US Entry Waiver

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US Waiver

Experienced US immigration lawyer in Canada providing US Waiver services to all Canadians. We are pleased to offer free comprehensive consultations!

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.

Travelling 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 bench warrant in any state, USA 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 traveller will be arrested on the spot and transported in handcuffs to the locality where the warrant was issued. If considered a "non-extraditable" warrant, the individual might not get arrested but could instead be denied entry to the US. For example, a Canadian citizen entering Michigan by vehicle from Ontario could be refused admittance by CBP if they have a non-extraditable warrant from Ohio.

If you are flying into the United States from a Canadian airport such as Toronto Pearson, it is possible to be detained at the USA pre-clearance 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 travelling 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 Toronto to Costa Rica but have a layover in Miami, the CBP can arrest you because of an outstanding warrant in New York.

In conclusion, any individual that attempts to fly or drive into the United States with a warrant out for their arrest could get detained or denied entry, 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 the USA for life. Our team of professionals can lay out your options for effectively dealing with your American warrant, so you will hopefully 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. Due to information sharing between the two nations, the US Customs warrant check can bring up both American and Canadian warrants. 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 can be denied entry to USA. Furthermore, there is a good chance that US border officials will inform the local police force in Canada of the situation, so after getting denied admittance you may get arrested at the airport or land border crossing by the RCMP or municipal police. This means, for example, that a provincial warrant in Quebec can prevent a Canadian citizen from driving into USA from Ontario.

Even if a Canadian with a local bench warrant managed to get into the United States, they might get 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 USA share criminal databases, allowing the Canadian border to see all US state and country-wide warrants, and the American border to 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 can still possible to get into the United States with a criminal record by obtaining a US Entry Waiver.

Questions about crossing the border with a warrant? Call us now for a free consultation!

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