In 2002 I was charged with obstruction of justice. It was a summary offence and I went through the adult diversion program and then my charge was withdrawn. Fast forward to 2009, my then boyfriend and I drove from Canada to Las Vegas for a road trip. At the border I was asked if I was ever charged and I truthfully answered yes. I got pulled into secondary screening, had to fill out forms and also explain to them about my charge and what happened. They told me next time I travel to the US, that I need to bring my court papers to show them. Has anyone else experienced this and did you successfully entered into the US again after you showed your court papers? Am I now flagged? What are the chances of me being denied? I want to take my daughter to Florida Disneyworld but this is causing me to worry.

  • In what country did this offence take place? Jan 25, 2020 at 6:59
  • @MichaelHampton why would that be relevant?
    – phoog
    Jan 25, 2020 at 16:44
  • The offence happened in Canada. The US has access to our criminal police database, plus I previously acknowledge the offence when asked. I have applied to have the charge removed from CPIC but my understanding is that the US has probably made a copy of my record when I travelled through in 2009. It may not show up in Canada, but will in the US database.
    – Jaclyn
    Jan 26, 2020 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Next time, you need to bring your court papers to show them

They told you that. I gather you did not misunderstand, since you repeated it here.

"Am I now flagged"? Yes, you might have made a common error of assumption: that immigration is a bunch of stupid border guards who have never heard of computers.

Yes, every US border guard you encounter may instantly call up your history with all US border guards. Expect the guard to see a comment like

2009/8/5 decl past charge sec screen discl 2002 settl obstruct justice.
2009/8/5 told to bring court papers next visit

I expect this to be no big deal. Since, if it was a big deal, they would've refused you 11 years ago, when the crime was fresher, at the highway crossing where it's super easy to turn people away -- Canada has to let you back in, and no expensive airline itineraries have been disrupted. (not true if you fly into JFK and are refused there; it gets messy fast.)

But, the formality should not be neglected. You do not want immigration to think you consider immigration law unimportant. They are trusting you to abide by the terms of your visa or waiver.

  • I certainly do no think that US immigration law is not important. I want to make sure I do everything right. I was hoping someone with a similar experience would comment with respect to having shown court documents and then being successfully allowed to enter the US. My daughter is 7 and I’d like to take her on a trip but I’m nervous and worried that all my hard saving will go to waste over something I did almost 20 years ago.
    – Jaclyn
    Jan 26, 2020 at 14:58

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