Travelling to the United States with a pot conviction

travelling to the United States

For many Canadians, the United States is a popular holiday destination and there are plenty of Canadian companies that also do business in the USA. The laws in Canada have changed but they have not changed in most parts of the United States. This means that cannabis is still an illegal narcotic in the U.S. and you may not be permitted into the country as a result of your pot conviction.

Will my pot conviction disappear due to the new laws?

United States and a pot convictionDespite the law change, old pot convictions will not automatically disappear. They will remain on your record until you take the necessary steps to have these records sealed. Even if you have a charge but not a conviction, it will still show up when a criminal record check is done. If you were not convicted, you can request a file destruction. If you were convicted, you will need to file for pardons Canada.

What if I have a pot conviction pardon?

If you were pardoned by the Canadian government, this is the first step in the right direction. It’s important for getting your life in Canada back on track and serves as proof that you are living life on the right side of the law.

That said, it is important to remember that Canada and the USA share information such as criminal records. If you are granted a pardon in Canada and your record is sealed, it does not automatically seal this record on the United States database. Which means that if you are one of the ‘lucky’ travellers to undergo a more thorough inspection at the border, this information will be revealed. In other words, a Canadian pardon does not necessarily guarantee a trouble-free crossing.

What about a U.S. entry waiver?

A U.S. entry waiver is an important document that can make your travels that much easier. This waiver is a form of full disclosure. It should accompany the rest of your travel documents when crossing the border. It is essential if you have ever been denied entry into the United States due to your criminal record. Waivers take up to 12 months to process which is why it is important to file for yours in advance. If you have entered the U.S. several times in the past without any problems, you might believe that it’s worth the risk. The problem with this is that checks at the border are random. If you are caught and denied entry, you will find it that much more difficult to cross the border in the future. Risking it, simply put, is just not worth it.

What if I have multiple convictions?

pot convictionWhen you reach the border, it is up to the border officials to use their discretion in accordance with the law before determining whether or not you should be allowed into the country. If you have several convictions, it can count against you. However, if you have taken the necessary steps to clear your record, this can also count in your favour when you encounter a border patrol officer.

The most important thing to remember whenever it comes to visiting a foreign country with any kind of criminal record is to be honest. When you are asked any questions, you should always be truthful but try to keep your answers short and to the point. If you have been pardoned for your pot conviction and if you have a U.S. entry waiver, you can demonstrate to the officials that you have turned your life around. Pardons Canada and waivers are not always easy to obtain. The process involves a fair amount of documents and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the legal terms and jargon. At Record Free, we are here to help you through it all. Call +1 (866) 928-3260 to get started on your pardon today!


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