How Do I Apply for a U.S. Entry Waiver?
Those who have a criminal record often mistakenly assume that because they were previously issued a Canadian pardon (record suspension) or because they were able to enter the US successfully in the past that they’ll simply be waived through the U.S. border – no questions asked. That is definitely not the case!
While getting a pardon is an important rehabilitation step for anyone with a criminal record, the record suspension itself doesn’t guarantee freedom of travel to the US. One might be cleared of their Canadian record for Canadian law-enforcement purposes, but for U.S. entry purposes, a record suspension is irrelevant.
If the US authorities already know about your criminal record, you will need to apply for a US entry waiver. A waiver will override the restrictions imposed on you due to your criminal record and allow you entry to the US. The waiver is issued by the Department of Homeland security, a higher authority than a border guard, so there should be no risk of being refused entry once the waiver is attained.
Keep in mind that waiver applications take a considerable amount of time to complete, so you want to get started early. You will have to request documents from the Canadian government, and complete form I-601. The overall cost is $585.00 US per application (regardless of the decision on the application) and takes up to a year to process.
Your US waiver application package must include the following:
- Each application, regardless of the grounds of inadmissibility, must be accompanied by a copy of an official police record or evidence that no record exists. Canadians can obtain verification of their criminal record or evidence of a lack thereof from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
- Additionally, you should submit any evidence or explanation of your reform or rehabilitation such as counseling or rehabilitation programs completed, current employment, marital status, community service etc., or any other information you wish to be considered and that you believe strengthens your request.
- Complete court records regarding any conviction or charge from any country.
The final result will be a stack of papers that absolutely must be complete and in the right order. Incomplete packages will not be processed. If your file is missing a document or if you forget to fill out a form, rest assured your waiver application will be rejected and you will have wasted a lot of time and money. But if your waiver application is done properly and under the supervision of a professional service provider, then your best outcome is a government document granting you unrestricted access to the US for a period of up to five years. You can travel back and forth freely so long as the waiver is valid.
The National Pardon Centre understands that we are all human and we are all prone to mistakes from time to time. So if you happen to be one of those whose past comes tied to a criminal record, you are going to need to deal with it before getting out on the road. Don’t procrastinate, get started as early as you can and make sure you choose the right professional team to handle things for you.
For more information about National Pardon Centre and our services, contact us today. 1-866-242-2411.