US Travel and Indian Status

US Travel and Indian Status

I receive a considerable number of calls from people who have status under the Indian Act wondering about what this means in terms of US entry privileges. The simple answer is that holding a Status Card does NOT entitle you to cross the border if you are otherwise inadmissible. US Travel and Indian Status don’t necessarily mean a “free pass” the border.

I think the confusion lies in that a Status Card used to be accepted as a valid travel document (just as a driver’s license used to be all you needed to cross the border). Some Ports of Entry will still accept a Status Card but as of 2011 no exceptions will be made and you will need to present a Secure Certificate of Indian Status in order to be allowed into the US. A Secure Certificate of Indian Status replaces a passport but just as a passport would not give me the right to cross the border if I had a criminal record, a US border guard will still refuse you entry if you only present a SCIS and you have a history of criminal convictions.

That being said, the Jay Treaty of 1794 does acknowledge certain travel rights for First Peoples. Essentially, you must be able to satisfy a 50% blood quantum requirement in order to be entitled to cross the border regardless of your criminal history. You should present an official letter from your First Nation or Band or Tribe detailing your ancestry so that the admitting customs officer can determine that you have at least 50% indigenous blood. If you can provide that letter, then you should be able to travel across the border without any trouble, even if you have a serious criminal record. If you cannot obtain such a letter (or if you have less than 50% indigenous blood) then you have no choice but to apply for an Entry Waiver if you wish to cross the border.

Please feel free to contact me personally if you have specific questions about your case.

About Birgit Granberg

125 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    I have a criminal record and would like to travel as a status Indian can I travel to certain places regardless?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    No, a Status Card is NOT enough to get you across the US border if you have criminal convictions. You need to obtain a letter from your Band showing that you satisfy the 50% blood quantum requirment that the US imposes. Feel free to call or email me if you would like to further discuss your case!

    Birgit

  • Adam says:

    Mr. Davidson

    I am currently an Indian status card holder and want to live and work in the United States. I was over in the U.S for the last 5 years on a student visa. I believe I fall into the 25% blood quntam range. Is there any special exceptions or is there anything I can do to live in the United States being 25% Indian? Any information would be greatl appreciated.

  • Hi Adam,

    Do you have a criminal record? If so, you will probably need to apply for an entry waiver. I can help you with that. If you do not have a record, then I suggest you consult an immigration lawyer regarding your options as your case falls outside of our area of expertise. We deal primarily with border crossing, not immigration, in our office.

    Best wishes,

    Birgit

  • Adam says:

    Thanks for responding. Any information you can give me on immigration would be greatly appreciated. I need to know if my status card will help me to reside and obtain a job in the United States. If not what are my option? I have a Bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement and want to put it to use in the U.S.

  • Hi Adam,

    Your best bet is really to speak with an immigration professional. I know waivers and inside and out but am not an immigration specialist. You may also be able to get some answers through INAC – http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

    Good Luck!

    Birgit

  • Jody says:

    SO i have a blood quantum of 100% and have a letter stating so, and i have a treaty card but not a SCIS card. Can i infact still cross the border? Even with a record?

  • Hi Jody,

    You will need either a SCIS card or a valid passport in addition to your treaty card and letter in order to cross the border if you havea record.

    Birgit

  • jody says:

    Thank you very much Brigit. That really clears a lot things up for me. I know what direction i need to take now. Thanx again.

  • Daniel says:

    I am a status Indian and would like to re-locate to the states for better jobs related in my field of work. What are the steps of going through this in the state of California?

  • Hi Daniel,

    Unfortunately, my area of expertise is border crossing, not relocation. I would contact INAC http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp. They shoud be able to point you in the right direction.

    Good luck!

    Birgit

  • Denise says:

    I am planning on a vacation to Florida this coming August. I am in the process of obtaining my letter from my band stating in am 50% indigenous blood. If for whatever reason i cannot obtain one, is there another option for me to cross the border with a criminal record?
    I do have my certificate of indian status. With having my indian status does this not alone tell you i am 50% indigenous blood?
    I am aware that the process of obtaining a US waiver and or pardon is not only costly but also may take some time, at least 6 months. Please correct me if i’m wrong, but is a U.S. waiver better to have than a pardon? With a pardon you still may be turned down at the U.S. border.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Denise,

    If you cannot obtain the letter from your Band, then you would need to apply for the pardon or the waiver.

    Your status card is not legally enough to satisfy the blood quantum requirement because for a long time a non-indigenous woman could gain status through marriage.

