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People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

Vancouver, Canada
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People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

My family booked round-trip tickets to NYC on short notice, and we will be leaving Canada in two days. At some point I started getting very nervous about having a run-in with US immigration.

This is because two years ago I made an incredibly stupid decision, had a run-in with the police and courts even though in the end it resulted in a diversion (alternative measures), which means no record of any conviction... although there is still info in the 'deeper' sections of a background check on me that yes, I DID do something that was resolved through diversion.

My family does often cross the border to go down to the states for some shopping, and we haven't ever had any issues with the border guards even though speaking with them does make me break into sweat (I regret doing what I did back then so damn much now, wow).

Now I know circumstances can be different everywhere, but I'm super worried about being stopped or even DENIED entry into the states because of my past, especially since we're even transferring flights in Salt Lake City before we reach JFK.

Anyone know of people who have been stopped or denied due to their criminal past?

Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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1. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

Why don't you contact USCIS and give them the specifics, they are a far better source than an open public forum. Pretty sure each case is unique even if someone on here had a similar experience.

USCIS.Canada@dhs.gov

London, United...
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for London
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2. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

YVR has US border pre-clearance. You will go through US immigration and hand in a customs form before you go to the gate.

Depending on the time your flight departs and given what you've said, I'd allow more than the usual time for the necessaries at YVR. Take a pen, as you'll need to fill in the US Customs cards before going to the check in desk. Keep your boarding passes and that blue card at hand as they will be checked several times before you reach the Security check point.

After Security you will go to US Immigration. If you've been questioned closely at Peace Arch or Douglas then that may happen again at YVR - but it might not.

The entire process could take 15 minutes, but it could just as easily take 45 minutes. Get to the airport early, have your passports, boarding passes and US Customs form close by, and answer the agents' questions honestly. That's all you can do, and sounds like what you've done when you've crossed the border by car.

Good luck.

Edit: You will fly to SLC as domestic US pax and will connect there as on any other domestic flight.

Edited: 1:52 pm, August 19, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

Alright, thanks for the advice and information. This gives me a better idea of what to expect. It's not like I haven't traveled by plane before, just haven't done so in a few years and DEFINITELY not after doing a stupid thing and getting a record for it.

Greensboro, NC
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4. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

If your run-in with the police was with local police, chances are that the Feds will have no record of it unless it had to do with terrorism. Assuming that is was not, I wouldn't worry much about it. Have a good trip and spend lots of money!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

Sometimes US border agents ask if you have ever been arrested. I have seen this happen at Toronto Airport at the US pre-clearance area.

No idea what happens if you say "yes" to that one. Obviously they may ask if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense, but they sometimes cast their net wider than that and ask about arrests as well.

Edited: 3:25 pm, August 19, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

I don't recall seeing it anywhere save for ONCE when I was a kid and some man was handcuffed at the airport for drug possession. As for getting stopped - you see it happening nearly every drive down to the border.

AND I've heard only a number of horrifying stories (thought I don't know how much of them vaporize into 'myths') about Canadians running into trouble with US immigration with regards to SOME kind of criminal past... so there's even less information about what happens if one is asked whether they've 'been arrested'.

I've never had a problem traveling to and from the US, so... hopefully I won't this time either.

@retiredagent: Thanks for the reassurance, I do hope! Even though I've read a news article a while back about someone being denied entry for a conviction he got on his record nearly 20 years back. ;;;

Edited: 4:58 pm, August 19, 2013
Columbus, Ohio
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7. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

If you have a record, it will pop up, the minute they slide your passport. After 9/11, all information system is now linked. Even US and Canadian system is linked. The whole overhaul of custom and border control and immigration into DHS. Now it depends on the officer, he/she may or may not ask you, you should be able to explain honestly what happened, without changing your story.

Oxford, United...
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8. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

A former colleague of mine was denied entry to the US a few years ago. He had ( so he says ! ) a small fine on his record for a drunken student prank nearly 20 years earlier. He was put on the next flight back to the UK.

London
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9. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

USA law does not recognise the concept of a 'spent' conviction. Anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence - no matter how long ago or how slight the misdemeanour - is required to apply for a visa.

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: People who are denied entry into the US at the airports?

The US and Canada systems are indeed linked, meaning that convictions in Canada can lead to exclusion to the US, and vice versa. Most notably, it means that anyone convicted of a DUI (drink driving) offense in the US can be denied entry to Canada for five years. I know of two people who've been turned back at the Peace Arch and refused entry to Canada for drink driving convictions in the US.

You must answer any questions posed by the US CBP inspector >truthfully<. S/he has the records in front of them on the screen, and if you lie then you have no chance of entry and possibly additional sanctions (though as you'd be at YVR you can't be arrested by the CBP officers, but your records would be duly marked). Answer truthfully and then it's up to what he screen says and the officer's call. You may be okay.

Good luck.