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Vancouver Off-Topic / Current Events The off-topic forum for Vancouver, funnies, non-auto centered discussions, WORK SAFE. While the rules are more relaxed here, there are still rules. Please refer to sticky thread in this forum.

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Old 12-09-2012, 09:55 AM   #1
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US Waiver?

Was an interesting Saturday night as I headed to the USA border with a friend.

So we pull up to the border guard and he collects our passport. The guard slaps a orange sticker on my buddy's car and instructed him to go inside.

He is advised of a conviction dating back to 1997 and that it falls under something called moral turpitude. So after 100s of times crossing since then, he now requires a USA waiver.

We are then refused entry and turned back to Canada. On the way home I asked what was the conviction and he tells me "theft over $5000". He served 30 days house arrest and ordered to pay restitution. All of which has been done so I think he thought he was in the clear?

He got a waiver application and while it looks straight forward, I told him to consider hiring people to do it.

I guess my question is....I was in the car with him but no one really approached me or questioned me so I think I'm in the clear but was refused entry obviously because I was with him.

Secondly, he requires a couple of 'character reference letters' as part of the waiver application. Can I write one up as a friend of his or do these letters have to come from someone of professional status such as a doctor, police officer, etc?

I definitely feel for the guy especially over an incident dating back almost 15 years but beware....criminal records will always catch up with you even if you've been having smooth sailing at border crossings.
It will now cost my friend $600+ to cross the border and that fee must be repaid if he wants to renew his USA waiver which could be every year or so for pretty much life. Although it sounds like a cash grab...there is no appealing and this is the price one has to pay eventually. WOW!
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:31 AM   #2
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Criminals don't become "in the clear" just for serving a sentence. It's something that will follow you around forever, especially when trying to travel. USA isn't so bad since it's just a quick drive home. Imagine flying 13 hours then getting turned away
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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Canada has the same policies. If a foreign national has been charged or convicted of an offense they may be found inadmissible. Think of it this way. If a US citizen was convicted of murder 15 years ago should he be allowed in?

Depending on the severity of the offense and crim history, the person may become admissible automatically. Otherwise a waiver is required.

There is no reason why your friend needs to get the application prepared by a professional especially if he has one charge or conviction. If he has multiple, then he should consider it. Some people are embarrassed over this sort of thing. He may not have told you everything nor does he owe you an explanation.

You are not flagged and you were not refused entry to the US. Did you sign a document or told to obtain a waiver? Probably not. You were turned around simply because of your friends situation. If you have any concerns try to make a gas trip across the border and see if you get pulled in.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:34 PM   #4
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We will let you in only if you fill out these documents and pay a large (processing fee) oh btw that isn't permanent we need to process it again in 1, 2 or 5 years (probably 1) cause we want that $$$. The people who can apply for the waiver and actually get it are not people there worried about anyway which is why its not more then a cash grab.

That said, don't commit crimes and it's not an issue but I still think it's kind of a BS process.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:42 PM   #5
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Much like Canada, the US reserves the right to allow entry to those that meet their immigration standard. I'm not going to critize their immigration laws the same way they shouldnt challenge our gun laws.
Just because someone knocks on your front, you don't have to let them in or do you?
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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Their country. Their rules. It's as plain as it gets no matter the politics behind it.

As for your friend, I would maybe consult a lawyer to get a broader idea of how it works. Maybe some loopholes or even extra info would help in the matter.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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My friend has to do the same shit. Needs a pardon which is $.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Doesn't take much. If you're ever convicted of a DUI then it's enough for that person to become inadmissible.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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he shouldve applied for a pardon a long time ago. but now they know and its too late now.

for future use: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/760
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:14 PM   #10
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exactly, friend should of applied for a pardon longggg ago.

takes upwards of a year or longer for the pardon process so best to get started on it ASAP.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #11
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A pardon does nothing for the OP's friend now (specifically in regards to crossing the border). The CBP has already made a record of your friend's info in their system. Even post-pardon (technically called a "record suspension" now), the US record of his Canadian conviction will still come up despite it being suspended in Canada. Just because the Canadian government has given you a second chance doesn't mean the US government will.

Everything you do where it results in some sort of negative police contact (ie: you're a suspect, an accused, a charged individual) will live with you for the rest of your life what with every job nowadays requiring a record check (FYI, the record check you get at your local police station is a police information check - a much broader search into your history than the charges and convictions that is a criminal record check).
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:54 AM   #12
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ahh right... they already have a record of it now, so its too late in this instance.

however, it's still worth while to go and get it done before something like this happens @ another country border, or a job interview or anything like that.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:32 PM   #13
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I'm curious what triggered them to enforce this now? Conviction was 15 years ago, OP states he's crossed many many times since then with no issues or problems. Did US gov just receive this info now, or the agent was having a bad day and decided to finally take it out on somebody?
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:48 PM   #14
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forgot about this.. so here's an update.

