Last Updated on May 10, 2022 by Allard John Keeley
The US Entry Waiver application is a complicated process that people who are otherwise inadmissible to the USA due to a criminal history, medical or security grounds, must complete.
US waivers can be filed from any country including Canada and they allow people who have been convicted of a criminal offence to legally enter the United States and overcome their inadmissibility to the USA. US Waivers are valid for up to 5 years, after which time they must be renewed. Inadmissibility to the United States can affect your personal freedom and excludes you from trusted traveller programs like NEXUS, the Global Entry Program and the FAST pass. If you are Canadian, or a typical non-immigrant traveling to the US, you can apply for a US entry waiver either by contacting us or by applying through US Customs and Border Protection. The application is available from US Citizenship and Immigration services but must be submitted to US Customs and Border Protection before you travel.
|Inadmissibility to the USA|
|Get a US Waiver urgently|
|US Waiver processing time|
|US Waiver Application Fees and Costs|
|US Waiver Application Requirements|
|Getting a US Waiver|
US Waiver Application
Every person who wants to enter the United States must be granted permission by US Customs and Border Patrol officers either at the airport, on land, or at a sea port. People who have been convicted of certain crimes, have certain medical conditions, and certain immigration or security violations must obtain a US waiver before they are allowed to enter the US.
US Waiver Renewal
A Waiver can be granted for up to 5 years, however they are typically valid for 6 months – 2 years. Waivers of Inadmissibility can be renewed indefinitely; since 9/11 there is no longer any permanent solution to inadmissibility to the US.
Humanitarian Parole (Urgent Waiver / Entry to the US)
Sometimes there are situations where people who are inadmissible to the US find that they need to gain entry very quickly due to emergency circumstances. Examples of this include visiting close relatives who are extremely sick or who have died, accompanying a minor to an important event who would otherwise be unable to go, or bringing significant economic, social or culture benefits to the U.S.
An humanitarian parole is filed through a port of entry and is typically adjudicated within several days after the port receives the application. It is a one-time entry permission. Once it is approved, the applicant can only cross the border through the port that approves the application. For more information on Humanitarian Parole Applications, call Immigroup.
If you have been granted a pardon in Canada for your criminal convictions, this does not mean that you are now able to enter the United States. Although pardons are looked on favourably as part of a US Waiver application, you are still inadmissible to the US unless you obtain a Waiver.
How Immigroup can help you get a US Waiver
To discuss your options for a US Waiver of Inadmissibility to enter the United States, call us at 1-866-760-2623 or 416-962-2623 or email us for a consultation. We can determine your eligibility to apply for the US Waiver as well as advise you how you can prove you meet the requirements.
Immigroup will assist you throughout the entire application process from start to finish, including:
- Determining your eligibility to apply;
- Assessing the likelihood of success for your particular case;
- Ensuring your forms are complete and accurately reflect the details of your case for maximum chance of success;
- Ensuring you have the necessary and appropriate documents to support your application;
- Providing guidance on the best method to submit your application to the government for your circumstances;
- Advising the privileges a US Waiver affords you;
- Offering Top Priority service for extremely urgent cases if you need to enter the US quickly;
- Determining the best way to proceed once the outcome of your case is reached (applying for Humanitarian Parole, renewing the waiver, re-application if necessary, etc.)
US Waiver Application Processing Time
Applications for a US Waiver of Inadmissibility are usually processed within 6 – 12 months.
Applications must be filed in person at a port of entry.
US Waiver Application Costs and Fees
Our fees are on a case-by-case basis, but Immigroup service fees usually range from around $1000 for the most basic application to around $2000 for more complicated matters. Top Priority service for clients who need to travel to the US urgently carries additional costs.
In addition to the legal fees paid to a consultant or lawyer to assist you with this process, the applicant must also pay a fee to the US government for filing their application. Please refer to the fee schedule below.
I-192 US Waiver fee: USD$585
I-212 US Waiver fee: USD$585
Government application fees are subject to change at any time without notice and are not refundable from the US government regardless of whether the application is approved.
