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Waivers FAQ

1. What is a US Waiver / Criminal Waiver?

A U.S. Waiver (Criminal Waiver or
Waiver of Ineligibility) is a document that allows Canadian citizens or non VWP citizens who have been convicted of 2 or more Summary offenses, 1 or more a Possession of Narcotics offense, or 1 or more Indictable offense(s), to legally enter the United States for 1 to 5 years. US Waivers have to be renewed and only allow a person to visit the U.S. For a specific period of time (up to 6 months). However, they can be used multiple times right up until they expire. If you are planning to stay in the U.S. For longer than 3 months there may be additional forms that must be completed, notarized, and attached to your application. Note: I-192 US Waivers do not permit a person to be paid to work in the United States.

2. When can I apply for a US Waiver?

You can apply for a Waiver at any time as there is no waiting period. However, Homeland Security normally likes to see a 5-year or more crime free history since your last offense, and after any jail time has been served. However, for emergencies you can apply for a Port Parole Permit. (For more information see #9 and #13) 

3. Can a U.S. Waiver application be denied?

Yes, if you are deemed to be of a high risk to re-offend, your application will most likely be denied. High risk offenders are usually described as people with multiple Indictable drug trafficking charges, sex related offenses, people with more than 7 Summary convictions or 3 or more Indictable convictions within the last 10 years (not including, Fail to Appear, Fail to Comply, Mischief, Illegal Possession of Firearm, 
Possession of a Restricted Weapon, Reckless Driving, General Assault (Sec 266) and some other "misdemeanor" offenses), people with 1 or more Indictable convictions within the last 5-years, or an Indictable drug trafficking conviction within the last 10 years, and people who have over-stayed in the U.S. Illegally within the last 5 years, and who are single and do not own property in Canada. If your Waiver application is denied we will assist you in filing an appeal within the 30-day time-limit.

4. How much is a Waiver Renewal and how can I get started?

Waiver Renewals for previous clients are $624.75 plus a $84.00 Biometric Fingerprinting fee if we do the fingerprints. We waive all Document Certification Fees for all Court, Police, Pardoned Records and Pardon Certificates. To begin please complete our Secure Waiver Renewal Application form.

5. Do you assist with FAST Cards and Work Visas?

We endeavor to provide up-to-date information regarding the requirements and procedures to obtain these documents, especially when a U.S. Waiver or Canada Pardon is one of the requirements, and is being processed through our office.

6. If I have been granted a Standard or Basic Canada Pardon, do I still need a US Waiver?

Unfortunately, U.S. Customs does not recognize a Canada Pardon / Record Suspension if they become aware of it. If you have never been denied entry, deported or interviewed by U.S. Customs, and U.S. Customs has never accessed your criminal record via CPIC or APIS prior to you being granted a Canada Pardon, and your criminal record was properly sealed, then U.S. Customs will no longer be able to access it on CPIC or APIS. However, U.S. Customs officials have several ways of finding out if you have ever committed a criminal offense. If you are not properly prepared to answer their wide assortment of questions you could be denied entry, face property seizures, short-term imprisonment, and be banned from entering for 5 to 10 years. Our Canada Pardon / Record Suspension service removes your criminal record from CPIC and APIS and it includes all the information you need to know to navigate U.S. Customs. Note: If you were at one time involved or suspected of international gang related activities, or you have multiple sexual assault charges, a copy of your record could have been sent to the FBI and/or placed on Interpol, and/or put on PIP. Such records are not destroyed through the Pardon process, and are accessible by US Customs. Also, if you had a Possession of Narcotic for the purpose of Trafficking, your Record will most likely have been put on the Dangerous Drugs List in Ottawa, which US Customs has access to. 

