As the border shared between Canada and the United States is the longest border shared between any pair of countries in the world, the neighboring countries work closely together to ensure cargo and travelers alike can pass safely and quickly through the various ports of entry. Since the border-establishing Treaty of Paris in 1783, many changes have been made to improve border security as policies are adjusted to respond to the new challenges facing the two countries.
The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 propelled changes even further placing added conditions of entry on the notably friendly border. As of June 1st, 2009 the full provisions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative were implemented which required any foreign national to present their passport or equivalent document in order to enter the United States. Similarly, American citizens now need to present their passports to enter Canada. The process of entering Canada also has additional steps for any American citizen with a criminal record.
Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, foreign nationals have two options in terms of overcoming their inadmissibility to Canada; the short-term solution of acquiring a Temporary Resident Permit or the permanent solution of Criminal Rehabilitation. While slightly different in their outcome, both of these options require submitting applications to a Canadian consulate in the United States. Among the requirements of these paperwork-heavy applications are state police clearances, and in some cases FBI clearances. The title of such documents can vary by state, but they all serve the same purpose of outlining offenses incurred by an individual.
A state police clearance can offer immigration officials an official and trusted account of the applicant’s criminal history within the jurisdiction of the specified state. An application is strengthened when a background check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also included, as it discloses one’s criminal history in all of the United States.
To acquire state police clearances individuals must make requests through the individual states. For your convenience, all state websites, prices and application forms (for certain states) can be found at FWCanada’s website at m/state-clearance-policies-for-criminal-background-checks/. For information concerning FBI background checks conducted through the FBI, please consult http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/submitting-an-identification-record-request-to-the-fbi. An additional option for TRP and criminal rehabilitation applications is found in FBI-approved Channelers. These channelers are private businesses who have secured contracts with the FBI enabling them to receive, collect, and forward all relevant FBI data. To enquire about FBI-approved channelers please visit http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/list-of-fbi-approved-channelers.
For more information on Temporary Resident Permits, Criminal Rehabilitation and all matters involving Canadian Immigration visit the FWCanada website and follow us on twitter @FWCanada.