Nov 12

A common concern for people who are charged with criminal offences is whether they will be allowed to travel if convicted. For most countries, a criminal record, even one that is serious, will have no impact on travelling. Unfortunately, travel to the United States is the exception since even a minor criminal record may be enough to deny you entry.

If you are charged with a criminal offence, and have concerns about travelling, you should contact the experienced defence counsel at Lockyer Zaduk Zeek. The easiest way to continue to travel is to avoid a criminal record, which our office can assist with. Please schedule a consultation by calling 416-613-0416 to discuss your case, your defences, and how our office can help defend you with your criminal charges.

Can I travel to the United States with a criminal record?

The ability to travel to the United States is one of the main travel concerns for people charged with a criminal offence. Many people conduct business, or have family or property in the USA, so the inability to travel to the USA can have a substantial impact.

The United States can refuse admission to any person convicted of a criminal offence. This means that if you have a criminal record, you could be turned back at the border. The border officer you interact with will have substantial discretion to deny your entry if you have a criminal record.

What criminal offences can I still travel with?

There is no defined list of what will make you ineligible at the border. The border police will look decide after looking at your convictions. A criminal record with offences of moral turpitude makes it difficult to travel to the US. For example, this would include offences against others like assault or sexual assault. Another set of offences which will make it difficult to travel would be drug offences – even simple possession offences.

Travel is more likely with less serious offences such as impaired driving or other non-violent, non-drug related offences.

What can I do to travel to the United States?

If you have a criminal record which may result in your exclusion from the USA, you can apply for a temporary waiver in advance that may allow you to travel to the USA.