US entry waiver details
We cut through the confusion and spell out everything about U.S. entry waivers you couldn’t figure out from those other websites.
With very few exceptions, if you have a criminal record then you will most likely need a US entry waiver to enter the United States.
Section 212 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) describes in excruciating, mind-numbing detail exactly who is and who isn’t allowed to enter the United States. One class of inadmissibility applies to any “alien” who has been convicted of, or even involved in, a crime involving “moral turpitude” or a controlled substance.
Also barred from entering the US without an entry waiver is anyone who’s been involved in prostitution or “commercialized vice,” and anyone who’s been convicted of two or more offences for which the aggregate sentences of confinement were five years or more, regardless of whether those convictions involved moral turpitude or not. It doesn’t matter if those multiple convictions arose from a single event or trial.
Want some light reading? The section of the INA that explains which offences or threats make one inadmissible to the US is 3,154 words long. (When your eyeballs are bleeding and you can’t even remember your middle name anymore, contact us and we’ll help you make sense of it all)
Remember: If you’re not sure if you need an entry waiver, there’s absolutely no cost to ask us. We can help you through this complicated process – and you won’t owe us a dime unless you decide to hire us to secure an entry waiver for you.
WHAT IS A “CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE”?
You can’t say the US Department of Homeland Security doesn’t have a sense of humour. The Immigration and Nationality Act, which declares anyone who’s been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude ineligible for admission to the US, doesn’t actually define what a “crime involving moral turpitude” is.
West’s Encyclopedia of American Law defines moral turpitude as “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals.” Other definitions include “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile or depraved” and acts of “baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which man owes to his fellowmen.” As you can see, moral turpitude defies a tidy definition.
In 2008, a California court case added the term “reprehensible act” to the various definitions being thrown around, but what does and what does not constitute a crime involving moral turpitude remains convoluted. Even US border officials themselves will sometimes request your court information to help them make a determination – it’s that complicated.
So if you’re still in the dark, here’s an incomplete list of convictions that will almost certainly be deemed to involve moral turpitude and make you ineligible for entry to the US without a waiver:
- Break and Enter
- Drug Offences
- False Pretences
- Indecent Acts
- Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
- Sexual Offences
- Tax Evasion
We can’t stress enough that there are other crimes that could be deemed to involve moral turpitude and therefore make you ineligible for entry without a US entry waiver.
If you’re in doubt, please contact us and we’ll help you make sense of what can be a confusing process.
IS LIBERTY WAIVERS A LAW FIRM?
No. And while we don’t claim to know every last detail of US law, we have navigated the system thousands of times with successful results. What we do know is that we can help you secure your entry waiver faster, more easily and for a lot less money than you’d pay a lawyer. In fact, we’ve never been denied a US entry waiver. And if yours happens to be our first, we’ll refund every penny of our fee. Guaranteed.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A U.S. ENTRY WAIVER?
A US entry waiver is a friendly way of referring to a “nonimmigrant waiver pursuant to INA § 212(d)(3).”
Essentially, the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which declares who is ineligible to enter the United States, also spells out who can apply for a waiver and therefore be allowed to enter the US as a visitor despite being otherwise ineligible for entry.
Still with me?
Virtually anyone who would be otherwise ineligible to enter the US, such as for a conviction of a drug offence, a crime involving moral turpitude or multiple convictions, can apply for an entry waiver. The only grounds of inadmissibility not waived are certain security-related charges related to espionage, sabotage, genocide and “Nazi persecution.”
I’VE RECEIVED A PARDON (RECORD SUSPENSION) FOR MY OFFENCE. DO I STILL NEED A WAIVER TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES?
Yes. The United States does not recognize Canadian pardons.
WHAT’S A “PETTY OFFENCE EXCEPTION”?
Petty Offence Exemption is the common name for an exemption to section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act – the document that declares who is ineligible to enter the United States without an entry waiver. While this exemption does offer a glimmer of hope to those who have only a single, minor conviction on their record, rarely does anyone qualify for the petty offence exemption.
To qualify for the petty offence exception:
- You must have committed only one crime involving moral turpitude, other than a drug-related offence, at any time. Ever.
- Your conviction must have carried a maximum possible sentence of one year or less.
- You must not have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment longer than six months.
WHAT’S INVOLVED IN APPLYING FOR A U.S. ENTRY WAIVER?
We’ve said elsewhere that, although you can apply for an entry waiver on your own, you’re unlikely to be successful anytime soon. That’s because the paperwork involved is cumbersome and our friends at the Department of Homeland Security tend to be sticklers for detail.
