US entry waiver: important facts to know

What is a US entry waiver?

A document granted by USCBP that allows entry to a non-immigrant under section 212(d)(3)(A)(ii) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is referred to as a US entry waiver. Anyone convicted of a drug offence, a crime involving moral turpitude or has multiple convictions for which the combined sentences to confinement exceeded five years, can apply for an entry waiver.

Will my criminal record prevent me from entering the US?

Depending on the type of charges, you might be barred from entering the United States, including stopovers at airports and passage through U.S waters.

Get your US entry waiver approved, fast!

How long will a US entry waiver take to be approved?

You will receive your US entry waiver within several weeks of applying and, most likely, will be approved for the maximum five-year term.

What criteria does the ARO consider when reviewing an application?

Your application is evaluated on:

  • your risk level

  • severity of your crime(s)

  • reason for entry

What documentation is required for a US entry waiver?

The requirements vary depending on the applicant. Documents can include:

  • Personally written statement
    As part of our service, we prepare your statement so that the US sees the person you are – not the person you were.

  • RCMP fingerprint search results

  • Canadian pardon

  • Court information

  • Form I-192

  • Reference letters

  • Previously issued waiver(s)

  • Proof of citizenship

We prepare your documents and file your application. The result? You save yourself stress, and you’re able to cross the border much sooner.

How soon after my conviction can I apply?

Unlike a pardon application, there is no waiting period before you are eligible to apply, but enough time must pass to allow for reformation and rehabilitation. The severity of your past offence(s) will be a determining factor.

If I received my Canadian pardon, do I still need to apply for a US waiver?

Yes. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not recognize a Canadian pardon. If you try to enter the US after you have been told you are inadmissible, you risk being banned or deported.

What is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT)?

Moral turpitude is a complex legal concept that has no precise definition.

The INA declares who is inadmissible to enter the United States, but does not specify the lengthy list of offences that involve moral turpitude.

Common crimes that can make you inadmissible for entry to the USA include:

  • Controlled substance violations

  • False Pretenses

  • Fraud

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

  • Theft

Can I qualify for a petty offence exception?

If you only have one - non drug related - conviction that carries a maximum possible sentence of one year or less, for which you were not imprisoned for longer than six months, you would qualify.

What happens after my application is filed?

After we file your application, you will be required to visit a designated port of entry to get fingerprinted and photographed.

Is an approved US waiver permanent?

US entry waivers are granted by the Admissibility Review Office (ARO) for a maximum period of five years. Permanent waivers are no longer issued; however, it's possible that the ARO may determine the nature of your criminal past does not require a US entry waiver. In this case, you will be notified of such with what is referred to as a September letter.

Is renewing my US entry waiver easier than applying for a new one?

The process for renewing a waiver is exactly the same as applying for a new one. It’s just quicker because we can keep your documentation on file.

We begin the process of applying for a renewal waiver a few months before your current one expires.

How much does a US entry waiver cost?

Our clients can expect to pay an average fee of $750 for us to prepare, file and monitor the status of their application.

Additional disbursements include:

  • USCBP filing fee: US$585

  • RCMP fingerprinting: approximately $75

Get Application

A criminal record can affect your job, volunteering, education and foreign travel.


File destruction in Canada: what you should know before you enter the United States

Get Application

A criminal record can affect your job, volunteering, education and foreign travel.


If you’ve ever been arrested and charged with a crime the police have your information on file - even if the charges were stayed, withdrawn, dismissed or discharged. The same is true if you entered into a peace bond or diversion program.

You now have a non-conviction criminal record that you’ll need to destroy.

The file destruction process

We contact the arresting police service and submit a file destruction request on your behalf. After the arresting police approve the request, they contact the RCMP Identification Services and request the destruction of the non-conviction information.

Exactly what files and information get destroyed?

All identification documents, including those, submitted to the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records are destroyed.

Your criminal record history that was entered into the CPIC database held at the RCMP Repository is deleted and, most importantly, your FPS number is canceled.

What’s an FPS number and why is it so important?

FPS stands for Fingerprint Section number and is a unique number assigned to an individual that has been fingerprinted. FPS numbers are shared with the United States and are accessible by US Customs and Border Protection. As part of our file destruction request we ensure the arresting police service cancels your FPS number.

Is there a waiting period before I can apply to have my file destroyed?

Yes, general time frames include:

  • stay of proceedings: 1 year
  • peace bond: after the expiration
  • withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted: 1-6 months

Each police service sets its own guidelines about when you can apply. We will provide specific details surrounding your file destruction timeline and eligibility.

Does the RCMP automatically remove absolute and conditional charges?

Yes, absolute and conditional charges are automatically removed one and three years, respectively, after being sentenced. However, the local police have your fingerprints and photos on file, which you can request be destroyed.

Will I have to get fingerprinted for a file destruction?

No, RCMP fingerprints are not required. If you’re told fingerprints are required as part of the process contact us, and we’ll submit your request immediately.

Info Icon

Contact Us

We have been helping Canadians since 2007.

If you would like to start your application or have any questions, please call:



You can also send us a text message, any time to:

(604) 789-3535

Info Icon