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How Long Does it Really Take to Obtain a US Entry Waiver?

American Passport

If you want to travel to the USA with a criminal record, obtaining a US Entry Waiver is the only way to ensure you will not be denied, detained or arrested at the border or airport. The detailed legal process can be daunting and involves multiple phases. Further, the United States Department of Homeland Security may take several months or more to approve your application.

What Is A U.S. Waiver?
A U.S. Waiver is a legal document, issued by U.S. Customs & Border Control, which states in writing that the traveller has legal approval to cross the border via any airport or land crossing, during the term of the Waiver. Of course, you can’t just pick up a Waiver at the local store. You must complete a detailed application process and then have that application submitted to the United States.

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How long it actually takes to receive your U.S. Waiver can vary, from a few months to nearly a year. This often catches travellers off guard who make short term plans, or worse, purchase vacation tickets. But there are ways to ensure your Waiver application process completes as efficiently as possible.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in completing a U.S. Waiver application and how Pardon Applications of Canada can help.

Why the Application Process Takes Longer Than You Think
Before your application can be set up for review, and depending on your specific criminal record, Pardon Applications of Canada may need to acquire documentation relating to:
● Nationwide fingerprint results
● Biographical information
● Immigration forms (if applicable)
● Court documents detailing your criminal conviction(s)
● Financial documentation proving you can support yourself while in the USA
● Other documentation showing that you will return to Canada and not stay illegally

This is on top of the US Entry Waiver application itself.

Can I Get the Waiver Myself?
It is certainly your privilege to try, but does come with risk. Each step of the application process must be done properly, in a set order, and within a set time frame. Otherwise, you risk the application becoming invalid and forfeiting time & money invested in the process. For most applicants, it’s not worth taking those risks.

The Bottom Line Timeline
In the end, you can expect the entire U.S. Waiver process to take between 6-14 months after you first contact Pardon Applications of Canada. For those with urgent plans to visit the U.S., there are expedited options available which can help.

If you’d like to take the first step towards your US Entry Waiver application, start with a free qualification test.

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