- What is a U.S. Entry Waiver?
- Why Must I Get a Waiver to Travel to the U.S.?
- How Long is My U.S Entry Waiver Valid For?
- How Often Can I Cross the Border Once I Get My Waiver?
- How Much Does it Cost to Renew My Existing Waiver?
- Does the U.S. Know About My Criminal Record?
- Are There Any Criminal Offences That Do Not Require a Waiver Before Travel to the U.S.?
- Can I Apply for a U.S. Waiver if I’m Not a Canadian Citizen?
- If I’ve Never Entered the U.S. before, Should I Get a Pardon First?
- Can I Attempt to Complete My Own U.S. Waiver Application?
- Should I Get a Lawyer to do My U.S. Waiver Application?
- How Long Will it Take to Get a U.S. Waiver?
- I’ve Crossed the U.S. Border Before with My Record. Do I Need a Waiver?
- What if I Have a Layover in the U.S. on My Way to Another Country?
What is a U.S. Entry Waiver?Back to Top
A U.S Entry Waiver (also known as a “Waiver” or ”I-192”) is a legal document issued by the Customs & Border Protection (CBP), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which awards advance permission in writing to the applicant to enter the United States for a period of time. Most Canadians & residents with a criminal record require a Waiver before entering the U.S.
Once a traveler has a valid U.S. Waiver, they are legally allowed to enter the United States an unlimited number of times via air or land throughout the term of the Waiver, regardless of their criminal record.
Why Must I Get a Waiver to Travel to the U.S.?Back to Top
It is illegal for a Canadian or resident to attempt entrance into the U.S. with most criminal records. If you risk trying to enter by land or air, and you are not a U.S citizen or do not have a valid U.S. Entry Waiver, you may be barred from entry, arrested, detained and/or face confiscation of personal property in your possession. It is a serious offence to attempt entrance into the United States illegally.
How Long is My U.S Entry Waiver Valid For?Back to Top
The length of time that your U.S. Entry Waiver is valid for is determined entirely by Customs & Border Protection, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is not uncommon for first time applicants to be granted a Waiver for 1 or 2 years, but many applicants receive a 2-5 year term immediately (5 years is the maximum). If you are granted a shorter term than 5-years, this gives the U.S. the opportunity to “test” out your conduct during your time in the United States before committing to a longer term.
Regardless of the term of your Waiver, you will be establishing a positive relationship with the U.S. by demonstrating compliant conduct while in the States. If you continue to apply for and get Waivers, without any new problems arising, subsequent Waivers will likely be granted for longer periods of time as you establish trust. Ultimately, your goal is to establish an extended, trouble-free travel history with Customs & Border Protection.
How Often Can I Cross the Border Once I Get My Waiver?Back to Top
Once you have a valid U.S. Entry Waiver document in your possession (in conjunction with your Passport), you may cross the border an unlimited number of times during the term of your Waiver.
How Much Does it Cost to Renew My Existing Waiver?Back to Top
The cost to renew your U.S. Entry Waiver is similar to acquiring your first Waiver, since the legal process of your application must be refreshed to be compliant with U.S. application standards. However, Pardon Applications of Canada does offer a renewal discount for returning applicants. Call 866-383-9744 to start your renewal at least 6-months in advance of your current Waiver expiring.
Does the U.S. Know About My Criminal Record?Back to Top
If you have ever been charged or fingerprinted in Canada related to a criminal mater, you were registered with a unique FPS#. Your name, fingerprints, charges and criminal record in Canada are all attached to your FPS# and completely accessible by the United States. Even obtaining a Pardon (record suspension) in Canada does not remove the FPS data accessible by U.S. agents — a common misconception. When you attempt to enter the United States via land (border) or air (airport), U.S. Customs & Border Officers access the same criminal database used by the RCMP in Canada.
Are There Any Criminal Offences That Do Not Require a Waiver Before Travel to the U.S.?Back to Top
One (and only one) impaired driving charge or a simple assault charge may not cause you denial when attempting to enter the U.S. Whether you are allowed entry is completely at the discretion of Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Officers at the time of your attempt to enter. CBP Officers have absolute authority to deny entry to a traveler on the basis of any charge or suspicion of your criminal record. For the vast majority of criminal records, it is necessary to apply for a U.S. Waiver application.
