If you have a Criminal Record or Conviction, it will impact your ability to Travel outside of your country. A Travel Agent can NOT advise you on their opinion, on if you should book a trip or vacation, even if you disclose your offense to them, as the responsibility for understanding how a conviction impacts Travel is on the individual, to understand how their past infraction, effects them.
The only reliable source for accurate information about Travel related issues when you have a record, is your country of origin and country of destination. In some circumstances, you can file paperwork, which will allow entry, but it can take up to a year to process. So waiting until last minute will not be an option for you, if you have had a conviction in your past.
Because of the Geographic proximity between Canada and the USA, we have a vast amount of travel between the two countries. Many times there is confusion about if a passport is needed or what identification may be required when crossing the border or how a prior conviction may impact your ability to travel freely between the two countries.
If you are unsure about your status, just remember that a Border Patrol Guard will ask you if have EVER been arrested, fingerprinted or appeared in Court and if you answer yes to any of those, or if they enter your name into the data base and any of those show as ‘yes’, then you may be denied entry into the country.
One of the questions often asked, is in relation to Cruises originating in the USA. “Can an American with a Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated record, take an Alaskan cruise which originates in the United States but has a port of call in a Canadian City, as one of its stops?”
When cruising, the ships manifest is given to all ports of call 24 hours before departure. This means if you have an offence which could deny you entry into Canada, you could show up at the Port and be denied boarding at the cruise terminal because Canada has refused you entry into the country because of your conviction. You do not have the option to simply stay on the ship for that stop. This would mean forfeiting the money you spent on the cruise.
As an American, you can visit the Government of Canada’s website that details Criminal Convictions as this is where you will find the information that you need, to determine what you have to do, in order to travel outside of the USA and into Canada.
As a Canadian with a criminal record, you can visit the US Customs and Border Protection website for details on how to negotiate entry into the USA for a Vacation.
Generally speaking, for a DUI and convictions less than 5 years old, normally an application for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) will allow travel into Canada for business and/or pleasure. For a DUI and Convictions over 5 years old, then a Rehabilitation permit may be applied for which would allow permanent, problem free travel into Canada.
It is vital that you contact the appropriate Government Agency to know your responsibilities before book and pay for Travel, as Travel Insurance would not cover your cancelled trip if you are denied entry into another country because of a criminal conviction. A conviction from your past does not mean you can’t travel, it just means you have to deal with it, so you can.