    The only way to absolutely guarantee entry in the absence of the above-mentioned letter is to apply for a waiver. Many people are able to travel with a pardon (provided the US had never seen their convicitons prior to the pardon being granted) but it does not offer an absolute guarantee like the waiver does. Pardons generally take 6-12 months to complete (with our expedited service) and expedited waivers normally take at least a year. As such, your best bet for your August trip would be trying to get that letter!

    If you would like to start a pardon or a waiver, please send me an email and we can get the ball rolling!

    Birgit

  • Carl Leblanc says:

    I want to go to Las Vegas in September and I have a certificate of Indian status and the band will be sending me a official letter of my blood quantum and I be applying for my passport.I have a criminal record and I will flying.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Carl,

    It sounds like you have everything in order. I suggest you arrive at the airport well in advance just in case it takes a while for Customs to review your documents.
    Enjoy Vegas!

    Birgit

  • Kim says:

    So if you have a criminal record and are at least 50% status with an official letter from the band proving that, a status card and a passport you not only will be able to drive across the border but fly as well? I was also wondering what makes the letter from your band official? Is there anything required on this documentation? Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Kim,

    In a nutshell; yes! As long as you have the documentation that you listed, you should be able to clear Customs at any Port of Entry (land, air, or sea).
    Please contact Customs and Border Protection directly for the specific requirements of the letter from your Band by copying and pasting this link into your browser window: https://help.cbp.gov/app/ask

    Birgit

  • Brenda says:

    I have a criminal record and have been off parole for 9 years. I am staus indian do i need to have a pardon to go to the U.S.A. ?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Brenda,

    You do not have to have a pardon to travel to the USA but you DO need a letter from your Band, First Nation, or tribe attesting that you meet the 50% blood quantum requirement. You will also need a Secure Certificate of Indian Status OR a valid Canadian passport to cross the border.

    A pardon is still a good idea though, Brenda, as it will open a lot of doors for you when it comes to your career. It sounds to me like you are eligible. Please feel free to call me if you want to discuss your options!

    Birgit

  • evange says:

    Do you have a sample letter I could use because I am not sure what it should say?

  • Hi Evange,

    Unfortunately, I do not have a template. To the best of my knowledge, the letter does not have to include your genealogy and simple statement about your blood percentage is sufficient although providing your family history certainly couldn’t hurt. The letter should be on official letterhead and signed in INK. If possible, an official stamp or seal should be included. It should state your full name and date of birth as well.

    Hope that helps!

    Birgit

  • Kim says:

    I do not have a criminal record, but I want to travel to the US with a SCIS card. Will I require any other documentation to travel across the border?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Kim,

    As mentioned above, a Secure Certificate of Indian Status, and not just a regular Status Card, replaces a passport. If you do not have a criminal record then you should be able to travel with just the SCIS.

    Birgit

  • Blaise says:

    Hi birgit,

    I have a criminal record and am interested in getting a waiver to travel to U.S. just wondering if is a waste of time and money based on my criminal record. i also have a indian status card not sure if that really helps any info would really help.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Blaise,

    You mentioned you have Status- do you meet the blood quantum requirement I outlined in the post? If so, then you do not need a waiver. If you don’t meet the requirement, then please send me an email with the details of your criminal record (approximate dates and charges) and I would be happy to give you my thoughts about whether or not they will give you a waiver!

    Birgit
    bdavidson@nationalpardon.org

  • Syannearoo says:

    Hi Birgit,

    I know this is likely redundant…but I’m sure you can appreciate how apprehensive one is about crossing the border these days.

    I leave next week for a work-related trip to California (flying) but I have a criminal record (shop lifting from 21 years ago). I do have a Certificate of Indian Status card; a valid passport and a letter from my band attesting to my blood quantum – is this enough to ensure my entry to the U.S.?

    Thank you in advance for your response (I hope it will help settle my nerves).

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Syannearoo,

    It sounds to me like you have everything you need to cross the border successfully. It is a good idea to arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight as they may still pull you in for secondary inspection.

    Bon Voyage,

    Birgit

  • Syannearoo says:

    Thanks for the information and for the well wishes.

    If I encounter any snags at the border, I’ll let you know so others can benefit from my experience.

  • Carl Leblanc says:

    Back in April I,2011, I made application requesting a Letter of Ancestry(blood quantum).The office of Indian and Northern Affairs(www.inac.gc.ca)and they advised me that the Indian Act in Canada does not recognize or define the term Blood Quantum.In Canada,entitlement to Indian status is based on descent from,or adoption by individuals who were recognized as Indians and as members of Indian Bands,rather than a person’s exact degree of Indian blood.However they can confirm the following on the Indian Ancestry through records held within the Genalogical and Reseach Unit.Is this acceptable at the US Border crossing.I have my passport and my status card and the letter from Indian Affairs which I hope is acceptable with the US border.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Carl,

    You are absolutely right: “Blood Quantum” is not a Canadian concept but, rather, an American one.

