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US entry waiver: frequently asked questions

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.

How much does a US entry waiver cost?

The CBP filing fee is US$585. You will also be responsible for RCMP fingerprinting, between CDN$50 - $100.

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 does the ARO consider when reviewing an application?

The decision of the Admissibility Review Office is based on three main criteria:

  • risk of harm if admitted into the US

  • seriousness of prior charge(s)

  • reasons for wanting admission into the US

After your application is processed, you will receive a written decision from US Customs and Border Protection.

What documentation is required for a US entry waiver?

Homeland Security has particular requirements for US entry waiver applications. Documents can include:

  • Personal statement
    This should include information about your current employment, marital status, community service and criminal charge(s). This document is important. As part of our service, we compose your statement so that the US sees the person you are – not the person you were.

  • RCMP criminal record search results

  • Canadian pardon

  • Court information

  • Reference letter(s)

  • Form I-192

  • 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 a pardon for my offence(s), do I still need a 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 possibly 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:

  • Break and Enter

  • Controlled substance violations

  • False Pretenses

  • Fraud

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

  • Theft

What is a petty offence exception?

An exemption to section 212 of the INA is called a “petty offence exception”. While this does offer a glimmer of hope to those who only have a single, minor conviction on their record, very rarely does anyone qualify.

To qualify for the petty offence exception:

  • You must have committed only one crime involving moral turpitude, other than a drug-related offence, at any time.

  • Your conviction must have carried a maximum possible sentence of one year or less.

  • You must not have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment longer than six months.

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.

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