Beitchman & Zekian Blog

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Travelling with a Record

In today’s celebrity-ridden news, it seems that Paris Hilton may be denied entry into Japan due to her plea in the Las Vegas cocaine case.  She’s apparently holed up in an airport area hotel waiting on the decision of Japanese immigration officials.  (Ed. Note: As of September 22 Japanese immigration has denied Paris entry and she’s had to post-pone her trip)

This is not anything new.  Many countries deny entry to people with criminal records regardless of how minor the charges or whether it is a conviction resulting for a plea agreement or a trial.  For example Canada will not allow someone in if they have a DUI or drug possession conviction on their records.

You should check the visa requirements of the country you are planning to visit – if you have enough time, consult an attorney in order to expunge your record (if possible) in order to try to have the conviction removed and looking into the requirements of the country your are going to visit in order to ascertain whether they require the filing of any documents, clearances, or additional immigration procedures that need to be address in order to allow for your travels.  Case in point, Canada has been extremely stringent in the application of their immigration requirements as of late – people have been turned away at the border for blemishes on their record which are over 10 years old (some convictions as old as from the 60s!).

Obviously there is no guarantee that a judge will expunge your record in time for your trip, if at all, or that the foreign country will process any filings or requests to be allowed to visit, but is worth the effort to try as the alternative is spending part of your vacation at the airport hotel and then going home.

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