United States Entry Waivers
How to Enter USA After Being Denied Entry
A United States Entry Waiver is a document provided by the US Department of Homeland Security that grants entry to a previously inadmissible foreigner. If you live in Canada and have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, even if it was more than 20 years ago, you may be criminally inadmissible to the USA. Even if you have had your criminal record sealed by way of a pardon (now called a Canada record suspension), the officials working at the US border will likely still be aware of your criminal history and stop you from entering the United States. The only way to overcome criminal admissibility so you can travel from Canada to the United States is with a US Entry Waiver.
There are different USA Waiver procedures necessary based on the reason for inadmissibility. For a person that has a criminal record, no matter how long ago the crime was committed or how minor the offense was, you may not be allowed entry into the United States. The person may also have trouble traveling through United States airports. It is important to note that not all criminal convictions will cause you to be ineligible to enter the United States. However, all criminal activity has to be declared.
It is important to understand that international events, such as 9/11 have caused the United States department of homeland security to take a number of different measures in order to increase security at the borders. The most important thing that you should remember is that when you are traveling to the United States if you have a criminal record or if you are suspected of having any type of criminal record, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security each have access to the Canadian criminal databases including APIS and CPIC. Once a border patrol agent enters your name into the database your criminal record is going to show up with an EPS number attached. This number will prevent you from entering the United States.
A person is found to be inadmissible for one of the above reasons may apply for a Waiver on form I-601. In the case of prostitution an applicant has to establish that the only reason that they are inadmissible is because of participating in prostitution, including procuring others for prostitution or receiving proceeds from prostitution, but that they are rehabilitated and that being admitted to the country will not be contrary to the national safety, welfare, or security of the U.S.
In other cases, a person must show that at least 15 years have passed since the event or activity that caused them to be inadmissible and that they have been rehabilitated and that being admitted to the United States will not be contrary to the national safety, welfare, or security of the country. Many Canadians are searching on Google "can you get into USA with a criminal record?" expecting a yes or no answer, when in reality it depends on the specific circumstances of a given person.
Another way for an Entry Waiver to be approved is for the applicant to prove that if they were denied admission to United States their qualifying legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen son, daughter, spouse, parent or K visa petitioner were undergo extreme hardship; or if the applicant is a self-petitioner that has been approved by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). There are special instructions that will need to be followed by self-petitioners.
In cases that involve a violent or dangerous crime, the Attorney General will not favorably promote a Waiver to consent an application to the United States or an adjustment of the current status except in extreme cases. The applicant will need to clearly demonstrate that they would suffer from extremely unusual hardship should their application not be approved.
If you are not sure whether or not a conviction or accusation will show up on your criminal record, it is better to be safe and declare the incident so that you do not run into any type of issue. A person that tries to gain entry into the country without declaring that they have been arrested in the past could result in detention at the Department of Homeland Security in the United States or other enforcement facility and could result in being permanent ineligible to enter the country. When detained in the law enforcement facility you will be forced to wait while an officer for Customs and Border protection determines whether or not you will be allowed to enter.
A Canadian that has any type of criminal record will want to contact the CBP or DHS located at the port of entry well before they are planning to travel to the United States in order to determine whether or not their criminal activity makes them ineligible for entering the United States without a Waiver. If it is determined that you are not eligible for entering the United States, you may apply for a Waiver if you are eligible to do so. This involves completing an application for permission to enter the United States as a non-immigrant. The different forms and applications are discussed in more detail later.Individuals who have previously been removed or deported from the United States may apply for permission to re-enter the country. This involves completion of an application for permission to reapply for admission into the United States after removal or deportation. It is form I-212. Canadians who have been convicted of driving under the influence or any other type of alcohol related offense will need to take a copy of their conviction with them to the border. This will need to be shown to the Customs and Border protection officer who is at the border. If the conviction simply consists of driving under the influence and there are not any other aggravating factors, there should not be a problem with traveling to the United States. However, the officials at the border will be the ones who make the final determination as to whether or not you will be allowed to enter the United States.
