My high school hockey team was invited to a championship tournament in the United States. But I have a youth criminal record – can I still go to the tournament?

Question: 
My high school hockey team was invited to a championship tournament in the United States. But I have a youth criminal record – can I still go to the tournament?
Answer: 

Maybe. You never have the unqualified right to enter another country, including the United States.

Some countries won't let you in, even for a visit, if you have a youth record.

Travelling outside of Canada is a bit different depending on if your youth record is open or closed. When your youth record is open, it's easier for other countries to find out about it.

The best thing is to not travel outside of Canada until you know your youth record is closed. There are rules about when youth records close.

Checking that your record is closed

When it comes time for your youth record to be closed, make sure the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have taken information about your youth record out of their files.

If your record is no longer in the RCMP's files, other countries shouldn't be able to get it.

If you have to travel before your record is closed

Don't try to sneak into another country. If you're caught, you won't be able to get in, then or in the future.

And don't lie if the border official asks if you have a record. If they find out that you aren't telling the truth, they can refuse to let you in just because you lied.

Things you can do

There may be things you can do before your trip if your youth record is still open. For example, you may be able to get a special permit or waiver to enter another country. But you have to apply ahead of time for this and may have to pay a fee.

You need a lawyer who deals with youth criminal justice to help you decide what to do.

Related Resource: 
Resource notes: 

For more information see: Youth records and crossing the border

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