Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2209
How does having a criminal record affect Snowbirds?Region: Ontario Answer # 2209
Snowbirds is a term used to describe Canadians who travel to the warmer climate of the southern American states during the winter months. Most of these people are retired seniors. Most Snowbirds are aware of American laws that deal with how long Canadians are legally permitted to stay in the USA. Many, however, are not aware that their past criminal record may catch up with them and prevent them from enjoying their vacation – especially in cases where they have crossed the border many times without a problem. They are under the mistaken belief that their record is so old that it no longer exists. But this is not so.
Even young offender records created under prior legislation may still be on record at the RCMP. So, to be safe, Snowbirds can see what is still on file by submitting their fingerprints to the RCMP for certification. There are no special exemptions for Snowbirds with regard to having a criminal record. If their criminal record is discovered during a routine screening by a Customs and Border Patrol officer, they will be refused entry to the USA.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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