    Homeland Security is clear in stating that a person must satisfy the 50% blood quantum requirement but is rather vague in explaining exactly what documentation is required. If you have official docs from INAC showing your ancestry, then I believe that this would be sufficient (accompanied by your status card and passport). You may want to contact the Port of Entry that will be processing your entry to confirm.

    Birgit

  • Charleen says:

    I was just denied entry to the US because of a previous minor criminal record of 20 years ago. I had no idea about the whole native status thing. I have a letter and I have my status card. Now that I have been denied entry, if I go back with this documentation, will I be allowed to cross even though I was stopped before? And will they ask why I did not present this when I was stopped previously? Also, as far as I know not all provinces are making this new enhanced status card. They were rolling them out slowly and well, it’s really slow. I think only 2 provinces have been switched over.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Charleen,

    You should be allowed across as long as you have the required documentation. I suggest you call the Port of Entry that you plan on attending to see if an appointment is required.

    Birgit

  • Charleen says:

    Thanks so much Birgit. I wish I knew this info before I got on a bus to NY last night!

  • Charleen says:

    What are the rules if you are flying? Is it the same? Do they have to let you through at the airport as well?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Charleen,

    Some airports in Canada have US Preclearance facilities. This is the same as clearing customs at a land border and they enforce the same immigration laws.

    Birgit

  • Syannearoo says:

    Update: Back safe and sound from my trip and didn’t encounter a single issue. The lady at customs asked a couple perfunctory questions, took a good long look at my face and waved me through. Nonetheless, I will carry all the required documents with me each and every time I head south because I couldn’t imagine anything more embarassing than being denied entry in front of colleagues and everyone else waiting to get through. Thanks for all the help, Birgit.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Syannearoo,

    So glad to hear it went smoothly!

    Birgit

  • shayne says:

    i am status indian ,i also have a criminal convictions on both sides of the border and if u are status indian from north america they cannot stop u from entering the usa from canada,,ive done time in both places .if your status resides in canada the usa will let u in because they cannot stop u but if your status resides in the usa (meaning where your rez is )canada Does NOT HAVE TO LET U IN)they can stop u ,hold u, but eventuly they have to let u in EVEN IF YOUR A CRIMINAL <EVEN MURDER

  • vikas says:

    Hello, I am an Indian, staying in Mumbai, and I am 20 aged IT graduate. I have never gone outside India. But I want to settle myself in USA permanently and work there. Is it possible?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Shayne,

    Our agency only deals with entry into the USA (and not entry to Canada) so thank you for mentioning that the requirements may differ. Anyone seeking information on admission to Canada should consult the Canada Border Services Agency.

    I also want to be very very clear that status alone does not guarantee entry to the USA… You MUST satisfy the blood quantum requirement detailed above.

    Cheers,

    Birgit

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Vikas,

    You should consult the US Embassy or Consulate and/or a lawyer or immigration professional specializing in US immigration.

    Birgit

  • vikas says:

    thanks…..i just want to know whether it is possible or not? if it is
    possible then how much time(years) it takes. thanks for your concern..

  • Charleen says:

    ummm Vikas, we are talking about Native Indian as in aborginal people, not people from India. : )

  • vikas says:

    hey charleen thanks….but i want reply from the author…..

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Vikas,

    Charleen is right- the above post is regarding members of First Nations in North America.

    The National Pardon Centre is not an immigration firm and so unfortunately, I do not know how it might take for USCIS to process your application nor can I venture a guess regarding your chances of success. One of these websites may provide you with some helpful info (copy and paste it into your browser… I can’t create a link here for some reason):

    http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/

    http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/vgnextoid=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

    Good Luck!

    Birgit

  • Diana says:

    I have a regular status card, U.S birth certificate, dual citizenship & no criminal record! I was wondering if any of these documents would help me at the border. I traveled with these documents 2-3 years ago & had no problem before. I would like to apply for the new status card but they are rolling out very slowly in my area :(

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Diana,

    You must have either a Secure Certificate of Indian Status OR a Canadian passport OR a US passport in order to cross the border. The laws changed this year and they will no longer accept the old status cards as travel documents. I know it is possible to get a Canadian passport pretty quickly so maybe that is an option for you?

