Note: Processing times have increased due to office closures and staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Note: At this time it is taking up to 4 months to receive Certified Court Records from some smaller courts, and the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton.
Note: Several government agencies (Provincial Courts, Local Police, Parole Board of Canada and Homeland Security) are experiencing backlogs at this time due to staff shortages, and increased workloads due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Note: Since mid March of 2020, all USCBP offices have been closed to the public, along with all US Waiver fingerprinting offices. For this reason we expect longer than usual US Waiver application processing delays due to backlogs. The last known application processing time period by the FBI and Homeland Security was 4 to 7 months.
At this time, if you have 1 to 3 Summary convictions, on average it is taking 1 to 2 months to obtain a Certified Record from the Ottawa RCMP and another 2 to 3 months to obtain Court, Local Police and other documents. This means if no government agency makes any mistakes on any of the documents we receive from them, your Pardon application can be assembled within 2 to 5 months and then couriered to the Parole Board of Canada. From there you can expect it will take another 5 to 7 months for the Parole Board to process the application.
Note: If your application has 4 or more Summary Convictions or 1 or more Indictable Convictions, it could take the RCMP up to 4 months to process your Certified Record, another 2 to 3 months to obtain Court and Local Police Records, and then it could take the PBC up to 14 months to grant you a Pardon. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up the process, no matter how much you pay or how often you inquire. Note: Due to Local Police Records expiring after 12 months, Local Police Records will not be ordered until all Court Records and your signed Rehabilitation Letter has been received. Note: If we have to get Court Records from the Court of Queen’s Bench it could take up to 6 months to obtain such records due to limited staff. Some other Courthouses usually located in smaller towns are backlogged due to staff shortages and current workloads.
RCMP Record, Court and Local Police Records are taking the same time. However, at this time we are seeing Cannabis Pardon applications being processed within 3 to 4 months at the PBC.
Note: The Ottawa RCMP are no longer responding to any update requests until after 3 full months have past after they received your fingerprints.
Note: The Parole Board is no longer providing any updates to anyone for any reason (until further notice)
Please Note: If you live in and the crimes were committed in BC or Ontario with a conviction date before March 13, 2012, you may be able to apply for a Pardon under the old rules. This is because the PBC ruling was challenged by the Provincial Government and the rulings were overturned. For all other provinces the waiting periods went from 3 to 5 years for Summary convictions and from 5 to 10 years for Indictable convictions.
Please Note: Emailing or calling our office or the PBC and requesting a Pardon application update will NOT help speed up the processing of your application. Furthermore, after your application has been sent to the Parole Board, at this time, you cannot call and inquire as to the status of your application. After the Covid-19 crisis, the number to call is 1-800-874-2652.
Please Note: These timelines are based on what is happening right now and what we were last told by the PBC. They are not in any way an assurance or projection of what we expect to happen in the future.
Please Note: In July of 2010 and March of 2012 the Harper Government made many changes to the Pardon application process, adding many more steps to the process and increasing the filing fee from $50.00 to $631.00. One of the added steps includes the required gathering of Court Records for offenses over 15 years old. This procedure has put real strains on courthouses all over the country. The PBC is also bogged down because every day they receive hundreds of applications that are not completed correctly, and many of them are from people who mistakenly believe they needed a Pardon in order to receive a Passport, and/or who in rushing their applications, make several errors and omissions in the process. Unfortunately, such applications end up in a huge “sludge pile” and it takes several months for the PBC to return those files, along with the original money order and letters explaining some or all of the problems. After the Karla Homolka and Graham James scandals, because of the increased Filing Fee, we are seeing a lot more people trying to prepare the application on their own, in order to save money and put it towards the new filing fee of $644.88. However, according to PBC statistics, many more applications (nearly 50%) contain errors and omissions, which means the PBC cannot accept the application or cash the money order, but rather they have to take the time to write letters addressing some or all the errors and omissions, and then mail the entire application back to the client. This is effectively causing them to do more work while getting the same or less money, which again leads to further delays.
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.
At this time, if you have 1 to 3 Summary convictions, it is taking 1 to 4 months to assemble a U.S. Waiver application, unless you have been Pardoned or have no record on CPIC, which can then reduce the time frame to approximately 2 weeks. If you have 3 or more Summary convictions or any Indictable convictions on CPIC, or really old convictions, it can take up to 4 months to assemble your Waiver application, including about 2 months to obtain an RCMP Certified Record, and another 2 months to obtain Court Records. Processing times by U.S. Customs / Homeland Security are currently between 4 to 7 months, largely depending on what you were convicted of, and whether or not the FBI has been swamped with millions of extra background checks from U.S. residents trying to obtain firearms used in the latest spree killing(s). Note: Due to recent changes in policy by DHS regarding recent trafficking and/or recent Indictable offenses (convictions within the last 5 years), some first time applicants are now only receiving a 6 month Waiver. Note: Any Sexual Assault, Interference, Indecent Assault, etc, will most certainly delay your application by another 6 to 12 months.
Please Note: Homeland Security’s ARO is no longer responding to any update requests until after 5 full months have past after your Waiver application was received by US Customs.If you do not receive your Waiver Certificate after 6 full months, please contact our office and we will email you an inquiry form to forward to the ARO and formally request information as to the status of your application. (This service is reserved for our clients only).
Note: Most US Waiver Applications are still being sent to a central processing facility (Admissibility Review Office) located in Herndon, VA. Due to this office’s interpretation of existing Privacy Act Laws, this office no longer responds to our emailed update requests, and does not provide any other method of contact. Clients can submit an email update request after 5 months, and every 30 days after that time, however, such requests will NOT speed up the process, and are often ignored by the ARO.
Note: In 2008 Homeland Security increased the screening procedures and the required documents for all applicants who have been charged with multiple offenses and/or any indictable offense(s) within the last 15 years. If you were convicted of large volume narcotics possession, trafficking, sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm or with a weapon, theft over $1000, fraud over $5000 or any indictable offense(s) or crimes involving moral turpitude within the last 15 years, you will need to attach certified court records to your application for each offense, and if you do not, you will most likely receive a letter from the ARO instructing you to submit Certified Court Records, Police Records and Court Transcripts for all convictions, within 87 days, or else your application will be forfeited. Our fee to obtain certified court and police records is $80 each plus GST, and discounts apply for high volumes. Court transcripts are $252.00, plus per-page Court Transcript Fees (in some cases).
Note: On November 23rd, 2010 Homeland Security increased the I-192 Department of State Filing Fee from $545.00 USD to $585.00 USD. Some US Customs offices are also charging a $6.00 Document Processing Fee when they complete your I-94 Arrival & Departure Record. For Currency Exchange Rates Click Here.
Waiver Renewal applications are now taking from 4 to 8 weeks to receive a Certified Record from the Ottawa RCMP, unless you have been pardoned, which can then reduce the time frame by 2 to 3 weeks. In addition to that time it is now taking 1 to 2 months to obtain Certified Court Records (if required), and another 4 to 6 months for Homeland Security’s ARO to process the application, after it is received by US Customs. Note: Ink submitted fingerprints are currently taking between 3 and 4 months to receive a Certified Record from the Ottawa RCMP, whether or not you have been pardoned, and only after the Ottawa RCMP have rejected electronic fingerprints. Note: If our office did not process your first Waiver application then further delays may occur, as we may need to order Court Records.
Note: Emailing or calling our office (or the Ottawa RCMP or the Courts) will NOT help speed up the processing of your Certified Record/CPIC Report or Court Records, and emailing the ARO an update request after 5 full months (150 days) does not speed up the processing time of your Waiver application, it only confirms that your application is being processed.