US Entry Waiver

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US Waiver

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How to Get a Fast e-SAFE Waiver for USA as a Canadian

If a Canadian citizen has a criminal charge or conviction in their past, they will likely be at substantial risk of a border denial unless they petition the American government that they are safe. Obtaining special permission to travel to USA with a criminal record is possible for Canadians by applying for an Entry Waiver. This is a complex legal procedure that requires numerous supporting documents including an RCMP background check.

A United States Waiver application can take up to 12 months for government processing. If you work with a lawyer that has access to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) eSAFE platform, however, your Waiver application can be processed substantially faster. "Pardon companies" and "consultants" generally do not have access to the e-SAFE system. Consequently, working with a qualified US immigration lawyer is typically the fastest way for a Canadian citizen with a criminal history to gain access to the United States.

Interested in obtaining a fast USA Waiver via e-SAFE? Our US immigration lawyer is based in Canada and offers FREE consultations!

How Does a Canadian Get a Fast e-SAFE Waiver?

eSAFE stands for "Electronic Secured Adjudication Forms Environment" and is a new platform that enables a lawyer to electronically file a US Waiver application instead of mailing it away on behalf of their client. Applying for a United States Waiver from Canada via e-SAFE involves similar paperwork to applying the standard way, the main differences are how the paperwork is submitted and how long it takes to be reviewed. While a regular US Travel Waiver can take up to 12 months for government processing, an eSAFE Waiver is frequently granted in less than half that time. In a nutshell, the procedure is still based on PDF form I192 and requires an extensive amount of supporting documentation, but eSAFE can make the submission and review time significantly faster.

Before applying for an e-SAFE Entry Waiver, it is always smart for a Canadian to double check their admissibility under United States law. Our law firm is regularly contacted by people from Canada who think they are inadmissible to USA because of a criminal history but may in fact be fully admissible. For example: a DUI is a very common criminal offence in Canada, but a DUI conviction does not typically render a person criminally inadmissible to USA since such a crime does not involve moral turpitude. If a charge was dismissed it may equate to a non-conviction south of the border, and some absolute or conditional discharge sentences may also equate favourably. Applying for an American Waiver involves a massive amount of paperwork, so it is always smart to confirm your inadmissibility with a professional before pursuing such an involved procedure.

Before applying for a fast Waiver online through the DHS e-SAFE portal, it is also advisable to confirm your eligibility. This can be impacted by the age of your criminal record, type of crime committed, the seriousness of the conviction (summary offence vs. indictable offence), your citizenship, your interest in the United States (visiting vs. immigrating), whether or not you have ever been denied entry at the American border or deported from the country, and several other factors.

How Fast Are e-SAFE Waivers?

If a Canadian citizen is researching the online e-SAFE program, it is likely because they are trying to obtain a USA Entry Waiver as fast as possible. Canadians can no longer submit a Waiver application to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at a Port of Entry or preclearance office. Consequently, in 2024 the quickest way to enter the United States with a criminal record in Canada is usually via an eSAFE Waiver. American Waiver applications that are submitted electronically by a USA immigration lawyer are frequently granted more than twice as fast as the normal processing time. For example, a regular Entry Waiver application can take up to 12 months for government review in 2024, while eSAFE waivers are regularly issued in 170 days or less.

The e-SAFE Waiver processing time can increase or decrease based on several factors including application volume. For an accurate estimate of the current eSAFE processing time, please give us a call for a free consultation.

Fast Waivers vs. Regular Waivers

Once approved, an expedited eSAFE Entry Waiver is the exact same as a standard US Travel Waiver. The difference is how a person applies for the Inadmissibility Waiver, and how fast the United States government reviews the submission. A USA e-SAFE Waiver can be adjudicated quickly, while a normal US Waiver application can be reviewed fairly slow. Once a Waiver is issued, however, it can enable the holder to cross the US border with a criminal record from Canada as often as they wish for as long as it is valid regardless of whether or not the person applied via e-SAFE. Consequently, both an e-SAFE and regular USA Waiver are excellent solutions, but most people want to acquire a US Waiver fast so they choose eSAFE.

eSAFE Waiver 2024

Prior to the launch of the CBP e-SAFE system, it was not possible to apply for a US Entry Waiver online. Paper-based applications used to be mailed away to the American Government or physically brought to an appropriate location, and a lawyer was not able to expedite the proess like they can today. The fast online e-SAFE Waiver program has been a huge success since it was introduced, and most Canadians that retain a lawyer for help entering USA with a criminal record now apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility via eSAFE.

Questions about how to apply for an e-SAFE Waiver? Contact us today!

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