Given the tighter border security resulting from the Executive Order on Immigration from President Donald Trump, it is even more important for Canadians travelling to the United States with criminal records to obtain a record suspension (formerly called a pardon) or a Waiver (I-194).
If you were charged but not convicted; for example, the charge was withdrawn, stayed or you received a discharge, it is important to obtain a file destruction under the Identification of Criminals Act.
To have your file destroyed, apply to the local police agency that charged you with the criminal offence and arrange for that police agency to make a formal request to the RCMP to have your records destroyed.
If you were convicted of a criminal offence, then the police will not destroy your record. They will only consider destroying your record if:
- Charges against you have been withdrawn;
- You have entered into a peace bond;
- You received an absolute or conditional discharge;
- You were found not-guilty after a trial.
You may have to wait some time before applying for the record destruction. For example, if you entered a peace bond, you will have to wait until the peace bond has expired. If you received an absolute discharge, you must wait a year, and for a conditional discharge, three years. Once you start the process, it can take several months, and up to two years, before the record is completely destroyed.