If you are planning a visit to the United States from Canada, it is in your best interest to learn more about the laws regarding entering the US. Over the last years, the United States has tightened security on their borders due to the terrorist attack on 911. This means for Canadians that have been convicted of a crime, cannot attempt to cross the border or they are breaking the law. For those that are trying to cross the border into the United States, a background check is done at the crossing point. Canada shares all criminal records with the United States Department of Homeland Security. If you do not have a valid US entry waiver in your possession, you will not be allowed to enter the US and will then be banned from entering. In some cases, you may be arrested and charged with illegal entry and have your vehicle impounded.
Before Homeland Security and all the technologies used today, many criminals made their way to the US and visited without any issues. Today, with the internet and countries sharing information, even individuals that deserted into Canada during the Vietnam War can easily be found if they try to enter the United States, such as the case of Allen Abney that deserted but was found in 2006 and went to military prison.
Even Canadians that have been pardoned cannot enter the US without the waiver as Homeland Security does not recognize Canadian pardons. Once a person receives a Canadian pardon, the information will no longer be shared; however, if the information of the crime was shared prior to the pardon, the information will still be in the American database and therefore entry into the United States will not be allowed.
If you plan a visit to the United States, if you have a criminal conviction, you will need to obtain a United States entry waiver from the Department of Homeland Security. You will need to apply for the waiver early as it may take up to ten months for the application to be processed. All waivers are only granted for 1 to 5 years and will need renewed if you still wish to visit the United States. If you need an American Waiver it is best to talk with a professional that can help you apply for the waiver.