are the most common reasons to be inadmissible based on your record, border authorities often find Canadians with other involvement in the criminal justice system to be inadmissible as well and the decision-making process is unpredictable.

The best way to eliminate your chance of facing difficulties at the U.S. border is to obtain a U.S. waiver. It is possible to apply for a waiver of your inadmissibility to the U.S., which grants you advance permission to travel to and from the U.S. for a set period of time. This application process can take over a year to complete.

While both record suspensions and U.S. waivers can be applied for without the help of a lawyer, the application processes are lengthy and complicated. DeMelo Law offers record suspension and U.S. waiver application services to assist you in reducing the stress of this process. If you would like to find out more about obtaining a record suspension or a U.S. waiver, contact our office today.


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