The American law on immigration is very strict regarding foreigners with a criminal record. Entry into the United States may therefore be refused to persons having a prior criminal record.
Pardon Canada or Pardons from other countries do not automatically allow you to enter the United States. Americans do not recognize the Pardon, and, if an American customs officer asks you about your background, even if you have obtained a Pardon, you must reveal the existence of your records. Consequently, if you plan to go to the United States, you will need to obtain a Waiver.
The Waiver is a paper representing official permission granted by the American government, to people who are not allowed to legally enter the United States.
The consequences can be dramatic for those who are not aware or who take the risk to travel or even to pass through the territory without having the US Waiver. You may be refused entry at the border and your vehicle, belongings and air ticket may be taken away from you. You may even be detained and deported, just because of a simple shoplifting incident at the corner store a long time ago.
The request for the right of entry into the United States (the Waiver) can be made at any time, and is granted at the discretion of a U.S. immigration officer.
The granting of the Waiver is based on the following:
- The degree of your crime
- Potential risks that you could represent to the United States
- The reasons for your visit
- The age of your conviction
- Your situation
The process to get the Waiver is relatively long – all procedures and steps must be taken into account. It is strongly recommended that you make your request as soon as possible to avoid last minute disappointments.
Entry Waivers can be applied for at any time and are granted at the discretion of a U.S. immigration officer handling your file based on:
- the risk you are considered to pose to the U.S.;
- the type and seriousness of your offences;
- your purpose of your trip.
Note: only a qualified U.S. immigration attorney can properly advise you about your prospects for gaining entry into the U.S.A. We can help you to secure a Waiver and ensure a hassle free entry.
Waivers are valid for periods ranging from one to five years. Once a U.S. Waiver expires, if you wish to enter the U.S., you must go through the same process again and apply for a new Waiver.