Canadians crossing into the US is like a pastime. Whether entering the US for a shopping trip, to visit a relative or for business, Canadians take advantage of our largest trading partner’s close proximity and huge border facilities that can accommodate millions of entries per year. However, if you are a Canadian with a criminal record or a serious medical condition, you may be refused entry to the US and be asked to apply for a US Waiver Application.
If you have a criminal record that is considered a “Crime of Moral Turpitude” or CMT, then you will need to complete an I-192 form explaining the nature of your offence, and some details about your background. You will also be asked to complete a personal statement about what exactly happened respecting your offence, its disposition and information about your profile. You will also be asked to get official criminal background checks, letters of reference and proof of citizenship. A CMT can be anything from a simple assault to a serious fraud offence. Most offences call under the CMT category.
The US Waiver process is onerous and time consuming. After all the documentation is collected, you then have to submit the application to a designated port of entry where it will then be forwarded to a special unit in the US responsible for Waiver applications. The processing time varies but generally be prepared to wait at least 6 months before you receive an answer. If you are approved, the US Waiver can be valid from up to 5 years.
If you are approved for a US Waiver, it will enable you to enter the US despite your inadmissibility. You have an obligation to present your US Waiver documentation to US Customs upon entry as well as your proof of citizenship. Generally, if you follow procedures, you should have no difficulties being admitted to the US. However, make sure you arrive early in case you are directed to secondary inspection for additional questioning. Finally, note that all Waivers have an expiry date. This means that your Waiver will enable you to enter the US only during the duration of its validity. Make sure you therefore apply for a renewal of your Waiver on time, say, at least 6 months before your current waiver expires so that your new one will be issued on time.
As is the case with all Visa applications, you can certainly “do it your self”. The I-192 application kit contains instructions on what to do, what documentation is needed etc. However, it is not recommended to go it alone. Getting a refusal for incomplete documentation or failure to present your case properly can result in a refusal and the need to appeal it–which is not a road you want to go down. Waiver appeals, generally, are really difficult to win. And once you are refused, that decision will remain on your immigration record permanently.
The best bet in terms of getting help is to seek out a licensed immigration lawyer with experience in these matters. The lawyer should be able to assess your case, guide you though the process, and to prepare a compelling application package which includes a detailed, professional submission outlining why you are a good candidate for a US Waiver. Your chances of success are increased by retaining competent immigration counsel.
You can visit our US Waiver Application for Canadians page here or check out or numerous Blog pages on US Waiver cases where you will likely find helpful information. You can also call us at 1 866 929 0991 or email us at [email protected]
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