So.. he had to prepare a 'waiver package' which consisted of:

-record of employment
-2 reference letters (I wrote one of these for him)
-personal letter outlining nature of his prior conviction
-RCMP fingerprints check
-court records from his trial
-some DHS forms


anyways, he hired some agency to do all this.. at the end of it all it cost
him a $1000.

He submitted his 'waiver package' on March 15 2013 at a land crossing and got approval just
recently (end of July). They gave him a 1yr approval to cross for business and pleasure.

the shiddy thing is when he crosses, he has to show his passport, a 'card' that has been stapled to his passport and the approval letter from the DHS.

I went with him a few times already and there wasn't no hassle crossing into the USA with the above documents.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:01 PM   #15
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For as 'little' as a DUI. I say little in quotes because while I don't consider it little, one mistake can haunt you.

Job applications
Housing applications
...and everything in between.

You are marked.

We had a guy come in for an apartment and gets to the "oh shit" portion of the application(sadly so many people have an oh shit moment) and he had a conviction from when he was young and dumb, but just past the expunged period.

He was a nice guy, and deserved a break, but we said no.

Why ask the question if we aren't going to act on the answer?

Advice is...don't be fucking dumb.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:03 PM   #16
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Does he have to pay $1k every renewal period?
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:16 PM   #17
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OP, tell your friend to learn to fill out his own forms. The waiver package is very simple and is not worth the $1000 to get a lawyer to get their assistants to fill out.

OP is missing some details.
The waiver package is called the i94.
After the 1 year, OP's friend can reapply for the i94 waiver and they may be generous and give them up to 5 years.
Technically speaking, the 1 year waiver is called an i93. The friend has to go into the border/customs office to get the i94 which is a visa. But it's not just criminals that need the visa. Non-Canadian residents also need the same visa to travel into the US.

Each time he needs to get the i94, it will cost $6 usd.
The i93 application is just under $600 usd.
Even if OP's friend has a 1 year approval, each time he get's the i94, it will have a shorter time limit. It can be as short as a day, and as long as 6 months.
And the i94 has to be returned before it expires so the US government can track if someone has overstayed visa.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:59 AM   #18
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...here's a related story in the Vancouver Sun... this chic 'screwed' herself even without a criminal record:



White Rock woman barred from U.S. after admitting marijuana use




Student, who does not have a criminal record, baffled after being ‘totally honest’ about her past


Read more: White Rock woman barred from U.S. after admitting marijuana use

A White Rock woman en route to Washington state Saturday morning says she was turned back at the Douglas border crossing and barred from the U.S. because she admitted smoking marijuana several days earlier.

“I think it makes no sense,” said Jessica Goldstein, who maintains she was interrogated for several hours for simply telling the truth.

“I’m 30, a university student, and I cross the border weekly to buy my gas and groceries. I own a vacation property near Mount Baker. My father is American, I have family in California. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in the U.S. It doesn’t make any sense to me why they’d turn me away.”

Goldstein said her treatment is especially galling because voters in Washington and Colorado in November voted to make their states the first in the U.S. to permit the use of recreational marijuana.

Goldstein said she and two friends were headed to the Dave Matthews concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre. While attempting to cross the border, the U.S. customs agent asked her if she’d ever used marijuana.

She replied that she’d used marijuana the weekend before, maintaining to The Vancouver Sun that she’d been asked the same question in the past and allowed through after answering that she had smoked pot.

“I’m with two friends, (and) about an hour later, they question us one at a time. (The agent) interrogated me for about three hours and asked questions about my background, history and family and drug use. I was just totally honest.

“She asked how long I’d smoked pot for. I said about 10 years.

“Then she asked how many times I’d smoked pot in the my life. I didn’t know the exact number; probably around 500 times.

“Then she gave me a paper saying I was inadmissible to the U.S. and that I can’t cross unless I get a waiver. They turned us around and we had to drive back.”

According to Goldstein’s statement at the border crossing, which she provided to The Sun, she admitted to the agent that she’d smoked marijuana about a week ago and “casually on weekends.”

She said in her statement that she had also used ecstasy once and mushrooms twice about 12 or 13 years ago.

Goldstein told The Sun that she travels to the U.S. regularly for gas and groceries and that acquiring a waiver would take about six months and cost $600 to apply.

“I have no criminal record, no charges whatsoever,” she added. “I’ve never been arrested, and no illegal activities.”

Goldstein, the driver of the vehicle, said one of her passengers also admitted smoking marijuana but was not barred from entering the U.S.

“I feel I’ve been wrongfully accused,” added Goldstein, a web design and web development student. “I haven’t done anything. I wasn’t carrying anything, my truck was clean. I’m just an honest person. I can’t lie about these things, and don’t feel I should have to.”