US Waiver Application Basic Requirements
Applicants for a US Waiver must show that they intend to enter the US only temporarily, do not intend to live in the US, and do not pose a danger to the American public.
You must also show that you:
- Will leave the US at the end of your stay
- Will not work or study in the US unless that is the purpose of your visa
- Have enough money to support yourself and accompanying family members while in the US
- Have enough money to return home
- Are not a security risk to the US
- Are law abiding
- Are in good health
You can be asked to provide any documentation pertaining to these and other requirements and to complete a medical examination if necessary.
When you speak with Immigroup regarding a US Waiver application, we will advise you which of these requirements you most need to stress that you meet given your background and circumstances. We will also tell you of any additional requirements that apply to your situation.
Who needs a US Waiver?
Anyone who is considered inadmissible to the US needs a waiver. There are several types of inadmissibility, the most common of which are criminal, violation of immigration rules, and medical. Some of the reasons you might be considered inadmissible include:
- Criminal Inadmissibility to the USA
- Conviction of crimes of moral turpitude (a crime of moral turpitude is conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals)
- Drug crimes
- 2 or more summary convictions not including DUI/DWI
- 1 indictable conviction
- Medical Inadmissibility to the USA
- Diagnosis of diseases that cause a danger to public health such as tuberculosis, leprosy, and various sexually transmitted infections
- Refusal of required vaccinations
- Physical or mental disorders that cause harmful behavior
- Security Violation Inadmissibility to the USA
- Conviction of being a spy or terrorist
- People whose entry would damage US foreign policy
- Members of certain totalitarian political parties
- Members of the Nazi party
- Immigration Violation Inadmissibility to the USA
- People who have overstayed a visa after gaining legal entry into the US
- People who have entered the US illegally previously
- People who lied to US Customs and Border Patrol or other US government agents
- People who have been deported
About US Waivers
You may need a waiver to enter the United States if you have a criminal record in another country, which is logged in the United States law enforcement databases. Some people find that on occasion they can enter into America without being refused, yet on other occasions they may be barred entry. This inconsistency occurs when busy border guards do not have the time to run background checks of every visitor screened at the immigration kiosks. If you are inadmissible to the United States and you do attempt to cross the border, you are committing a serious offence, which can result in the confiscation of your vehicle, criminal charges and even jail sentences. Anyone who is travelling with you can also face stiff penalties for aiding and abetting a criminal. This can lead to them becoming inadmissible too. If you have a criminal record or immigration violations in Canada and intend to cross the border, you may need a Canadian Pardon as well.
If you have been denied access to the United States on the grounds of inadmissibility, an entry waiver will help you regain entry. Immigroup Inc. processes all of the essential documents necessary for you to obtain your waivers. We carefully check your application and ensure that it is correctly filed with the right supporting documents. If you are unsure as to whether you need to apply, call our office and speak to one of our experts at 1-866-760-2623 or 416-962-2623.
US Waiver FAQ’s
What is a US waiver?
A US entry waiver is actually the common name for two types of applications to enter the US:
- the application for advance permission to enter as non-immigrant for most non—immigrants (i.e. travelers) AND
- the application for waiver of grounds of inadmissibility for immigrants and some special types of non-immigrants
These two forms are for different classes of immigrant and non-immigrant who are inadmissible to the US for the same reasons. Travelers to the US who are considered inadmissible need to apply for advance permission to enter as a non-immigrant, which is called a US entry waiver in every day language.
Why would I need a US waiver?
There are many reasons why US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may deny someone entry into the United States. These include but are not exclusive to infection with certain communicable diseases; criminal records for “crimes of moral turpitude,” two or more convictions (regardless of the crime) with sentences totalling 5 or more years, drug possession and trafficking, money laundering, and serious criminal activity with immunity from prosecution; security violations; and immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa; involvement of any kind in the international trafficking of minors.
If you have a criminal record, but you committed the crime you were convicted of under the age of 18, or you were convicted on purely political grounds, you are not considered inadmissible because of your record and you do not need this waiver.
Who is eligible for a US waiver?
