A US Entry Waiver is a travel document required to overcome inadmissibility to the United States.
You may be inadmissible for a number of reasons that include; having a Canadian criminal record in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database, attempting to enter the US with contraband, overstaying on an approved immigration visa, among other reasons.
This application, once approved, is issued for a period of time ranging from 1- 5 years and requires you to renew in advance of expiry.
By addressing your inadmissibility and being approved for a Waiver, you will regain your freedom to travel into the US as a visitor for holidays, work-related conferences and family visits.
Attempting to enter the US with a Canadian criminal record, after overstaying on an approved immigration visa, or after being told you are not permitted to enter for a different reason will create further problems for you.
You must treat border crossing as a privilege and abide by immigration laws. Applying and waiting on approval of your US Entry Waiver will allow you to travel freely with a subsequent document to your passport, eliminating any unforeseen complications when traveling.
We have heard countless stories of travel plans being cut short due to not knowing or not acting according to the rules in place.
Contact us to discuss your particular situation.
A US Entry Waiver is a United States government application that requires several supporting documents.
As with many government applications, it is tedious and time consuming.
It is also challenging to determine where and what documents you must obtain, how to present a solid application and what the specific criteria is to ensure you have met in order to have the best possible chance of success.
There are two separate phases; collecting the required and supporting documentation and then submitting and awaiting government approval.
Processing times range from 4-10 months to collect the documents and can be extended depending on where you must obtain court documentation.When the application is ready to be submitted you can expect government decision-making to range from 4-12 months.
Promising news is coming though. The governing body that processes these applications is implementing a digital submission format that is expected to cut processing times in half.
Contact us to evaluate if now is a good time to apply.
That being said, we tend to find that the majority of people who try do it themselves eventually contact us for help.
If you’re not used to dealing with this sort of thing, the process can be tedious and confusing, to say the least.
Obtaining all of the required documentation, analyzing your application against the government’s criteria and subjective decision-making prevent people from moving forward and they tend to procrastinate instead, unfortunately.
Even once someone gets the ball rolling, reminders, follow-ups, encouragement and support are helpful when dealing with the hard stuff in life.
The United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs & Border Protection – considers anyone with a criminal record, someone who overstays on an approved visa or attempts to enter the country with contraband, inadmissible.
Their job is to protect the border from any harm or risk to their residents and this is some of the criteria they use when reviewing individuals presenting their passport or other travel documents to enter for business or pleasure.
Although your criminal offence may be very old, which would suggest you do not pose a current risk, an offence that is found on the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database most often disqualifies you from advance permission to enter the country.
In order to avoid disappointment during travel, it is recommended that you confirm you are eligible to travel freely into the US.
The easiest way to do so is to contact one of our team to discuss your situation.
A Pardon or Record Suspension is a Canadian application that removes your criminal record of conviction in Canada.
If not completed prior to traveling into the US and your record is found by US Customs & Border Protection, you may be refused entry and instructed to apply for a Waiver.
The Waiver is an additional travel document required to be presented each time you enter the US.
It is a renewal application and must remain valid upon each entry.
You may require one or both but an evaluation of your particular situation should be assessed before embarking upon the work involved.
Waivers are typically approved for 1 year upon submitting your initial application.
It should be noted that this is a renewal application as the US will evaluate any changes to your personal information during the review of each new application.
Generally, if your offences are not recent and/or nothing new turns up on a new application, you can expect the second application to be approved for a longer period of time.
The US government fee to submit your US Entry Waiver is $585USD.
This is paid to Customs & Border Protection Officers upon submitting your application.
There is a significant amount of paperwork to compile before you can submit a complete application to prove you do not pose a risk if allowed into the country.
While you are welcome to work on the application yourself, however many individuals find it challenging and time consuming and resort to using an agency to prepare the application, collect and analyze the required documents and present a strong application for you.
If working with a lawyer, you can expect to pay upwards of $5000.
If working with an agency like us, you can expect to pay between $800-$2000.
With 20 years experience, we are confident in preparing strong applications with a 96% success rate.
If your application does not appear to fare well, we will be transparent with you and offer a more realistic timeline to apply where your application will find a better chance of success.
No, but our goal is to assist you in preparing a strong application that establishes the merit of your request and the lack of risk to society if you are permitted entry.
The Department of Homeland Security takes into account a number of factors during decision-making.
These include but are not limited to:
After 20 years in the industry, we are well versed in the US government’s assessment factors for applications that stand very little chance.
Moreover, we will always be clear from the beginning in outlining your chances of success.
Generally speaking, it is illegal to enter the US with a Canadian criminal record, however, there are caveats.
At Pardon Partners, although we would always advise against attempting to enter the US prior to receiving your Pardon, life circumstances don’t always allow for this.
You may have an upcoming wedding, a funeral or important business meeting to attend.
There are situations where the Customs & Border Patrol Officers (CBP) are permitted to use their personal discretion based on you having only one summary (or misdemeanor) offence, but this does not guarantee entry.
If you must enter the US prior to your Pardon being approved, it is best to discuss your circumstances with one of our professionals to outline best case versus worst case scenarios and how to prepare yourself with your best chances of entry.
If you have found yourself in a situation where entry into the US is imperative and are looking to obtain permission urgently, there are formal steps in place to apply for this type of status.
However, this option is only offered under very specific circumstances and does not happen instantaneously.
It is recommended that you speak to one of our team members to guide you through what this process entails.
As neighbouring countries with a shared border, Canada and the U.S. have access to pertinent information to keep our borders safe.
The officials at each of the borders, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on the US side and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) on the Canadian side have access to the other other countries federal police databases.
If you have been fingerprinted for a criminal offence, even if you were not found guilty, there is a very high probability that your assigned fingerprint section number is available in the RCMP database.
Upon presenting yourself at any port of entry (land border or international airport), the CBP Officers have the ability to check the CPIC database to access your criminal record or fingerprint number.
Once this information has been obtained, it is likely you will be denied entry and instructed to obtain a US Entry Waiver for any future travel into the US.
Although cannabis has become legal in Canada and some US states, for both medical and recreational use, it is considered a controlled substance and remains illegal under federal law in the US.
As federal law prohibits importation and exportation of marijuana, crossing the international border with marijuana would rank as a very serious offence that could result in seizure, fines, arrest and will impact your admissibility.
The easy answer is: don’t travel with marijuana.
If you must for medical purposes, we recommend speaking to one of our team to discuss your situation.
Getting Started Couldn't Be Easier!
Take a minute to send us a quick form message with some basic contact information.
We’ll get in touch with you right away to set up a consultation call at a time that works for you.
Once you agree to work with us, we’ll get all of your information and get started on your application.