I Have a Bench Warrant, Can I Still Visit the United States?
A bench warrant is used to arrest a defendant and bring them before the court,
an obligation that they guaranteed when they posted bail in order to be
released from custody.
Traveling to the United States with a US Warrant
When a foreign national arrives at the US border or a US pre-clearance location
with a minor warrant in any state, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will
confirm the validity of the warrant with the jurisdiction that issued it, and
if it is valid they will co-ordinate with the jurisdiction to ensure the arrival
of the individual. In many cases, if the USA warrant is valid, the traveler
will be arrested on the spot and transported in handcuffs to the locality where
the bench warrant was issued.
If you are flying into the United States from a Canadian Airport such as
Toronto Pearson, it is possible to be detained at the US preclearance facility
and extradited to the state where the warrant is out of. It also does not
matter if the bench warrant is from the state you will be traveling to, or from
another state. For example, you can be arrested for a California bench warrant
when crossing the border by vehicle from British Columbia to Washington State.
You can also be arrested for a warrant when transiting through an American
airport, even if the warrant is in a different state. For example, if you fly
from Canada to Australia but have a layover in Hawaii, the CBP can arrest you
because of an outstanding warrant in Florida.
In conclusion, any individual that attempts to fly or drive into the United
States with a warrant out for their arrest can be detained, even if it is only
a regional or statewide warrant from another state. If you are a Canadian with a US bench
warrant in any state, and you want to travel to the United States, phone us
today for a free consultation! Bench warrants do not expire, so sitting around
ignoring the problem will not fix anything and will essentially result in you
being banned from U.S.A. for life. Our team of professionals can lay out your
options for effectively dealing with your American warrant, so you will once
again be welcome south of the border.
Entering USA with a Canadian Warrant
If you have a warrant out for your arrest in Canada, driving or flying to the United States can cause you to be arrested. Even if your warrant is only provincial wide and you are exiting the country from
another province, anyone with a warrant is considered inadmissible to the US and will be denied entry to USA. Furthermore, there is a good chance that US border officials will inform the local Police force of the
situation, and you may get arrested at the airport by the RCMP or municipal Police force. This means, for example, that a provincial warrant in Quebec can lead to you being arrested in Ontario if you try to enter USA.
Even if a Canadian with a local bench warrant managed to get into the United States, they would definitely be arrested upon returning to Canada. Remember, it is not the airlines that check to see if a person has a criminal record or warrant (you can fly domestically with a bench warrant and not run into any trouble), it is immigration
officials at the border that will detect it. Canada and the U.S. share criminal databases, and the Canadian border can see all US state and country wide warrants, and the US border can see all provincial and Canada-wide warrants. If you want to travel south of the border but have an outstanding bench warrant in Canada, once you
deal with your warrant it is still possible to get into the United States even with a criminal record provided you have a US Entry Waiver.
Questions about crossing the border with a warrant? Call us now for a free consultation!