I-194 Waiver Forum

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Flight Over USA from Canada

append delete Jon

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well. I plead guilty to one count of fraud over 4 years ago in Canada. Full restitution made and I went on my way. I have since started my own business and have expanded to 4 Canadian cities. I will have to begin travelling to central and south America at the end of the year for business. From my understanding, the airlines forward passenger information to the United States as well as other related countries 72 hours prior to departure. Will the United States and other countries come across my criminal record during these checks prior to departure?

Thanks in advance for your responses!

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append delete #1. Hats Hats Hats

From my understanding, you should be fine as long as you don't have an arrest warrant against you, you don't land on US soil or your name is not flagged up by Interpol for serious crimes (being a sex offender, a drug trafficker or murderer for example). Having a pardon is a plus because your conviction is erased from CPIC and if other countries ask for info, they see nothing. That being said, your info may have been given to Interpol even if you get a pardon especially when you have an active warrant against you.

The US is different because they have full access to CPIC without Canada's permission, getting a pardon does not help here. Having full access to CPIC means that your criminal record after receiving a pardon will show as sealed. The Americans may have also downloaded your record before you received your pardon. There's a lot of things governments and police forces don't tell us. You can thank Harper for giving them full control, but I'm pretty sure any other ruling party would have done the same. Since 9/11, North American society is driven to punish people for petty crimes while the true criminals seem to get all the help to restart. A lot of civil liberties were thrown out and many people are fighting to get them back.

That being said, the 72 hours requirement is only required by DHS (the Bush administration's idea). George Bush Jr. himself had a record, but he became president.

The US tried to convince all countries to participate, but a lot of country simply did not cooperate. You have too understand most South American countries rely heavily upon Canadians to boost up their tourism industry. The US government does not realize it's harming it's own industry. Applying for a waiver is nothing more than a money grab and many people refuse to go to get them for this reason.

That being said, there's always a risk, so be prepared. Take a direct flight that avoids landing in any US city and make sure that your name is not on Interpol's database.

append delete #2. Jon


Thank you for the response. I appreciate your insight. I searched myself on Interpol and it displays zero results. I do not have serious charges like sexual assault, murder or drug related offences. I have flown to Central and South America many times from Europe. I have zero reason or motivation to enter the United States.

It's incredible how difficult it is to ascertain general information related to these matters.

Thanks again.

append delete #3. Hats Hats Hats Hats

The sad truth about this whole data sharing business between countries is that Canada's CBSA was unable to access FBI records when Americans crossed the border unless they pulled them in for secondary. Recently, they were given access to them. CBSA filled a complaint.

To what extent they were given access too only the US government knows. Considering many US politicians have been convicted and have rose to power makes you wonder how convoluted the whole US justice system seems to be.

It's kinda sad to think that many Americans were coming here without ever being pulled into secondary while Canadians have been denied entry to the US for trivial matters such as simple accusations that have been dropped or that didn't result in a criminal conviction whatsoever. We can congratulate the brilliant politicians we have.

Way to go to Canada!!!

append delete #4. Jon

Thanks again for the response. I totally agree with your post. Do you have any experience with the waiver of inadmissibility? Is it actually glued into your passport or is it a paper copy you keep with you. I might apply for one but having it glued into my passport or in my carry on concerns me when I travel to other countries. I worry about passport control noticing the visa and potentially denying me entry into countries I have no issue entering. Although connecting in the USA would save me about 5 hours on some trips, this is a concern if I apply for a waiver.

Thanks again!

#5. Hats Hats Hats Hats

This post was deleted by its owner

append delete #6. Jon

Great. Another headache to deal with. I wonder how hard it is going to be to get a visa for entry to Europe. Going to be interesting to see how this will cripple tourism in the EU.

append delete #7. Hats Hats Hats Hats

Considering the EU is going through a major existential crisis, I hardly believe the EU electronic travel authorization will be operational by 2020. It took Canada more than a decade to implement their own version of it. The EU with its 28 members, including other non EU Schengen countries, the focus right now being on Brexit and the rise of anti-EU sentiment, we won't see this electronic visa operational for probably many many years. Many of these member countries have yet to implement EU protocols and standards to say the least.

The country who wants this to be implemented the most is Greece because it will cost 5 € to get one and it will be valid for 5 years. Greece seems to think
It will bring the country out of its misery. In essence, it's a money grab.

