Obtaining a US Waiver is needed for some travelers to enter the United States. Non-US citizens and permanent residents are required to apply for a visa to enter the country, regardless of the nature of their visit. However, the Visa Waiver Program provides an option for eligible travelers to enter the US for certain purposes, such as tourism or business, without a visa. Nevertheless, if you have a record of illegal presence, such as being detained unlawfully, contracting dangerous infectious diseases, being expelled from the US, or overstaying a visa under the Visa Waiver Program, you must obtain a US waiver of inadmissibility. Failure to obtain a waiver could result in being denied entry to the United States, which can have serious consequences for your travel plans and future entry to the country. Therefore, if you have a history of illegal presence, it’s important to consult with a legal professional to determine if you’re eligible for a US waiver and how to apply for one.
Who Needs a US Waiver To Enter The United States?
The Department of Homeland Security Visa Waiver Program facilitates citizens of 40 countries to visit the United States for up to 90 days for business or vacation without obtaining a visa. The State Department manages the VWP to let visitors visit their country for an equivalent amount of time for business or tourism without a permit. However, the Department of Homeland Security can legally restrict you from entering the US if you have a criminal record in Canada or are suspected of having one, which is the most crucial fact to be aware of before traveling there. You will need advance Permission to Enter US. The databases of the RCMP are accessible to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Homeland Security.
For vacation and business visits lasting 90 days or less, nationals of member countries must meet the following requirements to travel without a visa:
- Own a passport with an embedded chip (e-passport)
- Online Travel Authorization Electronic System Registration (ESTA)
The Secretary of Homeland Security may waive this VWP restriction if he determines that doing so is in the interests of American law enforcement or national security. Only on an individualized level will these waivers be granted. Generally articulating, the following traveler types may qualify for a disclaimer:
Those who have traveled on official business to Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen on behalf of supranational or regional organizations;
Anyone who has visited Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen on a humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) business; and
People who traveled with a journalist with the intent of covering a story in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen.
Following the expiration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015, anyone who traveled to Iran for genuinely relevant commercial objectives; and
People who have traveled to Iraq on official business.
Traveling Under the VWP: Highlights and Drawbacks
The Visa Waiver Program has several advantages. You won’t be required to submit a visa application, which involves a lot of time, work, and paperwork. You can get authorized by the VWP to book your journey to the US with minimum computer work. If you are traveling for business and need to be in the US as quickly as possible, you may accomplish it with the VWP because you will also skip the lengthy processing times.
You can even go to Canada, Mexico, and other adjacent islands while your VWP is still in effect if you enter the United States with one. In addition, you won’t encounter any issues if you re-enter the country while the VWP is still in effect. With other visas, you are unable to do so.
Alternatives to US Waivers for Travelers with Criminal Records
For travelers with criminal records, obtaining a US Waiver can be a time-consuming and costly process. However, there may be alternatives to a US Waiver that can allow entry into the United States without the need for a waiver. One option is to seek a pardon or expungement of the criminal record, which can help remove the inadmissibility barrier and allow entry into the United States without the need for a US Waiver. To obtain a pardon or expungement, the individual must meet certain eligibility requirements and complete a formal application process. Another alternative is to apply for a non-immigrant visa, which allows temporary entry into the United States for a specific purpose, such as tourism, business, or education. It is important to seek guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer to explore all available options for entering the United States with a criminal record, as obtaining a pardon or expungement does not guarantee entry into the United States and US immigration officials have broad discretion in determining admissibility.
US Waivers for Canadian Citizens: What You Need to Know
Canadian citizens who have a criminal record or who have been previously deported from the United States may require a US Waiver to enter the country. A US Waiver is a document that allows individuals who are deemed inadmissible by US immigration officials to enter the United States for a specific period. The inadmissibility criteria may include a criminal record, a history of immigration violations, or health-related issues.
To obtain a US Waiver, Canadian citizens must follow a specific application process that can be complex. The process involves completing an application form, providing fingerprints, and submitting a detailed explanation of the criminal record or immigration violation. Applicants must also provide character references, employment history, and travel plans to the United States. It is advisable to seek assistance from a professional US Waiver application service or an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure that all necessary documents are provided, and the application is completed accurately and on time.
Once approved, a US Waiver is typically valid for a period of five years, after which it must be renewed. The cost of a US Waiver can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the services provided by the application service. Applicants can expect to pay several hundred dollars for the application fee, in addition to any legal fees or other expenses associated with the application process. It is important for Canadian citizens who require a US Waiver to enter the United States to plan ahead and apply well in advance of any planned travel. The processing time for a US Waiver application can be lengthy, and it is important to allow ample time for the application to be processed before any planned travel to the United States.
What happens if you are not granted a visa waiver?
If you’re not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program or your ESTA application was rejected, you still have another option to enter the United States: apply for a standard US visa, such as the B1/B2 visa. However, if you’re denied entry even with a visa, you may need to obtain a US waiver of inadmissibility. Keep in mind that if you’re traveling on a non-VWP-certified carrier, such as a private aircraft or ship, you may not be eligible for a Visa Waiver. If you’re unsure about what to do next or how to proceed, contact Pardon Applications of Canada through their website or schedule a call with them. Remember, for some travelers, a US Waiver is Needed For Some Travelers to enter the United States, and it’s important to understand your options and eligibility before making travel plans.