Can I Apply for a U.S. Waiver if I’m Not a Canadian Citizen?Back to Top
Yes. In addition to your U.S. Waiver application, however, an additional Visa application may be required.
If I’ve Never Entered the U.S. before, Should I Get a Pardon First?Back to Top
Although considered a positive, reformative step in Canada, whether you have a Pardon or not bears very little to no benefit toward your admissibility into the United States. For example, if a U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officer were to ask you if you’ve ever been criminally charged or fingerprinted, you would be obliged to answer honestly whether Pardoned or not. And that honest answer could make you inadmissible to the U.S. Additionally, no one in Canada can say with certainty the exact information available to U.S. Custom Officers when you try to cross the border. For these reasons, it is advisable to obtain a U.S. Waiver if you don’t wish to leave your admissibility to chance when seeking to cross the border.
Can I Attempt to Complete My Own U.S. Waiver Application?Back to Top
It is absolutely your privilege to try. There is no legal requirement to use an accredited processing firm for your U.S. Entry Waiver application process. But, similar to representing yourself in court, attempting your own application carries several risks. First, you need a thorough understanding of the entire U.S. Waiver application process. Each stage of the application process has strict requirements, and each one must be done in a specific order and time frame. If one or more of the requirements are not met, or not done in the right sequence, your application may be rejected or become invalid. For most Canadians, it makes sense to ensure their application is done accurately and correctly the first time. And that is precisely the objective of Pardon Applications of Canada.
Call 866-383-9744 to speak with an A+ Accredited Officer about a U.S. Waiver application.
Should I Get a Lawyer to do My U.S. Waiver Application?Back to Top
It is absolutely your option to retain a lawyer to attempt completion of your U.S. Waiver application process. However, you will likely be subject to legal fees and disbursements that are 3-4x higher than retaining Pardon Applications of Canada. In addition, lawyers do not have the same expedited application process, nor do they have a higher chance of success. They may not be specialized in U.S. Waiver applications at all. Many lawyers utilize Pardon Applications of Canada as their processing firm and then charge their clients a premium when the work is done. Working directly with Pardon Applications of Canada, you pay a lower overall fee and ensure the highest quality of your application.
How Long Will it Take to Get a U.S. Waiver?Back to Top
From making the first call to Pardon Applications of Canada, to receiving your U.S. Entry Waiver document, you can expect a total timeline of 6-12 months. There are two distinct phases of a Waiver application process which define its overall timeline.
The 1st timeline stage is to properly process your application in accordance with the specifications set out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This is the legal process that Pardon Applications of Canada assists or completes on your behalf to ensure your application meets every specification. Once completed, your Waiver application is submitted by you, in person, to a registered Homeland Security location (usually a border crossing or airport in your area) for their independent review and decision. This is the 2nd timeline stage of your application process.
There are 3 ways Pardon Applications of Canada expedites your U.S. Waiver application processing: effective management of the legal process, efficient processing of the application once the process specifications are met, and obtaining quick solutions if questions or obstacles arise. Pardon Applications of Canada is an industry leader in all three areas, which means your Waiver application is processed with the most efficiency and accuracy possible. In addition, Priority status is available for urgent applications.
I’ve Crossed the U.S. Border Before with My Record. Do I Need a Waiver?Back to Top
You have been fortunate. You may crossed the U.S. border previously when Customs & Border Protection Officers did not perform a search of your history. Sooner or later, Border Officers will do a more thorough check and scan of your passport. When they find your criminal record, you could be barred from entry, arrested on the spot, detained at the border and/or face confiscation of personal property in your possession. Further, if CBP Officers determine that you were fully aware of your inadmissibility and still attempted to cross the border, your denial could be treated more seriously.
Call 866-383-9744 to speak with an A+ Accredited Officer regarding your U.S. Waiver application.
What if I Have a Layover in the U.S. on My Way to Another Country?Back to Top
Regardless of how long you stay in the U.S., even just for a layover, you will be required to go through U.S. Customs just the same as if the U.S. was your final destination. If your criminal record is discovered, you could be barred from entry, arrested on the spot, detained at the border and/or face confiscation of personal property in your possession, whether or not the property is yours. This could mean you will not make your travel connections and your entire trip could be jeopardized.