Toronto, Ontario (PRWEB) March 5, 2007
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is a new law that has made entry into the United States increasingly difficult for Canadians by requiring additional travel documentation in an effort to protect the U.S./Canadian border.
In an effort to increase border security, the United States has implemented a new law called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). As of January 23, 2007, the WHTI requires that any Canadian citizen entering the United States by air must present either a valid, up-to-date passport to enter the U.S. or a NEXUS card and other appropriate secure documentations where necessary.
After the enactment of this law, new border regulations came into effect, and Passport Canada has seen a sharp increase in passport applications. This increase reflects the effectiveness that Canadian authorities have had in informing the travelling public about these new regulations. However, some travelling to the United States are required to present another form of documentation at customs, called the U.S. Entry Waiver, and unfortunately many not aware that this is necessary.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative has made entering the U.S. increasingly complicated for Canadian citizens with criminal records. This new law makes it illegal for a person with a criminal record to enter the United States without presenting a U.S. Entry Waiver. Canadian Foreign Affairs warns that a person with a criminal record attempting to enter the United States without a U.S. Entry Waiver may be delayed, detained, and even arrested. In addition, if travelling by car they may have their vehicle seized or if travelling by air, they may be prevented from boarding their flight.
"A person's criminal record, which contains not only convictions but other confidential information such as arrest records, charges against and even finger prints, can be accessed by American boarder guards instantly at their computer terminals," says Dewey Nguyen of Canadian Pardon Services (http://www.canadianpardons.ca), a company that specializes in obtaining Canadian Pardons and U.S. Entry Waivers for people with criminal records.
Every day, Canadians with criminal records attempt entry into the United States without a U.S. Entry Waiver. It is hard to understand why anyone would choose to take such a risk considering the potential embarrassment, inconvenience, and suffering that being caught could entail. In many instances, people with criminal records may simply be unaware of the law and how it relates to them or they may be misinformed and believe that their particular circumstance precludes the need for a U.S. Entry Waiver.
There are many misconceptions that could get a person with a criminal record into big trouble. One is the mistaken belief that juvenile convictions, made years ago, no longer count. Another is the delusion that U.S. customs officials are not interested in stopping anyone convicted of a minor offence because they are only looking for people who have committed serious crimes.
One very common mistake that people with criminal records make is to assume that they do not need a U.S. Entry Waiver if they have previously received a pardon in Canada. They think that by receiving a pardon all evidence of their arrest has been expunged from their record and is no longer available to view. This, surprising, is not the case because the United States government does not recognize Canadian pardons.
Nguyen states, "Even if you have been allowed entry into the States in the past, with today's heightened security - if you have a criminal record, chances are at some point you will be stopped. Obtaining a U.S. Entry Waiver is the only way to ensure legal entry into the States, eliminating all the stress and potential hassle."
When the WHTI is fully implemented it will include both land and sea boarder crossings, and as a result will further tighten boarder security. With all the on-going additional scrutiny at customs, it is more necessary than ever for those with criminal convictions in their past to obtain a U.S. Entry Waiver. It is the only way to ensure a legal and a hassle-free entry into the United States.
Canadian Pardon Services works both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border to provide legal services for those that need to cross the border but can't because of past criminal records. For more information about the Canadian Pardon and U.S. Waiver application process, please visit http://www.canadianpardons.ca or call 1-800-298-5520.