If you have a criminal record, you may already know that you can’t enter the United States, but what about stopovers? There are many places you can travel with a Record Suspension (pardon) or with a reasonable belief that the country has no way to find out about your record.

However, if your flight to these more exotic locations makes a stop in the United States, you could be detained and sent back to Canada. Reasons for stopping include:

  • Refueling
  • Transferring to a different flight
  • Embarking and disembarking passengers (like a bus, sometimes a flight has more than one destination)
  • Change of flight crew
  • Emergencies and repairs

Sometimes refueling stops are not even listed in the itinerary, which can come as a shock to someone who is inadmissible when the impending landing is suddenly announced at 39,000 feet.

The United States has no “sterile entry.” This means that when you are landing, even for a stopover, you need to either get off the plane and go through customs or go through preclearance at the airport prior to boarding. Currently, eight Canadian airports have preclearance to the United States.

How to avoid US stopovers?

There are many destinations that have stopovers in the United States. If you are travelling to Latin America, with the possible exception of Cuba, many flights will stop in the US.

Cuba may have more stopovers soon, due to the opening up of US travel to the island. To date travel by Americans is still subject to restrictions, which makes it less profitable for airlines than Canadian travel.

If you are travelling to Pacific Asia, your flight may stop for refueling in Alaska, Hawaii or California. If you are taking an Atlantic route you might stop in New York.

You may be able to find more options for non-stop flights when travelling to Europe. From there, you could arrange connecting flights to other destinations in Europe, Asia or Australia. There is also a direct flight from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia.

The other issue you might face is flying over US airspace. Airlines are obliged to provide information about their passengers to US authorities before every flight that travels over US territory. Because US officials have access to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, they will be able see which passengers have criminal records. Even if you don’t have a scheduled stop, they can prevent you from boarding.

What can you do?

Adjusting a flight to avoid the United States can add hundreds of dollars to a ticket. Transferring to another flight adds time to your trip and the increased possibility of lost luggage and missed connections and reservations. If you are a frequent traveler, trying to avoid the United States may become problematic. The inconvenience can even extend to being turned away from flights where you thought there would be no problem.

A US Entry Waiver allows you to travel with confidence. You will not be denied boarding on the basis of your criminal record. Find out if a US Entry Waiver can help you realize your goals of free travel with a free consultation from AllCleared. Contact us today for more information at 1-866-972-7366.