Got your US Travel Waiver? Now what?
So you got your US entry waiver in the mail, hopefully after choosing Dominion to complete your application right the first time so the process was a smooth one. What exactly is the waiver that you got, and how does it work?
A US travel waiver is guaranteed entry into the United States
Some people who receive their waiver can’t believe that’s all there is to it – a two page stapled letter? Isn’t there a fancy card or something, like a photo ID…and will that paper even work? The answer is yes, as anti-climactic as it may appear, that really is your legal, valid waiver and it really will get you into the US just as fast as you can make it to a border. The travel waiver is the only guaranteed way to cross the border because without it, it’s up to an individual border patrol guard’s discretion whether or not your criminal record renders you ‘inadmissible’ to the United States.
Certain convictions don’t even necessarily require a waiver by law, but the border official you get may not know that. And there isn’t any way for you to figure out whether your offense warrants a waiver or not; you have to apply in order to find out, and the system isn’t necessarily what you might find orderly. For example, a permanent clearance (i.e. no waiver required) can be granted for a serious crime such as manslaughter or assault with weapon, and denied for a minor possession or fraud charge. There isn’t a well-defined logic around it. So, by getting the waiver, you definitely did the right thing. Now, how does the thing work?
How to use your waiver the very first time:
Step One: Indicate immediately that you have a waiver. Don’t wait for the CBP agent to begin the usual drill of asking you if you have ever smoked a joint or been charged with a crime for which you were not acquitted; before they can even ask you what your business in the US is, immediately state that you have a waiver, and produce the letter for the agent to scrutinize. You may get to step into a fast lane for this…bonus!
Step Two: You may be required to give your fingerprints. Don’t flinch, just do as the agent says….it’s all part of the drill.
Step Three: You may be issued a simple paper card which is stapled to your US entry waiver letter. You may be instructed to keep the card for your next trip to the US, or you may be asked to surrender it later. Do as the agent instructs.
Step Four: If you are at an airport, you may be told to proceed to secondary clearance, which is a specially designated area where a second agent will scrutinize your waiver letter, ask you about your business in the States, and try to discern whether or not you have had any recent contact with the law. Of course you haven’t, so just say as much.
Step Five: Enter the US!
You may notice that we used the word ‘may’ several times because CBP agents are tasked with processing Canadians with a criminal record who have received a waiver; how they handle each unique situation is still discretionary.
Do you have questions about your US entry waiver, or are you thinking of getting one now that you know a bit more about them? At Dominion Pardons and Waivers, we can help you enter the US no matter how complex your case is. We’ll tell you the truth about your chances of approval, and prepare your application pack with skill, expertise and timeliness. Call today for your consultation.
Call TOLL FREE 1-888-890-1321
or fill out the online inquiry below and have a qualified agent help you see if you are eligible to clear your criminal record with a Pardon, or gain access to the United States with an Entry Waiver.