I don't think also that the criteria to get one should be that difficult. You have many EU citizens who have non EU citizen children living in North America. A lot of those non EU children have convictions in North America and regularly travel back and fourth. We can only wait and see. As for now, you can go to Europe for another 2.5 years. They started taking fingerprints of every one though because of the terrorism threat and have started taking more travellers into secondary screening. This could potentially flag up your criminal record but most EU countries do not bar petty criminals from entering.

append delete #8. Jon

I have been through secondary numerous times especially when I fly into Frankfurt from our new office in Doha, Qatar. Never had issue with the criminal record. To be completely honest, I have only seen customs and immigration agents screen passengers through the Interpol system. I have seen them perform the search many times. When they ask me what I was doing in middle East I simply tell them I have business interests in the Middle East. As soon as I show them my business card of business based in Canada they return my stuff and off I go. I have a cousin from Belgium who did 5 years for aggrevated assault and he travels here to Canada to visit his girlfriend 5 times a year and Canada Customs never stops him. I can't figure it out. He passes all the screening and they never see his criminal record. I bet so many foreigners arrive into the United States and Canada with criminal records and are never caught.

append delete #9. Hats Hats Hats Hats

The issue will and forever be the US. For us Canadians, it's harder because both Canada and US share info on their citizens. Our politicians seem to always obey to the US demands and often to the detriment of our civil liberties. A lot of people can get their record expunged and will never show up when travelling depending on each country's laws.

We do not know for sure what foreign border guards see or cannot see. My thoughts would be if you are suspicious to them, you would be denied. So always have your paperwork, proof of sufficient funds and always have proof that you will be returning back home.

append delete #10. jazzsax

This is a good question and one most of us don't have an answer for.

I was convicted of fraud over as well, in 2015. 2 years house arrest (less a day), 3 years probation. Full liberty to travel from my PO now that I'm on probation. Had to surrender passport initially, but got it back in November after my sentence expired (had to apply for a new one as it expired while surrendered).

I had the same worries about being flagged / etc. Only way to find out is to try.

Flew to Cuba last week, direct via Sunwing. No issues with DHS, nothing flagged, no issues coming back (didn't even ask for proof of me being allowed to travel at customs), no issues in Cuba (lol, no surprise)

I've researched this topic extensively. If you were on an Interpol list you wouldn't be allowed on the plane. Avoid any flights with stops in the US (you will probably get barred from entry), and then move on.

I would suggest spending the time and money to get your I-194 waiver. I will go through that soon, and then once you have it in hand, you have zero issues with the US as far as travel is concerned.

Good luck,

append delete #11. Sephh123

i'm trying to make my own thread on this site but i keep getting a message saying permission denied

Any idea how to fix that ?

append delete #12. JOHN ROGERS

I can't start threads either. I could before.

Just to answer the question above. Interpol is for international criminals. Or people who fled their country and there is a warrant.

Its rare to get a client on Interpol. When you fly OVER the United States, there is no checking you...yet. You can travel anywhere in the world EXCEPT the United States. As long as you don't pass customs, you won't have an issue. You have to fly direct to Cuba, they have no flights from the United States.

append delete #13. Amar555

Hello everyone,

I am interested in applying for a waiver. I wanted to know if the waiver is glued into your passport or is it a separate card/document that you present when you cross the border?

append delete #14. JOHN ROGERS

its three pages, 2 of which you carry. The "card" you hear about is different. Its for land crossings and is renewed every 6 months so you are not stuck doing secondary every time you cross.

append delete #15. K SCOTT

#12 John is not fully correct since the airlines provide CBP with a complete passenger list for every aircraft entering USA airspace. You are not checked in the sense that you are standing in front of a CBP officer. However, your name is still checked based on the passenger list. Any Canadian criminality is downloaded into TECs so the border will have it anyway. How do you think that they caught Clay LaRouche? The USA told that pilot to land in the USA because they knew he was on that flight.


append delete #16. jazzsax

#15 this is a bit different Ken, He was wanted for criminality and the US knew it because of info sharing.

