Do I Need a US Waiver for a Stopover?
If you have overstayed your visa, you may be eligible for a waiver, which would mean you could avoid the three or ten year bar.
Understanding US Waivers for a Stopover
If you have been denied entry to the US because of a criminal record, you need advanced permission to enter the US – in the form of a US entry waiver (sometimes called a US travel waiver, or a US waiver).
Waivers for Nonimmigrants
While a nonimmigrant is not eligible to apply for a waiver for the three or ten year bar, an individual would still be able to apply for a general waiver for most grounds of inadmissibility.
Waivers for Immigrants
The statute does provide a specific waiver for the three or ten year bar for foreign nationals who are the spouse, or son or daughter of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The waiver is not available to foreign nationals who only have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
To obtain the waiver, the foreign national must show that their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parents will suffer ‘extreme hardship’ if the foreign national is not allowed to return to the U.S. ‘Extreme hardship’ to the foreign national himself is not recognized for the purposes of the waiver.
US Waiver for a Stopover – Question
I was denied entry to the US over 5 yrs ago due to a criminal record. I now find that I have to fly to St. Maarten in August and there are no direct flights. I will therefore have a short layover in the US. Is it possible to get special permission at the point of entry? My conviction was 7 years ago. It was for theft and fraud under 5000. Please help
US Waiver for a Stopover – Answer
Even if you are just entering the US on a layover, you will require a US Waiver or Humanitarian Parole (for urgent admissions) if you are inadmissible to the US. Without knowing more details of your conviction, it is hard to determine if you are inadmissible to the US. It may be that you fall under what is known as the Petty Offense Exception in which case your conviction will not render you inadmissible to the US and you can take that flight. Otherwise you will need a US Waiver.
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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