That’s why so many people come to us for a guaranteed US entry waiver. We take care of everything, including your:
- Personal statement, signed by you, explaining the circumstances of each arrest, conviction and sentence or fine imposed. We also know to include details such as any explanation of your rehabilitation, current employment, marital status, community service, etc. This document is vitally important, which is why we take great care to write it for you so that US Customs sees the person you are – not the person you were.
- RCMP fingerprints in order to obtain a detailed list of your convictions or a letter that indicates you no longer have a record. We’ll let you know exactly where you can get fingerprinted and what you need to do.
- A copy of your Canadian Pardon (if applicable). If you do not already have one, we’ll request a fresh copy from the Parole Board.
- Copy of your official court record from the actual court of conviction indicating plea indictment, conviction and disposition for each and every crime you’ve committed anywhere in the world. Don’t worry, this is why you’re hiring us. We’ll deal with the courts efficiently to ensure that all of the paperwork arrives quickly and is the correct documentation.
- Form I-192: Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant. Also known as the I-192 waiver, I-192 form or I-192 application, this is the first of two forms that the Department of Homeland Security requires you to complete. We’ll complete it for you and ensure that every last detail is correct and no mistakes are made.
- Form G-325A: Biographic Information. This is the second of the two forms required by the Department of Homeland Security. Again, we’ve got you covered.
- Three letters of character reference. We’ll provide you with a detailed template on how to properly and effectively prepare a character reference letter.
- A letter of employment. Just like the above, we’ll provide you with a detailed template to give to your employer. If you’re self-employed or retired, a copy of your tax return will suffice.
- Proof of citizenship. We’ll let you know the best documentation to provide.
- Drug test. Please talk to us to see if a drug test will be required in your case. If it is, we’ll guide you through it.
- Copies of any previously issued Form 1-192 decisions
Now you see why so many people ask us for help. That and the fact that if we don’t get you an entry waiver, we’ll refund every penny of our fee.
Please note that every waiver application is different, and so the list above isn’t necessarily “one size fits all.” The actual documents you’ll require will depend on your particular circumstances.
WHERE CAN U.S. WAIVER APPLICATIONS BE SUBMITTED?
US entry waiver applications are accepted at all major US ports of entry, as well as preclearance locations at Canadian international airports. Knowing which port of entry or preclearance location will give you the most efficient turnaround is part of our service!
Preclearance locations in Canada that accept US entry waiver applications:
Entry waiver applications are accepted at international airports in the following Canadian cities:
Designated US border crossings that accept waiver applications in advance of travel:
To make it easier to find a location where you can submit your application, we’ve broken the following border crossings into three broad geographic regions: east, central and west
Buffalo – Peace Bridge
Detroit Canada Tunnel
International Bridge (Sault Ste-Marie)
Niagara Falls – Rainbow Bridge
Thousand Islands Bridge (Alexandria Bay)
WHAT HAPPENS TO U.S. WAIVER APPLICATIONS ONCE THEY’RE SUBMITTED?
Once received, your US entry waiver application (Form I-192) will be forwarded to the Admissibility Review Office (ARO) in Virginia. While the ARO is able to grant or deny any waiver application, its decisions are guided by three major factors:
- The risk of harm if you are admitted
- The seriousness of your prior conviction(s)
- Your reason for wanting to enter the US.
Once the ARO processes your application you’ll receive a written response, generally within 3 to 6 months for a first-time application. If approved, you’ll be issued your waiver on a Form I-94, which will also state the period for which it’s valid. Though waivers can be issued for up to five years, your first waiver is typically only valid for one year or less.
If your waiver application is denied, you’ll receive an explanation for the denial along with information on appealing. And of course, if you went through us, we’ll refund every penny of our fee. Although we haven’t had a waiver application denied yet.
IS RENEWING MY ENTRY WAIVER A LOT EASIER THAN APPLYING FOR A NEW ONE?
You’d think it would be, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. The process for renewing an entry waiver is essentially the same as the process for applying for one in the first place. You have to start back at square one.
The good news is that we make it as quick, easy and affordable as possible to renew your US entry waiver. We keep copies of all your documentation on file so your application can be submitted much more quickly, and we only charge half price for our service.
Renewal waivers are almost always valid for multiple years, up to a maximum of five. We’ll generally begin the process of applying for a renewal waiver within a few months after you receive your initial entry waiver.
Unfortunately, permanent US entry waivers no longer exist.
When I first found out I couldn’t enter the United States because of an old criminal charge, I didn’t know what to do. I’m a business owner and being able to get into the US is crucial for me. My lawyer told me it would take up to two years and would cost more than $3000. You got it done in a matter of months for only $480.” Thank you!