    Birgit

  • Bernice Cardinal says:

    I have been going to the usa a few times. I have a criminal offence which took place 25 years ago. I have a canadian pardon. The 1st time to the states I got a 1 year waiver. The last time i went i got a five years waiver. Each time is very expensive. I am now apply for Treaty Indian because of the new laws for treaty Bill c 43. If I get my treaty card, will I have to reapply for a waiver when my 5 years are up?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Bernice,

    If you have more than 50% indigenous blood, and if you are able to obtain a letter attesting to this from your Band or Tribe, then you will not have to apply for another waiver. Your treaty card alone will NOT allow you to cross the border.

    If you do not meet the 50% requirement, then you will have to keep applying for travel waivers.

    Good luck!

    Birgit

  • Jerrod says:

    My brother had recently renewed his status card. There was a question that said they will give his info to the border. Someone had said that they can now use this new status card as a passport as well. is Is this correct?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Jerrod,

    If your brother has received a Secure Certificate of Indian Status then it does serve to replace a passport. If it is not the secure card, then it is not a valid travel document.

    Please contact INAC for further information: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

    Birgit

  • Molly says:

    Was stopped at the us border and was told I had a conviction and would have to complete a waiver. About 38 years ago I had a small shop-lifting incident for which I had a conditional discharge. I am 50% Native Indian and have a letter from my band. I did not know the law when I was crossing pertaining to Natives being able to cross even with a record (which I don’t really have in Canada but apparently do in the US.) Now I don’t know what to do because apparently in the US, they don’t change their database and I’m afraid of being stopped again. How do I clear this so that I can travel freely? Do I have to go back to the same crossing to explain my situation? Help!

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Molly,

    If you show up at ANY border crossing with your letter then you should be allowed to cross into the USA despite the fact that you have been refused entry in the past.

    Birgit

  • Charleen says:

    I too did not know about the option of crossing with a status card and letter and was refused entry back in June. However, I just came back from a US trip and when I showed my card and letter, they noted they refused me earlier and apologized (that’s a first I’m sure!) and let me through no problem! I was also assured that whatever info they had on file would be deleted so I would not go through that again.

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Charleen,

    GREAT! Glad to hear that you had no problems and that they apologized for refusing you earlier!

    Enjoy your travels!

    Birgit

  • Jason H says:

    Can you still enter the US if you are on probation or parole? and how does the jay treaty stand up against that? I am on parole and am allowed to travel as long as it is approved. The parole officer told me that i cannot enter the US, however i thought i could via the Jay treaty. any thoughts?

  • Hi Jason,

    Did you parole officer say that you can not travel to the US in particular or just that you can not leave the country? He or she may not be familiar with the provisions of the Jay Treaty but it could also be that you are not approved for travel to the US due to a condition of your parole. You should speak with your parole officer to confirm but you should abide by any rules that he or she establishes for you!

    Birgit

  • Jason H says:

    She said i could not go to the US because of my record and parole status, however she was not aware of the JAY TREATY which allows me to live and work freely in both countries. On one hand i could just go and the US would have to let me in, however i want to do things properly as that is whats best for my family and I. If i could show proof that i can travel to the US utilizing treaty rights than she would approve it. So any information that would support this would be great.

  • Hi Jason,

    I would be happy to speak with your parole officer regarding the provisions of the Jay Treaty. Please feel free to pass on my contact information to her!

    Birgit Davidson
    403-698-8800 x 106
    bdavidson@nationalpardon.org

  • jesse says:

    if i am a canadian and just got my indian status card does this mean i have duel citizen ship and can i move to the u.s.??

  • Hi Jesse,

    You should speak with someone who specializes in immigration questions for an up-to-date answer to your question! I deal only with issues linked to criminality. I suggest you try INAC.

    Birgit

  • Jason H says:

    Ok, so i still don’t understand. Can a Canadian criminal record or parole/probation status extinguish the jay treaty right given to american indians born in canada by the US?

    yes/no

  • Hi Jason,

    A criminal conviction does NOT extinguish the rights recognized by the Jay treaty but a probation order may temporarily override them (if a person is bound by a probation order preventing them from leaving the country, for instance).

    I have not seen the provisions of the order that you are currently bound by and so am unable to answer specific questions regarding your case. I suggest you speak with your probation/ parole officer or you can ask him or her to check out the INAC website… it contains information regarding travel rights. He ro she will be in a betetr position to explain what you can and cannot given your individual circumstances.

    Birgit

  • Jason H says:

    The questions and the answers i am seeking are in general and apply to every status indian that is on parole or probation. All will have a stipulation to remain in their designated parole areas. With permission to leave their district by their parole officer…would the US deny their entry because their status would show their on some type of release? AND can the US deny their entry based on probation/parole status (even with a letter from the PO) and if so wouldn’t that be infringing on the treaty right?