What I was discussing was how your record after the fact affects travel. DHS has no reason to down the plane if you aren't presently wanted. They might stop you from getting on it, but that's a huge waste of resources otherwise.

append delete #17. K SCOTT

Well, the bottom line is that passenger info on any aircraft that enters USA airspace is recorded into CBP databases. If you have criminality then this is noted and automatically downloaded. CBP will see it and it is already in the system for example if you try crossing at a land border a few months later. Now the CBP officer may or may not do anything. You can be assured that the info is in the system but will depend on the officer if they act upon it or not.

The problem is that there is so much inconsistency at the borders..at least in B.C. since I cannot speak on other areas. Also #10 I really recommend people research to even see if they even need a waiver before they spend money on it. People can go to appropriate sources to see if they even need a waiver. I am not talking about a September Letter since there is a way to get cleared locally at certain borders if you do not need a waiver. People often call us and ask if they need one. Based on the circumstances, I sometimes tell them no and to have a nice day. We charge them less than a penny for this service and just ask them to send their friends to us in the future....and they do. If they need one and won't qualify for a September Letter, then we quote them our fee and they are free to either use or go somewhere cheaper. Understandably, I am hesitant to publish a list of offences that do not require a waiver or qualify for a September Letter since this is our area of specialty.

Do not ask a Discount Waiver Company because they will likely tell you yes so they can get the waiver business.

In your case #10, It seems like you would need one since I assume that you do not have USA citizen parents, are not First Nations and do not qualify for other areas of relief. I just hate for someone to apply for an unneeded waiver since those people can say the wrong thing and talk themselves into needing one. Not every offence requires a us entry waiver.


append delete #18. JOHN ROGERS

Although Ken is correct that years ago they implemented a system to provide the names of people flying over the United States but not clearing customs, I have never seen any evidence that these people are being checked for criminal records.

Rule of thumb is still "if you have never been denied entry, you do not need a waiver".

If you took a flight to Mexico, and have a criminal record, assume they still have no idea who you are. You do not need a waiver.

append delete #19. K SCOTT

Well, I have to say that if they have never been denied entry...that does not necessarily mean that they do not need a waiver. It could mean that they have not caught the person yet. It really depends on what the conviction/offence is for.

An example is that we often get people in Surrey that say they have been crossing for 30 years and never had any trouble. Suddenly one new CBP guard hauls them in and they now need a waiver for a prior conviction. Depending on the conviction/offence, I agree with the officer. We tell people that some officers are better than others...It really depends on a few factors.

Also, note that the system checks are done internally so they won't broadcast what they are doing...Hence there won't really be any evidence that the person has been checked.

We literally just got a case yesterday relating to this issue. The guy had been crossing for 30 plus years and this time CBP hauled him in and told him he needs a waiver for his offences. We told him that they were mistaken and he even agreed that the guard was unsure if the guy needed a waiver or not. The guard just gave him a waiver packet and said to go home.

I have some special inserts that will show that the offences do not require a waiver. The bigger one is his offence for stealing a battery from a car. I asked him if the car was parked inside someone's garage or was it out in the open. It will be a different way to attack since it was out in the open. If in the garage, then it would be tricky since CBP could say that it was a burglary.....Although there is a way around that too.

He should get a September Letter based on the convictions. In fact, he told me and my Surrey manager that was the only reason that he came to us.

append delete #20. Tanya

Has anyone travelled a direct flight from Canada to Mexico? We are wanting to take a holiday this winter but not sure if entering Mexico will be a problem? Fraud over conviction.l do have a valid Canadian passport. Will Mexico know about my criminal record?

append delete #21. JM


I have with the same conviction....I had no issue whatsoever.

append delete #22. jazzsax

@JM When did you fly and when was your conviction?

Problem people are having is with the wording that they could deny entry if you had fraud or tax fraud charges. I'm curious on this too and have been avoiding mexico because of it

append delete #23. Michelle

@20 Tanya, @21 JM and @22 Jazzsax, this is what I tell people when they call me and ask this...If you are flying direct from Canada to Mexico..enjoy..there is nothing to worry about..Mexico is not going to turn you away because of a criminal record or history. Now, if you are on a direct plane and it has to land in the USA for some unknown , you most likely will not be denied entry, but placed into a "holding area" simply because you did not intentionally try to enter the USA. I have been telling people this for 15 years and no one has come back telling me otherwise.

append delete #24. John Rogers

@Michelle is 100% right. Direct flight to Mexico is absolutely fine, criminal record or not.

append delete #25. JM


My flight was in February....my conviction was 8 years ago for fraud over $5K


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