Waivers FAQ

September 13, 2022

Note: All US Waiver and US Waiver Renewal applications will be processed online or over the phone and then filed electronically until further notice and instructions on where to be RCMP fingerprinted (Step 1) will follow by email. For more information, Email Shane Bowen at: mail@albertapardons.com or mail@canadapardonsanduswaivers.com, or call: 780-473-1741.

Note: At this time, the only way to submit a US Waiver application is electronically, and then by being FBI fingerprinted at a land-based border. All airport based US Customs offices are still closed to the public regarding printed US Waiver application submissions, and there is no indication they will be opening soon. Of course we will update this page if the offices re-open to take printed US Waiver applications, or if updated FBI fingerprinting equipment is installed at major airports to accommodate electronic filing. Nexus offices are also closed due to an ongoing dispute over the right for officers to carry firearms. (See #21 for electronic application processing)

The border reopened to international travel on November 8, 2021, for all who have been fully vaccinated. However, land based borders are allowing unvaccinated travelers who show a recent negative Covid-19 PCR test. 

Answers to Current FAQ’s

We do not know if or when any US Customs airport based offices will open for paper US Waiver submissions. That decision will come from Homeland Security, not US Customs officers.

We do not know when Homeland Security is planning to install updated FBI fingerprinting equipment at major airports. The decision may be delayed until Nexus officers are allowed to carry firearms or at least tasers.

Ports are not accepting expired Waiver Certificates for any reason, even if you are considered an “essential worker” like a truck driver delivering essential goods.

Note: See #21 for electronic US Waiver application submission option for much faster application processing (currently 4 to 10 weeks).

Frequently Asked Questions

An I-192 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. I-192 US Waivers have to be renewed, and only allow a person to stay in the U.S. for 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.

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)

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.

Waiver Renewals for previous clients who can come to our office are $595.00 plus GST, plus a $84.00 Biometric Fingerprinting fee if we do the fingerprints. For out-of-town clients, the fee is $645.00 plus GST. 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.

Unfortunately, update requests can only be made by sending an email to ARO.INQUIRY.WAIVER@cbp.dhs.gov . Clients receive an email Template to do this.

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 and a copy was not put on the Dangerous drug List in Ottawa (trafficking charges), or PIP (human trafficking and other international charges), 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. A Record Suspension only 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.

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). Disbursements Fees: $84.00 for Court Records from Alberta. Note: There will be a $84.00 biometric fingerprinting fee charged by Alberta Fingerprinting Services. 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 their fingerprinting fee, which ranges in cost. Note: When your application is ready to be submitted 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). This fee is best paid with a major credit card.

Note: If you were convicted of Possession of Narcotics for the Purpose of Trafficking or any type of Sexual Assault, there will be an additional fee of $504 to cover additional paperwork.
Note:
For all indictable offense(s) (Federal crimes involving moral turpitude) within the last 20 years you will be required to submit Certified Court Records for each conviction at a cost of $84.00 per conviction. In some cases per-page Court Transcript Fees may also apply, which are usually $2.50 per page.
Note:
If you have a Sexual Assault conviction we will need to do a Privacy Act Information Request to the arresting police agency. Court Transcripts may also be required at $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 $350. 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.

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.

Processing times differ between paper submitted and electronically submitted US Waiver applications. For more information on electronically submitted applications, see #21. 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 1 to 3 months to process by Homeland Security after an FBI background check. 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.

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.

US Customs does not see non-convictions on CPIC or APIS, however, they may see that you were at one-time fingerprinted for a criminal offense and ask you why. If you admit to being charged with a narcotics or sexual offense, you could be denied entry and made to apply for a US Waiver. We recommend getting a File Destruction before renewing your passport.

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

Note: People with certain charges who are not properly prepared to answer questions at the US border can be delayed, have their vehicles swabbed and searched with dogs, have their phones searched, have to submit mouth and fingertip swabs, and then be denied entry and have their Waiver Certificate revoked. Our service includes a custom email based on your charges so you can quickly navigate US Customs and enjoy your stay up to 6 months without any worries.

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.

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 3 or 4 Summary offenses from the 1980’s, 1990’s or 2000’s. In cases where the applicant has more than 4 convictions and some within the last 15 years, they may only be granted a 1 to 3 Year Waiver. If you have very recent (convictions less than 5 years ago) Indictable and/or Trafficking offences, you may only get a 6 month US Waiver. Also, US Waiver Renewal applications that have 1 or more Indictable or illicit drug offenses within the last 10 years, are usually only granted a 3 year Waiver the second time around.

In 2016 Homeland Security increased the screening procedures and the required documents for all applicants who have been charged with Sexual Assault against a Minor, no matter when the incident occurred. Applicants are required to prove the age of the victim, provide intimate details of the offense(s), provide evidence of having successfully completed counseling, and undergo a physical and psychological evaluation in Vancouver or Toronto, which costs up to $350, plus expenses. If you cannot attend the evaluation and provide the necessary documents, your Waiver application will be denied.

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. The only exception to this is if you obtain your Certified Court Records, as they do not expire.

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.

Yes, but only under certain conditions. Non-Canadian citizens needing a I-192 US Waiver application will encounter 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.

Unfortunately, the maximum I-192 US Waiver is good for 5 years. Any company promising you a longer Waiver is committing fraud. Note: If your application is missing any attachments, odds are as a first time applicant you will only receive a 1-Year Waiver Certificate. Also, many Waiver Renewal applicants who have Indictable and/or multiple offenses within the last 15 years are only receiving a 3 year Waiver Certificate the second time around. If you have old Summary offenses such as Theft Unders from over 15 years ago, and your application contains all the required attachments, you are normally granted the maximum 5-Year Waiver.

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, after release from prison. 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 in their RCMP Certified Record for our review and free consultation.

Yes. The process involves us completing the multiple step online application, uploading all the required documents, including an RCMP Certified Record no more than 15 months old, paying the non-refundable $585.00 USD filing fee, and then sending an an email instructing you to be FBI fingerprinted at a specific land-based border within 45-days. There you will need to present all the original and certified attachments along with two pieces of I.D. Note: Upon returning to Canada, you will be treated as a returning traveler from the USA. After you are FBI fingerprinted, we have seen most Renewal applications are approved within 10 weeks. First-time applicants can expect to wait 3 to 6 months. Note: All required documents are mailed to clients in advance. After filing electronically, a checklist and copies of all uploaded documents are emailed to clients along with detailed information on how to complete the process and be FBI fingerprinted at the border, and how to navigate Canada Customs upon your return. For more information, please contact our office at: 780-473-1741.