If you have a Canadian criminal record, you are prevented by law from entering the United States unless you have a US waiver. For this reason, it is important to apply for a US waiver before traveling to the United States.
What Is A US Waiver?
You must apply for a US Entry Waiver to legally enter the country if you travel to the U.S. before your Canadian criminal record is destroyed or pardoned. You will essentially be admitting and providing details about your criminal record to the US Federal Government. A US Waiver is a document that permits Canadian citizens or non VWP citizens who have been convicted of two or more Summary offences, one or more a Possession of Narcotics offense, or one or more Indictable offence( s), to legally enter the United States for one year. US Waivers are good for up to 5 years and then have to be renewed. U.S. Waivers only permit an individual to visit the U.S. for the specified time period on the Waiver. The length of the waiver normally depends on the seriousness of the crimes you have committed and the period of time that has elapsed since conviction. US Waivers can be used numerous times up to the date that they expire.
About Records Of Criminal Convictions
Records of criminal convictions are held in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) computer database. The CPIC is linked to the US National Crime Information Centre (NCIC), which US Customs, Immigration, and State Police departments can access. Once a US official has checked a record, it is kept in the NCIC even after a pardon is obtained in Canada. A US entry waiver will be added to a person’s record when approved which will resolve any issues about traveling to the US.
The US Entry Waiver Application Process
There are professional US Waiver services that can be found online. These Waiver services are able to obtain a US Waiver on their clients behalf quite quickly as they have a US Waiver specialists that focus solely on Waivers. On the website of a US Waiver service, you will find an online Waiver and Pardon application form. You simply fill out the form and click the submit button. You also can call the Service for an initial consultation over the phone.
You will be required to provide specific identification as part of the application. The following are types of acceptable identification: Driver’s Licence, Birth Certificate, Passport, Canadian Citizenship Card, Certificate of Indian Status, Permanent Resident Card, Military Family ID card (MFID), Immigration Documents such as employment or study permits, and Record of Landing for Citizenship Applicant.
Appointment With US Waiver Service Agent
The agent will review the application process and answer your questions when you meet with a US Entry Waiver Service Agent. During your initial appointment, your fingerprints will be taken as a first step in the application. Fingerprints are for certification by the RCMP and the FBI. In addition to the basic application, there are a number of supporting documents that will be required to be included with your application. The better your application package is, the better chance you will have getting your Waiver granted so make sure you have all of your documentation with you.
Some of the documents that you will need include: a letter from your employer stating current occupation and length of service including the need for you to travel to the US if applicable, if self-employed, a copy of your last tax return, three letters of reference from members of the community, two recent passport photographs, and a copy of passport or driver’s licence proving nationality. You will also have to pay the application fee. Waiver service application fees are payable by cash, all major credit cards, and debit.
Time Frame For US Entry Waivers
If the application is correctly completed and all the relevant supporting reports and documents are included, it takes approximately 5 to 12 months for INS to review your application and approve or deny it. For this reason, it is wise to start the waiver application process well ahead of the date that you wish to travel to the US.
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