  • Hi Jason,

    To begin, I am not a lawyer and suggest that you speak with one for accurate answers to your questions.

    That being said, section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (which governs admission to the USA) states: “Sec. 289. [8 U.S.C. 1359] Nothing in this title shall be construed to affect the right of American Indians born in Canada to pass the borders of the United States, but such right shall extend only to persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race.” To me, this reads that the US will not refuse you entry even if you are on parole.

    My understanding is that INAC can revoke a SCIS (just as CIC can revoke a passport) if you are bound by a court order that prevents you from leaving the country. If you do not have a valid travel document, then the US would refuse you entry.

    If you still have a valid travel document, and if you have permission from your parole officer, then I do not think there is anythign preventing you from entering the USA.

    Again, I STRONGLY suggest you speak with a lawyer as I am not qualified to give legal advice of this sort.

    Birgit

    • Peter Boehringer says:

      Although you are not a lawyer, amd can’t give people legal advice, let me just say i would like to warn those who are Native American like me who were born in Canada who have 50% blood quantum, if you are coming to the United States via the Jay treaty of 1794, certain rights to certain benefits like medicaid, food stamps, and the like are going to be hard to get because the form I-181 from the USCIS is obsolete, that was told to me by USCIS. DHS, of certain states will act like if you have all the documents like the blood quantum, birth certificate and all if someone else cares to discuss this pass on my contact info because i do need to talk to my fellow natives. I know how they treat us natives becuse i am down here right now trying to apply for food stamps and medicaid and they are denying me every time i try even though i have all the documents they have requested i get. Help.

      • fabian says:

        hi i need help well Im from ontario , it’s a reserve call BIG TROUT LAKE ONTARIO and i need help i got i my cards and the paper from the chief can that work to cross the US boarder?

        • Hi Fabian,

          As long as you can satisfy the blood quantum requirement than you should be able to travel to the USA with out any issues. To do this you must be able to present an official letter from your First Nation or Band or Tribe detailing your ancestry so that the admitting customs officer can determine that you have at least 50% indigenous blood. So if the documentation you have shows this then you should be able to travel to the USA without issues.

          Kyle

  • Amanda L. says:

    Hi i am well aware of the jay treaty i am haudenosunee status and have not had any problems crossing into the u.s however I lived there for a couple years and had a child, finished school and moved home. my daughters father is an enrolled 100% north american indian from the u.s and we have a court agreement for him to travel to canada to see his daughter. he has had a past criminal record and even came to canada and went back to the u.s no problems with his tribal card and birth certificate…now however with the assumption he could travel into canada FOR THE HOLIDAYS (with no changes or additions to his criminal record) he was refused entry.

    while we waited for hours after he traveled a good 12 hours to be with his family, only to be told it was because of his criminal background and then border patrol switched their story to him needing to provide proof of being the father and then ANOTHER excuse was that he needed immigrational temporary residence which would cost him 200$ because (they stated) he is not north american indian… should i continue the temporary residence approach?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Amanda,

    The US and Canada have different rules regarding admissbility and I want to clarify that my area of expertise is entry to the US. My understanding is that if your daughter’s father has claim to status under the Canadian Indian Act then he would be entitled to re-enter Canada but you should speak with Canada Border Services Agency and/or INAC for clarification. It may be that your daughter’s father does not have any claim under the Indian Act and that you would have to proceed with the TRP (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/faq-inadmissibility.asp)

    Birgit

  • Georgia says:

    i have a question about air travel, my husband and i want to travel to south america and he is full blooded Ojibway with a criminal record. We have traveled to Europe and never had a problem, but the flight to South America has a stop over in the states. Will he be able to take this flight without problems if we bring the recommended papers?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Georgia,

    As long as he brings the documents I mention in my post, he should have no problem landing in the US.

    Birgit

  • Charleen says:

    Hi Birgit,
    The Secure Certificate has not been rolled out in full yet and in fact they have halted the production it seems. Only a couple provinces in Canada have them and there is no informtation on when they will replace them across the rest of the country. Driving across the border has been fine as I have my status card and letter from my reserve. I’m wondering about flying. With no timeline in sight for this new secure card, if you have been denied once at a border crossing, will this cause a problem with flying?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Charleen,

    I wasn’t aware of any delays with the Secure Certificate. Thanks for letting m eknow about that.
    If you have a passport (and as long as you are sure to travel with the letter from your reserve attesting that you meet the blood quantum requirement), then you should have no trouble flying. Airport CBP officers are governed by the same rules as those at land crossings.