Applying for a Waiver
As mentioned above, applying for a USA Entry Waiver can be necessary for several reasons. If you have certain health conditions you may need a Waiver to enter the United States. However, the most common reason that a person may need a U.S. Waiver is because they have some type of criminal conviction on their record. There are several items that you will need in order to apply for a Waiver. In addition, there are several forms that you may need to fill out as well. Form I-192
Form I-192 is a form that allows inadmissible non-immigrant aliens to apply for permission to enter the United States temporarily. This form should be filed by a person that is an inadmissible non-immigrant who already has the appropriate documents in their possession. The form is also used for T and U non-immigrant status. If you are looking to be admitted to the country through the Visa Waiver Program, you should not use this form. A person that is from a VWP country that is inadmissible should apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a United States embassy.
Where to File?
An inadmissible nonimmigrant who possesses the appropriate documents will be able to file the application with the United States Customs and Border protection before the dates of their intended travel into the United States. Typically, these applications will be filed in person at a designated port of entry or at a designated preclearance office. There are some exceptions for in person filing. It is a good idea to contact the preclearance office or the port of entry where you will be processed before you submit your application.
You are required to submit fingerprints with the application. If you are filing in person you will be fingerprinted at that time. If you do not apply in person you will have to make arrangements to get the fingerprinting completed. Typically, there will not be an additional charge for this. An applicant applying for T nonimmigrant status will need to file form I-192 with USCIS at the Vermont Service Center. This is the case for applicants for U nonimmigrant status as well. If you live in Canada and need professional help applying for a US Waiver, you will want to hire a US Immigration Lawyer in Canada. It's also important that the U.S. Immigration Lawyer has extensive experience helping Canadian residents enter USA a criminal record. There are some US Immigration Attorneys in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Calgary that have never seen a US Entry Waiver application form before, so researching an experiened lawyer in crucial.
Along with the application, there may be additional information necessary to complete the application process. If you are filing the application with the CBP you will need to provide a written statement as to why you are inadmissible and why you should be admitted. For those who are inadmissible because of a health reason, you will need to describe the health condition in detail. If you are looking to enter the United States in order to receive medical treatment you will need to attach a written statement that establishes that satisfactory treatment cannot be obtained outside of the United States, that arrangements for medical treatment have been made, including when and where treatment will take place; that financial arrangements to pay for the expenses have been made, and that there is a bond available if it is required by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
For those who are filing because they are inadmissible under criminal grounds, you must include a statement with the application that is signed by you that states the following for each crime separately:
For each of your convictions you need to submit an official record as well as each of the court dispositions and any other documents that relate to the sentence, probation, parole, or pardon. You may submit an official letter from the court that states why an official record is unavailable if necessary. The records have to be provided in English or there must be an English translation included. For those who are inadmissible under any other grounds, you need to provide a statement that specifies the reason that you are inadmissible, along with the reasons why you should be granted permission to enter the U.S.
If you are filing the application with the CBP you will need to provide the following documents as well:
You must make sure that you include a current and complete address as this is how you will receive notification that your application has been accepted or denied. The filing fee for this application is $585. There is no biometric required. Fee Waiver requests are accepted in certain situations. For those who are applying through the CBP, a check or money order should be made to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The money order or check must be from a bank in the United States. This is difficult for many Canadians, and one of the top reasons why people retain the services of a qualified lawyer. If you examine all the webpages that show up for a Google search for Waivers you'll notice that many of them are not real law firms.
Some businesses are making claims such as "we are the fastest US Entry Waiver service" or "we are the most trusted US Waiver application service". No trustworthy or legitimate company would ever make such claims, since bar society rules don't allow lawyers to say such things. If a company is not a law firm, it's advisable that you do not pay them to help you apply for a United States Travel Waiver since they are not legal professionals. You wouldn't pay someone who is not an attorney to represent you in court, so why would you pay them to assist you with a legal procedure that if done incorrectly could cause you to be denied entry to the World's largest economy
If the application is filed with the CBP, the ARO makes the decision on the application. You will receive written notification of the decision at the address that you provided on the application. You should wait at least 90 days before making a status inquiry about your application. The process can take anywhere from 90 days to well over a year to be approved. For those who file the application with the USCIS, they will adjudicate your application and notify you in writing at the address that was provided on the application. The US Waiver application is available on the CBP website but is very complex and requires a large number of supporting documents. If you need to visit the United States in a hurry, emergency parole is available but be careful to only cross the border via an easy POE as some borders are known for frequently rejecting parole applicants.