Obtaining a US entry waiver is a long process that can be very confusing. Legal issues that take time to resolve must be dealt with on both sides of the border before a waiver can be issued. There are several common questions that Canadian citizens might have about the process that is involved in applying for a waiver.
What Documents Are Needed To Apply For The Waiver?
The exact documents that are required can vary depending on personal factors. The applicant will always need some form of official identification like a passport or a birth certificate. If the applicant was convicted of crimes in countries other than Canada or the United States, then criminal records from those countries must be submitted as well. Additionally, official Canadian court records for the crimes that were committed must be included. Finally, there are a few written declarations that might be necessary including a description of the crimes that were committed and the reason for traveling to the United States.
How Long Does The Process Take?
Part of the process involves obtaining criminal court records from various sources including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Ottawa. Applications must then be reviewed by the United States Customs and Border Protection agency. This normally means the application process will take a minimum of nine months. Factors such as exceptionally complex or incomplete applications as well as the backlog at different agencies in both countries could mean that the process will take as long as two years.
Does The Waiver Expire?
A US waiver is not permanent and does expire. The waiver can be granted for periods of one year, two years or five years. All first time applicants and individuals who have performed certain types of criminal offenses are only issued one year waivers. The actual length of the waiver is determined by officials who will look at the type of crimes that have been committed and the length of time that has transpired since the last incident.
Is There A Chance That The Waiver Will Be Denied?
There is a chance that any US waiver will be denied. One of the more common grounds for denial is participation in organized drug trafficking. The type, volume and scope of previous convictions are all considered when making the decision to approve an application. A person who is judged to have a very high likelihood of committing another crime while in Canada or the United States will have a very low chance of approval without other mitigating factors. It is possible to wait a few years between applications if one is denied. Maintaining a clean criminal record for a certain period of time will increase the chances for approval.
Do I Still Need A Waiver If I Have A Pardon?
If a person has received a Canadian pardon for a crime, then they do still need to acquire a US waiver in order to cross into the United States. Border agents will be able to view convictions when checking individual information at the border. Details are not always shown. This means that it is necessary to acquire a US entry waiver even if a Canadian pardon has been issues.