US entry waiver

A Canadian citizen or a citizen of another country who does not require a Visa to travel to the US and who has a criminal record must first apply for and obtain a US Entry Waiver prior to traveling to the United States. This entry waiver, granted by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will allow a person who is otherwise inadmissible to enter the US because of their criminal conviction, the ability to visit the US for a predetermined amount of time.

Understanding the intricacies of obtaining a US entry waiver can help you determine eligibility and give you an overview of the requirements.

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Who is ineligible to enter the US?

Although there are many reasons as to why someone can be denied entry to the United States, some of the most common reasons for inadmissibility include:

  • Having a criminal record for an offense of “moral turpitude”;
  • Having multiple criminal offenses on record;
  • Being determined as a drug abuser or addict and/or having been convicted of an offense involving drug trafficking;
  • Having committed an offense involving human trafficking;
  • Having committed a federal offense such as money laundering for example;
  • Having overstayed your period of admission to the US.

What is an offense of moral turpitude?

A conviction involving moral turpitude (CIMT) is a complex category which often will be examined not only on the basis of what the conviction was, but also of the nature and elements involved in the offense. Some offenses which fall under this category include: fraud, theft, bribery, forgery, aggravated battery, prostitution and manslaughter.

Are any offenses exempt from requiring a waiver to enter the US?

Yes. Some offenses are considered as “minor” under US immigration laws and permit an individual who has committed a petty crime, or one single misdemeanor offense to enter the US without seeking an entry permit. For example, having one single DUI, will not bar you from entering the US. However, if you have multiple DUIs or a DUI combined with any other minor offense on your record, you may be denied entry to the US and will therefore need to apply for an entry waiver before traveling.

Am I Eligible for a Waiver?

Determining your US entry waiver eligibility involves understanding the specific reasons that may make you inadmissible to the United States and whether a waiver is available for your situation. Here are considerations to help you assess your eligibility:

  • Identify your inadmissibility grounds
  • Consult the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) policy manual
  • Understand the application requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with waiver laws and processes

How do I get an entry waiver for the US?

You may apply for a US waiver of inadmissibility by presenting an application to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for review. The CBP is authorized to issue an Advance Permission to Enter to individuals who require the waiver prior to traveling. The processing of each application by the US government is a discretionary process, and it is therefore extremely important that the application be as thorough and complete as possible at the time of submission in order to avoid processing delays and ensure a successful submission.

What documents will I need to provide for this application?

Some of the information and documents that have to be submitted along with your application for a US entry waiver include:

  • A finger-print based report from the FBI;
  • A finger-print based report from the RCMP;
  • A finger-print based report of any other country that you are a citizen or resident of at the time of application;
  • Any court records from any country where you have committed an offense;
  • All court records pertaining to each offense committed along with proof that each sentence has been completed satisfactorily and that all conditions of the sentence have been met successfully;
  • A personal statement describing the nature of your intended travel to the US;
  • A personal statement describing your rehabilitation efforts since your conviction occurred.

How long does it take to get an answer from the CBP once I apply?

The usual processing time of an application for an Advance Permission to Enter the US (waiver) is between 6-12 months. However, any missing or imprecise information can prolong these delays unnecessarily.

The application process can be complex. From the gathering of the required information to the compiling of the appropriate documents for submission. Our lawyers at KLM Immigration are specialized in US entry waiver applications and have extensive experience in obtaining approvals for our clients seeking to enter the US despite a criminal conviction. For a free case evaluation and consultation, please call us today at 1(888) 603-3003. We can help!

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