Certain types of “non-immigrants” are eligible provided they meet a set of guidelines. Non-immigrants are people seeking to enter the US for purposes of business or travel rather than immigration. Non-immigrants who would not normally require a visa to travel to the US (citizens from certain European countries and Canadians usually do not require visas, for example) and non-immigrants who had previously acquired an entry visa through their appropriate documentation but have since been deemed inadmissible may both be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. However, it depends on the grounds of inadmissibility. You must demonstrate to the satisfaction of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that you are no longer a risk to the security of the United States.
Note: anyone who falsely claims US citizenship for the purpose of obtaining benefits of US citizenship is ineligible for a waiver of inadmissibility.
If my charge was withdrawn or suspended, do I still need a US waiver?
No, however you will need to show court documents that verify that this is indeed the case. To order court documents, submit an application to the court that tried your case.
What limitations does a waiver have?
It only allows a person to visit America for a specified period of time; however, waivers can be used multiple times right up until they expire. If you are planning to stay in America for longer than 3 months there may be additional forms that must be completed and notarized, and then attached to your application.
When can I apply for a waiver?
You can apply for a waiver at any time. It takes 6 months to one year to obtain one.
If I have been granted a Canadian Record Suspension (formerly a Pardon) do I still need a waiver?
Unfortunately yes, as the United States Customs does not recognize a Canadian Record Suspension Pardon.
How do I apply for a US waiver?
- You must complete US immigration form I-92 (advance permission to enter as non-immigrant) and provide evidence of your citizenship. You must complete form G-325 (biographical information). If you are applying with help from a lawyer or a firm such as Immigroup you must also complete form G-28 or form G-28i.
- You will be fingerprinted by a CBP official on finger print card FD-258 at the time of the submission of your application unless you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and then you can submit your fingerprints to the RCMP.
- If you have a criminal record, you must provide a copy of your criminal record and you must provide a copy of the official court record from the court of conviction for every criminal offence of which you have been convicted. You must submit a statement in your own words describing each conviction and sentencing and provide evidence of your “reformation of character or rehabilitation.”
- If you have been found inadmissible for immigration violations, you must provide evidence of
- Current employment in your country of residence
- Previous US employment
- Immediate family residing in the United States
- Current or previous business investments in the US
- “Any and all ties” to your country of current residence
Can a US waiver application be denied?
Yes, if you are deemed to be of a high risk to re-offend, your application will be denied.
Does your tracking system track applications after they have been received by a U.S. Customs or Homeland Security office?
No, once an application is received by any U.S. Customs or Homeland Security office, we cannot track your file.
What is moral turpitude?
Moral turpitude is a concept in US law that is part of the classification of certain criminal offences. It is tied to the nature of the crime committed, rather than the specific acts of a particular case. Moral turpitude is thought to exist in specific types of crimes (provided a conviction has been reached) regardless of testimony or evidence provided at the trial. Therefore providing evidence from a criminal proceeding is not accepted as proof that the criminal act(s) did not involve moral turpitude.
What types of crimes are considered “crimes of moral turpitude” in the US?
There are three types of criminal offences which involve moral turpitude for immigration purposes under US law: crimes against property, crimes against government authority and crimes against persons. This list is not exclusive.
- crimes against property considered crimes of moral turpitude include:
- any form of fraud including intent to defraud
- arson and malicious destruction of property
- blackmail, embezzlement, extortion and forgery
- burglary, larceny, robbery, theft, and receiving or transporting stolen goods with fore knowledge
- crimes against government authority considered crimes of moral turpitude include:
- bribery, perjury and harbouring a fugitive with knowledge
- fraud committed against the government and tax evasion
- crimes against persons considered crimes of moral turpitude include:
- wilful abandonment of a minor or contributing to the delinquency of a minor, kidnapping
- adultery, bigamy, gross indecency, lewdness
- certain types of assault: with intent to kill, with intent to rape, with intent to rob, with intent to commit serious bodily harm, with a deadly/dangerous weapon, mayhem (permanently disabling someone)
- incest involving statutory rape, rape and statutory rape
- pandering/procuring and prostitution
Some of these crimes may not actually be criminal offences under US law but US immigration reserves the right to deny entry for convictions on all of the above as well as other offences. You must have been 18 or over at the time of the commission of the crime for it to be the basis of your inadmissibility.
