Although a criminal conviction can bring expected penalties like jail time and fines, it doesn’t have to stand in your way of traveling to another country. A country may try to deny you entry because of your criminal record. However, with a little bit of planning, you can still travel to conduct business, visit family or just enjoy traveling.

Even with a criminal record, there are things that you can do to legally travel to other countries. Canadians wishing to enter the United States might need to take extra steps for entry if they have a crime that involves morality. This can be anything from larceny, embezzlement, fraud and assault to homicide. With these convictions, you can seek a waiver from the U.S. government or a criminal suspension in Canada that allows you to travel freely.

People wanting to come to Canada after a criminal record have a few extra steps to take, too. Crimes that are often not taken as seriously in the United States can bar entry into Canada. Drunk driving is one example. Often times, people with these convictions can still travel, but they need to get a travel waiver first.

Canada and the United States share records and intelligence for the purposes of border security. That means it’s a good idea to tell the truth if they ask about your record. Telling the truth can go a long ways towards convincing a border agent that you should be allowed into a country.

For Canadians traveling to the United Kingdom, you may be able to ask for special dispensation for certain offenses. If you spend less than six months in jail because of your offense, you can generally enter the country freely five years after your sentence ends. If you serve between six and thirty months, you can travel freely after ten years. The United States doesn’t have an exact waiting period, so you might be able to travel sooner to the United States.

When you just can’t wait, you can apply for a travel waiver. You can also ask Canada to suspend your criminal record. Getting your record suspended in Canada allows you to truthfully answer “no” when border officials ask you about your criminal record. There are certain steps to take to have a Canadian criminal record suspended, but it’s something that happens every day in Canadian courts.

In Michigan, criminal history suspension is called expungement. Our office handles Traverse City expungements and expungements in Northern Michigan. Contact our office today for a free review of your case.