7. How much does a U.S. Waiver cost?

We charge $695.00 plus GST ($34.75) = $729.75. Price includes our Administration Fee (Includes Free Priority Service, Application and Document Processing, Application Tracking, Agency Follow-up Phone Calls, ARO Email Update Requests, Email Updates, Express Courier Fees, Return Postage, Faxes, Photocopies, Document Printing, Document Certification Fees, Created and Emailed Draft Letters, Personal Letter Editing). Note: There will be a $84.00 biometric fingerprinting fee charged by Alberta Fingerprinting Services, which will speed up the processing of your Certified Record. If you live outside the Edmonton area we will arrange for you to be fingerprinted at the nearest biometric fingerprinting office or your local police station. There you will have to pay between $55.00 and $85.00, including the $35.00 electronic submission feeNote: When you submit your application to US Customs you will be required to pay a $585.00 (USD) United States Department of State filing fee (as of November 23rd, 2010). Note: If you were convicted of multiple Summary offenses or 1 Indictable offense including illegal drug possession, trafficking narcotics, sexual assault, assault CBH, theft under, theft over, fraud under, fraud over, B&E, B E & theft, B E with Intent, or any other crimes involving moral turpitude, you may also be required to submit Certified Court Records for each conviction at a cost of $84.00 per Court Record Search, regardless of how long ago the offense was. In some rare cases per-page Court Transcript Fees may also apply, which are usually $2.50 per page. Note: If you have a Sexual Assault conviction there will be an additional fee of $729.75, and we may also need to do a Privacy Act Information Request to the arresting police agency, and a Court Transcript Request for $252.00 each, in order to gather necessary details and prove the age of the victim. If the victim was a minor you may be required to undergo a psychological evaluation in Toronto or Vancouver, at a cost of $250 per hour, and usually with a 6 hour minimum. Due to Homeland Security's increased screening procedures, you may be denied a Waiver after completing this final step. Note: We do not take on clients who we strongly feel will be denied a US Waiver.

8. What other documents will I need to attached to my U.S. Waiver application?

That depends on what you were charged with, how long ago you were charged, why you need to enter the U.S., and whether or not you are employed or self-employed. Our staff will carefully review your application and explain in written detail exactly what documents will be required, and we will email you draft letters where all you need to do is fill in the blanks and then print and sign or get signed the letters. Attaching the right documents to your application will greatly increase your odds of getting a Waiver. Our staff will draft and edit all the required documents before attaching them to your application. Note: Since August of 2007 all applicants have been required to attach Certified Court Records when it comes to certain offenses, regardless of how long ago the offense was. For any sexual assault charge you must also include proof of the age of the victim, and what type of counseling was received. Our staff will assemble all the necessary documents and deliver a completed U.S. Waiver application to you to submit it at nearest U.S. Customs and Border Protection office, along with a personalized cover letter addressed to that office, in order for clients to be FBI fingerprinted and then best considered for a U.S. Waiver by Homeland Security's ARO. Our complete and customized service reduces application processing times, lost or misplaced applications due to errors and/or omissions, and greatly increases the odds of the applicant being granted a US Waiver, and the length of time it will be valid when it comes to renewals.

9. How long does it take to process a U.S. Waiver application?

Due to delays in acquiring RCMP Certified Records from Ottawa, and Court Records, most US Waiver applications take 2 to 4 months to assemble, and another 5 to 8 months to process by Homeland Security, mostly due to delays in obtaining FBI background checks. Click Here for the Most Current Application Processing Times. Note: In some circumstances a Port Parole Permit can be obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security and/or USCIS, which is a permit that allows the applicant to enter the U.S. while their Waiver application is being processed. However, such permits are now only guaranteed for emergency medical treatments, or to attend a funeral of an immediate family member. All Port Parole Permit information is provided at no extra cost  for all applicants who have applied for a Waiver through our office. 

10. Do all criminal convictions prevent me from entering the U.S.?

No. At this time people who have been convicted of only 1 Summary offense (not including a Possession of Narcotics offense) or who have DUI's, Reckless Driving, Mischief, Possession of a Restricted Weapon, Illegal Possession of Firearm, Fail to Appear, Fail to Comply, and General Assault (Sec 266) offenses are allowed to enter the U.S., as long as no other charges appear on their record. 