She said she was labelled a habitual drug user, “and I don’t know on what grounds.

“I’d spent hundreds of dollars on my concert tickets and camping passes. I was heading down to the Gorge to the Dave Matthews concert for Saturday and Sunday night. I ended up giving my tickets away.”

Michael Milne, public affairs officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said Tuesday he was unable to speak about specific cases due to U.S. privacy laws, and had no information about how many Canadians have been turned back at the border after admitting marijuana use.

However, in an email response, he provided several rules used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for barring foreign aliens at border crossings.

Those considered inadmissible include anyone who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict, and those who have been convicted of, or voluntarily admit to having committed a crime involving moral turpitude, or who admits committing acts which constitute a violation of any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country related to a controlled substance.

As well, Milne referred The Sun to an Aug. 29 statement by Jenny Durkin, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, on federal marijuana enforcement policy in Washington and Colorado in light of the states’ vote to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

In her statement, Durkan said that although her department won’t challenge the legalization laws at this time, it will continue to enforce the Controlled Substance Act.

As well, she said: “We will continue an aggressive focus on the promotion and sale of drugs to minors, violence and the use of firearms, and the trafficking of marijuana across state or international lines.”
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acura604 View Post
“I have no criminal record, no charges whatsoever,” she added. “I’ve never been arrested, and no illegal activities.”
Um yeah. Last time I checked, smoking pot is still illegal in Canada.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #20
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what a moron, used a narcotic thats illegal in both countries a week ago. Why cant i enter?
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:40 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gridlock View Post
For as 'little' as a DUI. I say little in quotes because while I don't consider it little, one mistake can haunt you.

Job applications
Housing applications
...and everything in between.

You are marked.

We had a guy come in for an apartment and gets to the "oh shit" portion of the application(sadly so many people have an oh shit moment) and he had a conviction from when he was young and dumb, but just past the expunged period.

He was a nice guy, and deserved a break, but we said no.

Why ask the question if we aren't going to act on the answer?

Advice is...don't be fucking dumb.
Don't be fucking dumb?

Everyone makes mistakes in life, but they should not be condemned by it forever. As you said, the conviction was from when he was young and dumb. I assume that would mean his teenage to early adult years? You said he was a nice guy and deserved a break, but you said no; why?

I am unsure what you mean by past the expunged period, but just for your information, if his record was expunged he did not have to reveal anything to you. Having your record expunged makes your past criminal charge invisible to the public and can only be accessed with special order from the Minister of Public Safety Canada (this is beyond your typical cop shop). The guy was indeed nice and was just being honest and had he not been honest, he would probably be living in your apartment right now.

Life has its ups and downs and for some people the are more downs than there are ups. The best thing we can do as people is to help each other out and maybe try to empathize with each other for once. When the time comes that you hit a bump in life, lets see if you get that break that you "deserve".

Advice is...don't be a fucking prick
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:06 PM   #22
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So much dumb in the Sun article. Marijuana is still illegal in Canada and the USA. Regardless of whether or not Washington voted to decriminalize it, the borders are still Federal jurisdiction. And she admits to mushrooms and MDMA. The latter of which is like over level 9000 on the Controlled Substances Act.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:07 PM   #23
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I don't get why she would say "Yes, I smoke pot."

Just say what you have to to get across the border without incident. This is not a time to stand up for your principles or whatever. Just tell the border guard the correct answer to make it snappy, which is "No, sir, I've never touched the marijuanas in my life!"
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwon View Post
Life has its ups and downs and for some people the are more downs than there are ups. The best thing we can do as people is to help each other out and maybe try to empathize with each other for once. When the time comes that you hit a bump in life, lets see if you get that break that you "deserve".

Advice is...don't be a fucking prick
That is true, but I would hate to be the one to pay the price when buddy hits his 'down'. It's not about being a prick, it's about making the decisions to protect your own property.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:01 PM   #25
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I don't get why she would say "Yes, I smoke pot."

Just say what you have to to get across the border without incident. This is not a time to stand up for your principles or whatever. Just tell the border guard the correct answer to make it snappy, which is "No, sir, I've never touched the marijuanas in my life!"
I don't think you're getting the point of it. Lying to get across the border 'without issue' is never the answer. You think the guys smuggling drugs across the border aren't saying "No, sir, I've never touched the marijuanas in my life!" If they want the truth, they will get it out of you, anal probe and all.

While the article only tells her side of the story, based on what she has said, my main issue is with inconsistency in her treatment. She needs to understand that crossing the border is a privilege and not a right, and she also needs to understand that smoking pot IS infact still illegal. But, her passenger friend who also smoked pot was not prevented entry into the US. She was asked about pot on her previous crossing and she admitted with no issues. So what gives this time? She added that she once did E and twice did mushrooms because they decided to drill her further?
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