    Birgit

  • jj says:

    hi..my husband has a criminal record from 10 years ago..he has not received any pardons..in the summer we attempted entry into the states by land and we were let through no problem..we only showed are canadian passports…more recently we went through the same border with our kids and he was questioned about his criminal record..he told the officers that he was charged but not convicted and they let thim through..they did however say that he would need a waiver if he attempted to cross again…i was researching on how to obtain the waiver when i came across your site…my husband is a status indian…he has his treaty card and number…i read earlier in the posts that this might not be enough to get entry under the jay treaty…with that being said i asked him to contact his band to request the above mentioned letter…they seemed confused and said that they would send a letter saying he was from that reserve..i don’t think they will put anything about blood %…is there a standard form or letter that can be used…my husband is 50% …..please help..we have a trip booked for the end of the month..thanks

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi JJ,

    Unfortunately, I do not know of any form letter that can be used. The letter WILL have to attest to his bloodlines though so he may need to speak with them again and ask that they issue a second document.

    Good luck!

  • Jackie says:

    I am in the united states right now me and my family drove here and I crossed the borded showing my Indian treaty card from Canada and I do not have my passport just my Indian treaty card was wondering is it possible I can fly back to canada from the united states just want to get home quicker or do I have to drive home?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Jackie,

    The standards at land borders and at airports are the same. You are supposed to have a Secure Certificate of Indian Status of you do not have a passport if you want to be allowed to enter Canada.

    Birgit

  • Cindy says:

    Hi jason
    well im not sure but you might of answered my question before but im just not understanding it this is my question my husdand just got his papers saying he is now registred indian and has a temporary confirmation of registration document now your saying he need something eles and his passport to drive across the border i was hoping to take him a way for his 50th birthday this year but thought i had to get him a pardon and a pardon is taking 1 12 years and cost about 1300.00 is there something eles we can do

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Cindy,

    Not sure who Jason is, but in response to your post:

    Your husband needs paperwork showing he satifies the 50% blood quantum requirement, not just a temporary confirmation of registration document. He ALSO needs either a Secure Certificate of Indian Status OR a valid passport.

    The blood quantum letter is what overrides the fact that he has a criminal record but the SCIS or passport is required to travel, PERIOD (even if he didn’t have a record).

    Hope that makes sense.

    Birgit

  • Kayla says:

    Hi,
    I have planned a trip to Vegas with some friends. My band has not yet set up the equipment for the SCIS, so, I still have the CIS. Is this valid to cross the border? We are driving across the border then flying in-country (WA-NV). Will I have any trouble because I don’t have a passport?

    Kayla

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Kayla,

    You should definitely get your passport if you are unable to obtain your SCIS. The law says that you need either a passport or SCIS so I would hate to see you miss out on your trip because they wouldn’t let you cross the border! I know you can request expedited processing on a passport application. The last time I renewed mine it only took a couple of weeks!

    Birgit

  • Carolyn says:

    Can anyone tell me what the letter of blood line has to say? I would like to ask my band office for this soni can go on a trip to the states. Plus I want to make sure that I don’t get turned away at the airport. This won’t happen will it?

  • Birgit Davidson says:

    Hi Carolyn,

    The letter simply has to prove your blood lines and show that you meet the 50% blood quantum requirement. I know that some of these letters will show your parents info and basically trace your lineage. Most Band offices are familiar with this type of letter but please let me know if you have any further questions.

    As long as you have the letter, you should not get turned away at the airport.

    Birgit

  • Kenneth N says:

    Hi Birgit.

    I had a criminal record from 1982 & was granted a pardon in 1993. In 1991, my family and I were turned away at the border and my truck taken ( I did have to jump through hoops & red tape and US court, but paid the fines/fees and got it back). Haven’t been to the US since.

    My question is: am I able to travel into the US now that I have my “Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document”( my SCIS is still being processed) and no criminal record?

    Thanks, Ken

    • Hi Kenneth,

      I do not believe that the SCIS or Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document is enough to gain access to the USA. Just proving you have Native status is insufficient. You need to satify the 50% blood quantium requirement.

      Kyle

  • ashley says:

    Hi.
    I havent recieved my status card yet. Can i present a letter from my band and my government ID at the border to cross to the US?

