Travel to and from Alaska

Last updated: 28 August 2020

Due to its unique geographical location in relation to the rest of the United States, the state of Alaska is often at the centre of many Canadian inadmissibility issues.

The inability to enter Canada legally due to criminality can pose unexpected problems for inadmissible Americans travelling to or from Alaska. This occurs most often in one of two contexts:

A cruise ship docked in Skagway, Alaska

Driving to/from Alaska through Canada

For those looking to travel by car from Alaska to the “lower 48”, or vice versa, a drive through Canada is a necessary leg of the journey. Because of this, an individual who is inadmissible to Canada and who has not taken the appropriate steps to resolve his inadmissibility will most likely have difficulty completing the trip. Many Americans believe that because they are merely passing through Canada, any past criminal charges will not be an issue at it concerns entering the country. This is unfortunately not the case and the regular rules of criminal inadmissibility apply.

Alaskan Cruises

Due to Alaska’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, Alaskan cruises are a popular alternative to the more traditional vacation destinations. Because Alaska is a part of the United States, it is unexpected that inadmissibility issues would come into play. This often results in an unpleasant surprise for those looking to embark on an Alaskan cruise.

The reason why Canadian criminal inadmissibility can pose a problem in this context is because most cruise companies with an Alaskan route include a stop in Canada. Vancouver and Victoria in province of British Columbia are the most common stops, and the duration of a stay usually ranges from a few hours to overnight, sometimes longer.

It is important to note that no matter how long an individual is in Canada as part of an Alaskan cruise, even if they don’t get off the boat, they can be determined to be criminally inadmissible. If this is found to be the case, then very often the individual is escorted off the ship and sent back to the U.S. Not only will this prevent him or her from witnessing Alaska’s majestic scenery, but it can result in uncomfortable and embarrassing situations if travel partners are unaware of any previous criminal convictions.

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