Applying for a US entry waiver is a time consuming and complicated process. This is why professionals exist to provide fast waiver preparation services. However, this does not mean that you cannot complete a waiver application on your own, although certain steps do require a third party.
If you are looking for a professional company to handle your case please be careful who you trust. Check the Better Business Bureau as a starting point to verify the credibility of the company you want to engage.
If you are preparing the documents alone this step by step guide will point you in the right direction and make applying for a US entry waiver easier for you.
Step 1: Determining if you are allowed into the United States?
Knowing how to apply for a US entry waiver begins by determining whether or not you are legally admissible to the United States. If you are legally admissible you do not need to make the application at all. If you are not legally admissible then a waiver application is required to legally cross the border.
You will need to apply for a US entry waiver if any of the following apply to you:
- You have been refused entry at the border
- You have overstayed your welcome in the US (over 6 months in the country without status)
- You have worked illegally in the United States
- You have been convicted/charged with a criminal offence in Canada and/or the United States
- You have been caught at the border with fraudulent documentation, narcotics or other contraban
- You have been deported from the United States
Above are the most common reasons for requiring a US entry waiver. However, most people we speak to at our offices never realize they need a US entry waiver until a border guard informs them that they are not allowed into the country. If you have been told you require a waiver, attempting to travel without one is taking a risk as you will now be red-flagged at the border. We have heard too many stories about travel plans being cut very short to if you think you require a US waiver it is best to settle things in advance.
Step 2: Fingerprinting
The second step in applying for a US entry waiver is acquiring a copy of your certified criminal record (or confirmation that no record exists) from the RCMP. This is done through fingerprinting certified specifically for a US entry waiver application, and can be completed at your local police station or accredited third party fingerprinting agency.
Note: The National Pardon Centre was one of the first companies in Canada to receive a RCMP accreditation to provide this service. We maintain both live scan and card scan electronic fingerprinting capabilities at our Montreal and Toronto offices.
Any company without this accreditation should be thoroughly researched to determine legitimacy.
If you have a criminal record associated with your fingerprints the results will take 2-4 months to obtain.
Step 3: Supporting Documentation
While you are waiting for the results of your fingerprinting, you can begin collecting the supporting documentation required by the Department of Homeland Security. The following documents should be provided with your application: Proof of Canadian citizenship (a valid passport is required when applying for a US entry waiver)
- Letters of reference
- Confirmation of employment and income
- Personal statement re: purpose of application, explanation of conviction(s) or reason for inadmissibility, ties to Canada, and positive life changes made
- Proof of counselling/rehabilitation, drug test results (if applicable)
4: Obtaining Your Court Records
When you have received your RCMP report you must order certified court documents for the charges on your record. Your criminal record will list your conviction(s), date(s), and court location(s) which you can use to order these documents.
Don’t forget to include a copy of your RCMP report and confirm any applicable court processing fees before submitting your request. Please keep in mind that response times vary dramatically across the country.
When you make a request for court records it can take anywhere from several days to almost a year to receive the documentation.
However most courts can be expected to return these document within a few months provided everything is done correctly.
Step 5: Application Forms
Much like a pardon application the American government has specific immigration forms that must be completed when applying for a US entry waiver.
These forms will contain information about your employment history, address history, family members and previous travel/immigration status in the United States.
Don’t forget to include the instruction pages provided with the forms.
I-192 – 2 copies required
G-325A – 4 copies required
Step 6: Submission
When applying for a US entry waiver the application must be submitted in person to an authorized port of entry (border crossing).
A list of locations can be found on the Customs and Border Protection website under ‘Filing at a Land Border Port of Entry’: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/760/~/entry-into-the-u.s.—canadian-with-criminal-record-or-overstay,-waiver
Please confirm ahead of time their hours of operation and whether or not an appointment is required. Ensure that you have your valid Canadian passport and the required submission fee of $585 USD with you.
You should also confirm accepted methods of payment prior to submitting your waiver application.
Step 7: Once you have your US Waiver
It is important to know how to apply for a US entry waiver because the time process is very time consuming. Therefore you do not want to submit an incorrect application. You will only waste a lot of time and money.
Assuming your application submitted correctly the valid us entry waiver document will be mailed directly to your home address.
A valid US entry waiver consists of two pieces of paper that you will need to carry with you during future travel. It should be presented to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the point of entry. Once you have the waiver you cannot be denied entry to the US based on the reason for your previous inadmissibility (ie. having a criminal record).
However, please keep you must abide by all American law when crossing. The waiver does not provide you with any special privileges.
Websites: Department of Homeland Security:
Customs and Border Protection: http://www.cbp.gov/
Applying for a US entry waiver – Now what?
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to apply for a US entry waiver. If you are unsure of how to proceed from here you should consider hiring a professional to handle your case. We would be happy to take care of your paperwork.
We also provide free monitoring services to our clients while they possess a valid US waiver document. When it is time to renew your application you will not have to worry because we will be the ones letting you know that it needs to be started.
We also keep fingerprints on file for our clients so that fingerprinting is not necessary for renewals. We simply rescan the fingerprints we have while you relax and let us do our job.
Questions? Just give us a call or send an email. We’re happy to help.