  • Belinda says:

    Hello,
    I have passport + statues card on this day.
    I have been going back & forth to Washington past 4 years now
    & just couple days ago a border gaurd took me in office check are truck out
    then came back & told me cause of my almost 25 year old drug charge
    that he would flag my name & that this the last time i,m allowed here in usa unless i produce my Blood quantum letter from my band, I have my letter now,
    What do i do next? i have 100% native blood in my veins & I Love going to us plz let me know thanks have a great day!!

  • Robert says:

    What a NEXUS card? Im not sure if you have information regarding this, but would getting a NEXUS card be satisfactory with a criminal record. Provided that you gave them all the documents that you said. Just wondering.

  • Keri says:

    Hi Robert,

    A nexus card is designed to fast track the processing time through customs. It is not however granted to individuals who possess a criminal record. Individuals with a criminal record are (depending on the conviction) required a United States Entry Waiver to legally cross the border.

    Keri

  • Sierra says:

    I am going the the us for just one day, what do i need in order to cross the boarder if i don’t have a passport

    • Hi Sierra,

      You cannot cross the border without a passport. If you have a criminal record on top of not having a passport I suggest you call me to discuss before making any travel plans let alone attempting to cross the border.

      Kind regards,

      Michael
      514.842.2411 x 227

  • tom says:

    I agree with Michael. Be very careful when you cross the border and make sure you are ‘clean’. I have heard sometimes even if you don’t have a record, they give you a hard time. Once the put your name on their system as suspicious, it is very hard to remove it…

  • Michelle says:

    A friends daughter wanted to travel with me to another province but we need to cross the border for about 1 hour to get to the other Canadian border. Now she doesn’t have a birth certificate but has a status cars and a health card. Is she able to travel with me without a BC or would it be a hassle with just a status card letter of permission and health card?

    Please email me as I don’t know if infer a notification to my answer. Thnx

  • serenity says:

    iam canadain living in canada my partner is american living usa my partner is native aamerican50% i have been looking ways for her reside canada with me being native american from usa canada we have jay treaty is there anything for native american live in usa want live canada..also my grandmother born in usa is there way iam able apply for usa citzship any advice would help us thankyou

  • Brittany says:

    Hello, my boyfriend has a criminal record for assault causing bodily harm, but has his passport, and has a status card from INAC stating that he is aboriginal. We have already flown to Mexico before and have had no problems but we are planning on driving across the border this time. Is this enough documentation? He also is darker and looks aboriginal if that helps as I read on another site that they generally don’t question the 50% if you look of aboriginal ancestry.

    • Hi Brittany,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. As for your quesiton I would not recommend making any assumptions at all when crossing the border. The Native status may or may not suffice. The best way to deal with this would be to get a pardon done and ensure that nothing is visible to the border guards when crossing. Otherwise you may find he ends up needing a US waiver and they get very expensive.

      Kind regards,

      Michael

  • Janny says:

    Can a person cross border w indictable offence with having letter fr band and scis if approved into usa only or other countries like mexico or jamaica

    • Hi Janny,

      I am afraid not. You will need a waiver to cross the border legally. If you would like to apply for one let me know and we would be happy to help you.

      Kind regards,

      Michael

  • Indigenous Sherry says:

    I am wondering about a Canadian status indian with %100 blood quantum, with a US Charge, are the rules different for charges that were convicted in the US. I served my time and came back to Canada will I be able to cross with the appropriate documentation?

    • My understanding is that you cannot be denied entry if you have official native status. But I am not an expert per se on matters of this sort so it might be worth checking with the Department of Homeland Security.

      Kind regards,

      Michael

  • orand says:

    hi,iam a truck driver ,I would like to know if I can cross the us border with just my status card, while hauling grain into the states this will be happening 2 or 3 times a week or do I need a passport ..

    • Most likely you need your passport but I’m not 100% sure as far as how it applies to someone with a status card. The smart move here would be to err on the side of caution and avoid interruptions in your drive. Getting a passport is a relatively simple matter. You can get the forms online.

      Kind regards,
      Michael

  • Kurt says:

    Hi im status first nation and would like to cross the border i am 50% blood quantum but i would like more help on getting across the border…?

  • Kurt says:

    I have a criminal record for mischief and assualt nothing too serious but a criminal record nometheless.. i do fit the 50% blood quantum but would like more help to cross the border…?

    • Hi Kurt,

      Have you been stopped at the border yet? If not I would suggest getting a pardon regardless of your Native status. If you like feel free to give me a call and we can go over everything in detail. The border is complicated.

      Kind regards,

      Michael
      514.842.2411 x 227

  • Audrey says:

    My daughter and I want to live work in the US, if I have a 50% blood quantum letters for both of us, a passport and a long form birth certificate. Do I really need a status card or certificate as well?