So-called political offences crimes are not considered a basis for inadmissibility.
I am inadmissible on criminal grounds. Can I get a US waiver?
That depends on the reason for your inadmissibility. You are eligible if
- if you were convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or you have two or more convictions (for all crimes except political ones) with sentences totalling five or more years
- your drug conviction was for 30 grams or less of marijuana
- you received immunity from prosecution for cooperating with authorities
Then you must demonstrate the following:
- at least 15 years have elapsed since the event/ activity and you have evidence of your reformation of character and rehabilitation
- OR you are inadmissible ONLY because of “participation in prostitution” and have evidence of rehabilitation
- OR your immediate US citizen/permanent resident family member will suffer extreme hardship if you are not allowed entry
- OR you are applying under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Meeting these conditions does not automatically mean you will be approved for a waiver of inadmissibility. Certain violent or dangerous crimes may still be considered grounds for inadmissibility unless there are “extraordinary circumstances,” determined on a case by case basis.
What is extreme hardship?
Extreme hardship is a term which helps Customs and Border Protection personnel decide whether or not to admit otherwise inadmissible relatives of US citizens, permanent residents and sometimes even immigrant visa holders. The applicant must demonstrate that the denial of their application will result in their US citizen/permanent resident family member suffering. This must be demonstrated through certain evidence including but not exclusive to the following:
- proof of the family relationship (including birth certificates, marriage certificates) to the US citizen(s)/permanent resident(s)
- the US citizen(s)/permanent resident(s)’s family ties outside the United States
- conditions in the country the applicant would be forced to relocate to if the application was denied, and the US citizen(s)/permanent resident(s)’s family ties to that country
- financial impact on the US citizen(s)/permanent resident(s) if the application is denied
- significant health conditions and what kind of treatment is available in the country of relocation
- the impact separation has on the family
- any other conditions impacting quality of life of the US citizen(s) / permanent resident(s), such as technical skills
If this evidence is provided, the applicant may be deemed admissible, on a case by case basis.
What kinds of diseases make you inadmissible to the United States?
Infection with diseases such as tuberculosis, infectious leprosy, and certain STDs such as chancroid, gonorrrhea, donovanosis, Durand-Nicolas-Favre disease and syphilis are all considered grounds for barring entry. Other communicable diseases may be included at various times by the US Department of Health. You may also be denied entry for refusing vaccinations or for physical or mental disorders which have resulted in harmful behaviour.
I am inadmissible on health grounds. How can I get a US waiver?
You may be granted entry if you are an immediate family member of a US citizen or US permanent resident/US immigrant visa holder, or the fiancée or child of a fiancée of such. You may also be granted entry if you are applying for a waiver of inadmissibility under the Violence Against Women Act (VAMA).
Those applying for a waiver with physical or mental disorders which pose some kind of harm to US citizens must also submit a complete medical history. Those applying who have refused vaccinations must demonstrate to the satisfaction of CBP and USCIS that you are opposed to all vaccinations in any form and that this opposition stems from sincere religious beliefs or moral convictions.
What is a security violation?
For the purposes of inadmissibility, a security violation involves a person whose behaviour or membership in an organization is believed to threaten the United States. Security violations include.
- committing or intending to commit espionage, sabotage or terrorism
- endangering US foreign policy
- voluntary membership in a totalitarian political party (such as the Communists or Nazis) or in a terrorist organization
What is an immigration violation?
There are a number of different kinds of immigration violations.
- Entry Without Inspection (EWI): someone who has entered the United States without being properly admitted at a port of entry, regardless of whether they have been in the US before
- Overstaying a visa
- Attempting to re-enter after having been deported or given expedited removal
If a person’s unlawful presence in the United States was more than 180 days but less than a year, and they left the United States voluntarily, then a person is inadmissible for three years. If a person leaves the US voluntarily after unlawful presence of more than a year, then they are inadmissible for ten years (3 year/10 year bar). In both cases, the person may be eligible for a waiver provided they have not committed other immigration violations. Returning to the US through EWI after leaving the US voluntarily, for example, may result in the waiver being denied. Attempting to re-enter the US after being deported also makes one ineligible for an entry waiver. Anyone who falsely claims US citizenship for the purpose of obtaining benefits of US citizenship is ineligible for a waiver of inadmissibility.