11. If my charge was withdrawn or suspended, do I still need a U.S. Waiver?

Only if your offense happened prior to July of 1992 and is still on CPIC and US Customs sees it, or you admit to the offense even after it was removed from CPIC, usually after 3 years.

12. Do you provide free information to people who are applying for a U.S. Waiver on their own, or who have received a Pardon in the past?

No. This is due to the many time consuming complications that arise which take our staff away from properly serving our clients.

13. Do I qualify to receive a Port Parole Permit, and what is the cost?

Unfortunately, Port Parole permits are now only granted (guaranteed) for 2 reasons; (1) Emergency Lifesaving Medical Treatment, and (2) to Attend a Funeral for an Immediate Family Member, and usually only after the client has paid the $585.00 USD Waiver application Filing Fee. At this time there are very few exceptions, and we don't recommend applying for any other reasons. All information is provided at no extra cost but our fee to assemble a Port Parole application is $252.00. Port Parole applications will not be accepted by US Customs more than 2 weeks in advance of your scheduled departure.

14. Can you get me a maximum 5 year Waiver to start?

In all cases we prepare your Waiver application in the best way possible and in your best interests, which of course is to get the maximum 5 year Waiver. In many cases we have been successful in this endeavor, especially when the applicant has just 2 or 3 Summary offenses from the 1980's or 1990's. However, since August of 2007, many first time Waiver applicants with convictions within the last 15 years have only been granted a 1 Year Waiver, and recent Indictable and/or Trafficking offenders (with convictions less than 5 years ago) may only get a 6 month Waiver. Also, Waiver Renewal applications that have 1 or more Indictable or illicit drug offenses within the last 10 years, are usually only granted a 2 or 3 year Waiver the second time around.

15. Can I get a Waiver if I have been convicted for Sexual Assault with a Minor?

In 2016 Homeland Security increased the screening procedures and the required documents for all applicants who have been charged with 
Sexual Assault with a Minor, no matter when the incident occurred. Most applicants are now required to undergo a physical and psychological evaluation in Vancouver or Toronto, which costs up to $2000, and provide evidence of having successfully completed counseling. If you cannot attend the evaluation and provide the necessary documents, your Waiver application will be denied.  

16. Will I save some money if I start the process myself?

No, and in fact we no longer take on applicants who drop off or send in big piles of paperwork full of errors and omissions and outdated forms. Our process is very effective and efficient and too many problems occur when we step outside of that process. 

17. What is your refund policy?

Full refunds are given when no services are provided. Partial refunds are given when partial services are provided. Once your application has been completed and is ready to submit to Homeland Security's ARO (Admissibility Review Office) there are no refunds. To arrange for a refund please contact our Office Manager at: 780-473-7171.

18. Do you assist non-Canadian citizens when it comes to U.S. Waiver applications?

Unfortunately, we no longer assist non-Canadian citizens with US Waiver applications due to the many complications and constantly changing policies regarding other countries. Note: You will need to pay $930 USD to submit your US Waiver application to the US Consulate office in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, etc., which may require multiple trips to the office by appointment.

Note: We have very good reason to believe that all Passports are now encoded with an FPS (FingerPrint Section) number if you have a criminal record on CPIC at the time your Passport is processed. To see an example of what happens when your Passport is scanned by US Customs CLICK HERE.

19. Are there 10 year Waivers?

Unfortunately, we still have never seen a 10 year Waiver after hearing about this several years ago. We now think this was just another false rumor started by a company in Toronto that was just trying to drum up more business. If you or anyone you know has actually received a 10 year Waiver please forward a copy to us.

20. Do you guarantee I will get a Waiver?

Unfortunately, when it comes to serious Indictable offenses where the person was sentenced to 3 years or more, the ARO likes to see at least 15 crime-free years. Note: We do not normally take on clients who we strongly feel will be denied a US Waiver, and recommend that clients who have multiple and/or recent serious offenses be fingerprinted only and then bring their Record in for review.