    Thank you,
    Audrey

  • Bryce buffalo says:

    Hi I have a DUI from when I was 18 I’m almost 22 now. I’m going to Vegas in 2 days an I’m 50% blood status I have a government status card n I have my passport been to Mexico lots since my DUI. Just wanna know if I’m going to run into troubles.

    • Hi Bryce,

      You should not have any problems if its a singel DUI. I strongly suggest you get a pardon for this however. If you are interested in pursuing it feel free to give me a call. It sounds like the perfect time to get things started.

      Michael
      514.842.2411 x 227

  • Lisa says:

    So my boyfriend and I are thinking about flying to Florida or Las Vegas from buffalo. He is a 50% First Nations Indian but he only has the status card not the scis, he has applied for it but itrobably won’t be in before we want to go. He also has a possession of marijuana charge from about 15 years ago. So should he be ok to go if he gets a letter from the band or does he need a pardon, a passport or do we need to wait for the scis. Or should I just plan a vacation alone or go with someone else

  • Reyna says:

    Hi I’m trying to find out if i can still invoke my Jay Treaty rights regarding crossing into the US. i have a criminal record, with federal charges. I have more then the 50% blood quantum. My new status card. Plus my passport. I can easily obtain my letter proving my quantum. I just wanted to know if i can cross easily ? or will there be issues?

    • Hi Reyna,

      You should be able to cross without problems. However I personally wouldn’t give it a try. Better to get your pardon done and not let the Americans know anything about it then to argue with them over treaty rights.

      Michael

  • L.D.Zafar says:

    Please offer your opinion on this. I have a close friend who is First Nations and has been in prison in NY for 25 years, and he will come before the parole board for the first time in June. He thought he would be deported if granted parole which is what he had wanted as he felt there would be programs for Native offenders in Canada that would help rehabilitate him back in to society better than the US would have but he recently found out about therapy treaty. How could this affect his parole eligibility and if granted parole would he have to stay in US even though he does not have any blood relatives just friends? Or if released would have to find his own way back into Canada if he wanted to return. If he wanted to return to Canada if granted parole could he come back in the US later on? He is worried how the Jay treaty may affect his chance at Parole and could it possibly hurt or help him? Worried for a friend….Please offer your thoughts as his parole hearing is creeping up quickly. Thanx…

  • Guy says:

    Just wondering if I me and my family will be allowed to cross the border. We are possibly heading to Minneapolis for some shopping and sight seeing. We only have our status cards and birth certificates. I crossed the border in buffalo heading to New York about five years ago using only my status card. Will we be able to cross the border using only these documents?

  • Robin LP says:

    I am a Native AmericanUS citizen my mother married and we moved to Canada Frasher Vally back in the 1970′s I have family in Harrison Mills imediat family mother, sister’s to grand niece’s and nephew’s. I was turned back to the stats from Canadian coustoms because of a thirty year old theft charge under two-hundred doller’s , what is my best option in order to cross immediately my mother is 89 years old and is not healthy in and out of hospital three times last week. I studied the Jay treaty and the pardon suspention and the US Waiver but I have a car in the impound and need to get it out buy the 16′th of this month, need quick halp can I pay the Canadian Border and cross for only that day?

  • curious native says:

    Hey there I’m a Canadian citizen who is at least 51% blood quantum with a letter to prove it. SCIS card in on the way. I lived in the US though for a few years and got a conviction there. I had a green card because when I went I didn’t know about Jay treaty etc. So they deported me and I gave up my green card rather than fight to stay. When I came back I found all this out about Jay treaty and they should not have been able to depth me because of that. Soooo can i at least visit the us for vacation and conferences with SCIS and letter? Should I ask us border people first? What is their contact info? Thanks

  • Nicole says:

    Hi Birgit, I recently graduated from school in NY and now I am looking to gain residence into the US via my Indian status. I was adopted and my biological mother is 3/14 native via mic mak tribe therefore I am a little less then half native blood.
    I have been issued my status card from my tribe in Nova Scotia, Canada and I was wondering if in your opinion I still would qualify with said percentage of blood line as being eligable for status?
    Also, what would you suggest I do as a next step in working towards my US status? Who do I talk to? Where should I go? The more I research the more confusuing and I feel lost in this process so any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanks for this comment board and thanks for your help!
    Best, Nicole

    • Michael Ashby says:

      Hi Nicole,

      Birgit is no longer with the Pardon Centre. For travel purposes it sounds to me like you should be fine to cross the border. Immigration is another matter though and we are not qualified to advise you on that. I suggest an immigration consultant.

      Kind regards,

      Michael

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