I am inadmissible because of immigration fraud/an immigration violation. Can I apply for a waiver?
You are admissible if you can demonstrate that your US citizen/US permanent resident immediate family member would experience “extreme hardship” if your application was denied. You may also be eligible under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
I was a member of a totalitarian political party. Am I eligible for a US waiver?
If you can demonstrate humanitarian reasons (for example, reunification of a family) then you may be eligible.
I am inadmissible because I engaged in human trafficking. Can I apply for a waiver?
You may be eligible if you can demonstrate humanitarian reasons (maintaining family unity) but you must have only been involved in the human trafficking of an immediate family member. Additionally, you must either be seeking admittance (or adjustment of status) on the basis of US citizen immediate family OR you have already resided in the US as a legal permanent resident and you left voluntarily (i.e. you were not subject to deportation).
If you were subject to a “final order” (with no accompanying civil financial penalty) because you committed document fraud to help an immediate family member ONLY you may be eligible provided you are seeking admittance on the basis of US citizen immediate family OR you have already resided in the US as a legal permanent resident and you left voluntarily before the “final order” was used as grounds for deportation.
What if I have a combination of factors keeping me out of the US? For example, what if I have a criminal record and a communicable disease? Do I have to apply for separate applications for waivers?
If CPB has deemed you inadmissible for more than one reason, you do not have to submit separate applications but you do need to describe all reasons why you were considered inadmissible on your application. The waiver, if granted, is only good for the grounds on which you applied. If you don’t include one or more grounds, you could be denied entry despite having a waiver of inadmissibility.
What is the 3-year/10-year bar?
If someone was unlawfully present in the United States for between 180 days to one year, they are normally inadmissible for three years. If someone was unlawfully present in the United States for more than a year, they are normally inadmissible for ten years.
Can I waive my inadmissibility before the 3-year/10-year bar?
If you can demonstrate that your US citizen/permanent resident immediate family member would experience “extreme hardship” then you may be eligible. If you are applying for a visa as a victim of human trafficking, you may also be eligible.
How can I apply for a waiver of inadmissibility on the basis of the Violence Against Women Act?
In order to apply for an entry waiver through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you must be deemed inadmissible under any of the criteria and then you must demonstrate a connection between the battery or extreme cruelty and the reason for your inadmissibility. Most applications for waivers through VAWA involve women deemed inadmissible because of immigration fraud/violations. In this case, you must demonstrate the connection between the battery or extreme cruelty and your unlawful presence in the United States and your departure (or removal) and/or your unlawful or attempted unlawful return to the United States.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary designation for nationals of a country experiencing an emergency (for example, civil war or natural disasters) which allows these nationals to work and travel to and from (with travel authorization) the United States while they cannot return safely to their country or the country cannot safely handle their return. TPS does not involve any other kind of immigration status and is not lead to becoming a US permanent resident. However, it does not prevent the holder from applying to obtain an immigration visa.
I have been deemed inadmissible but my country/nationality has been given TPS. Can I apply for a waiver?
Anyone deemed inadmissible but from a TPS country can apply for a waiver by demonstrating humanitarian, family unity or public interest grounds.
I renounced my US citizenship to avoid paying taxes. I am eligible for an entry waiver?
No. Wilfully avoiding income tax is one of the few grounds which cannot be waived even with demonstration of extreme hardship or other special case applications.
Who doesn’t need a visa?
The US allows nationals of the below countries to travel to the United States without a visa. Nationals must still get prior approval to travel to the US by registering online (or by completing a form at a port of entry, if entering the US by land). If you are a citizen of any of the following countries, you should register online.
|Greece||The Netherlands||The United Kingdom|
If you are not able to register online, then you may still be able to apply for a US visa
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.