Visas for Travellers with convictions

Spring 2014 CSANews Issue 90  |   Posted date : May 12, 2014.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,
I own a condo in Vero Beach Florida and for a few years, my son has driven us down, stayed for a week or so and then I have bought him a ticket to fly home. This worked well for me and he was happy to do it.
In the spring, I would fly him down and he would stay for a week or so and then drive us home again. Last March, he got to Toronto airport, checked in his golf clubs and luggage then went to the gate. He was asked to step aside, taken to an office and interrogated by the customs and border patrol. He was completely bewildered. It turned out that they had found an offence from 22 years ago when he was charged for smoking a marijuana cigarette in British Columbia; he paid a fine of $75 dollars at the time.
Because of that, they refused to allow him to fly down to us. After he got out of the office, he quickly phoned us just before we were leaving to pick him up. Now he is not allowed to enter the U.S.
We are leaving soon to go to Florida but this year, with heavy hearts, we will take the drive in more steps. I realize that the border patrol has immense power at the borders, But really, are they keeping America safe by stopping Canadians from going to the U.S. and spending our money down there? By the way, his ticket was not refunded because he had checked in and missed the flight.
We have recently found out that a waiver can be purchased for $580 plus, plus, plus, which ‘may be still rejected’ by an over-officious border guard. This waiver must be renewed again after one year (Canadian passport office said??). Nobody seems to know much about this problem and there seems to be a lot of confusion about what the rules are. Any help from you would be appreciated.
Dennis,
Ontario

Response:
Ed.: Drugs and the U.S. do not mix well and this is a fairly common occurrence. I suggest that your son apply for a full pardon in Canada and that should help fix the problem. These websites might help:
www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/goc/pardons.shtml
www.pardons.org

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