Entries Tagged 'US Entry Waiver' ↓

Christmas Travel Plans?

Expanding on our last post regarding March Break travel troubles, we’d like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of applying for a waiver in advance of making travel plans.

Obtaining a US entry waiver involves multiple steps and can take months to complete.  For this reason alone, if you’re planning on traveling over the Christmas holidays and know you’ll need a waiver, we urge you to begin the process of applying right away.

In the aftermath of several terrorist incidents, both the U.S. and Canada have increased border patrol and are practicing rigorous border security measures. Many Canadians are restricted from travelling to the US because of criminal records.

Whether your final destination is within the United States or your travel route simply involves a stopover there, you will require a US Entry Waiver if:

  • You have been stopped at the border and refused entry before
  • You have stayed in the U.S. longer than the time allotted by the Department of Homeland Security
  • You have a criminal record
  • You are found in possession of drugs at the border
There are several circumstances in which individuals incorrectly assume they do not require a waiver, including:


  • Having travelled to the U.S. previously without being stopped
  • Having an old criminal record with charges from many years ago
  • Having a passport
  • Having been granted a record suspension/pardon

There are certain convictions that do not make a person inadmissible to the U.S. and therefore do not require a U.S. Waiver.
However, permission to enter the country is ultimately at the border guard’s discretion, so if you plan on travelling with a criminal record we advise you to obtain a waiver prior to making travel plans.

Plan ahead and avoid the hassle and expense of canceling your Christmas vacation.  If you need a waiver, start now – you’ll be glad you did!

Call us at 1 800 298 5520.


March Break Travel Trouble?

With March Break over, we’ve been speaking with quite a few Canadians who were recently denied entry to the US.  The majority were with their kids, headed on a family vacation.
Since obtaining a waiver takes time, it’s best to start the process now so you’ll be ready to go in time for next March Break!

The problem: Denied entry into the US.
The solution:  A US Entry Waiver.

What is a waiver, really?

Basically, a waiver is a legal document that allows an otherwise-inadmissible individual into the US legally.  Waivers are granted by the US Department of Homeland Security, and you just take it with you to show the border guard when you’re travelling.

Do I need one?

A few common reasons:
- Criminal record involving a crime of moral turpitude
- Deportation / Overstay / Ban in US
- Previous refusal when trying to enter (“red flagged”)
- Being found in possession of drugs at the border

And, yes – it’s true that there are exceptions.  A single DUI, for example, does not necessarily mean you are inadmissible.  There are other exceptions – please call us at 1-800-298-5520 to speak with an experienced waiver consultant to find out for sure if you need a waiver or not.

How do I get one?

That’s what we’re here for!
While it’s true that you don’t required a third party representative to obtain an entry waiver, it is a complicated and time-confusing process with many steps.  You can call us if you have questions about the process, if you don’t know where to start, if you want to make sure you need a waiver, or if you want to start your application.

Is it permanent?

Unfortunately, no.
Waivers are granted for a period of 1 to 5 years at a time.  The length of time an individual receives is out of our hands; however, with our years of experience preparing thousands and thousands of waiver applications, we’re confident that you have a greater chance of securing a longer-term waiver if you use our services than if you go through it on your own.

Just call us!  1 800 298 5520 

Ready to get going?  It’s safe and easy to Apply Online!


How Do I Go To US with a Criminal Record

It’s that time of year again – the sun is out, the bright blue skies are enticing us, making us realize that summer is just around the corner: Vacation time. Of course, if you’re heading to the USA and you’ve got a criminal record, your options are a bit limited; the US does not allow individuals with criminal records to enter.

If you’ve been stopped previously, you will already know what that’s like. It can be frustrating and embarrassing, not to mention a big headache when you realize whatever plans you’ve made aren’t going to happen.

But I’m a good citizen, I’m a good person. You can’t seriously be telling me a mistake I made 10 years ago will stop me from travelling to the States?!

That’s unfortunately what we’re saying. The thing is it’s not just us who realize that can be quite unfair to the vast majority of individuals. Canada and the States are supposed to be good neighbours, right? So even while both countries are trying to do their best to protect us from any individuals who may cause us harm or be a threat to us – and after several incidents recently, we can understand this more than ever – the US will allow individuals who make an application to enter.

It’s called a US Waiver, or officially a Waiver of Inadmissibility.  If you’ve been stopped at the border, red flagged, or have a criminal record and wish to travel to the US, or think you may have to some time in the future, this is what you need to apply for.




Stopped from going to Superbowl because of Criminal Record

Hope everyone had a great weekend. The Superbowl seemed to be all anyone has been talking about, and coming back in to work following the Superbowl weekend, an interesting story was in the newspaper.

In short: A Canadian won free tickets to attend the Superbowl. Now you can imagine how excited this fellow must have been, for it was a dream of a lifetime. I mean, beating out four million competitors in a chance to win that ticket? Wow.

However, he found out at the Pearson Airport that in fact, he was not allowed to travel to the United States! Why not? One might ask. Because he had a criminal record.

Myles Wilkinson had a pot possession charge from 1981. Yeah, that old.

Although it’s discouraging and unfortunate to those who have to go through the experience, the fact of these stories reaching the eyes and ears of the general public is one that we appreciate. This is because a lot of people have preconceived notions about criminal records. Some people believe it doesn’t matter if the charge was really old. Or, it shouldn’t matter, right? ‘Cause that was ages ago. But no, it does matter to the authorities, just as in Wilkinson’s case.

A lot of people believe that because they have been able to travel to the States and back before, they can keep on doing so. But, again, in Wilkinson’s case, he’d travelled numerous times to the States. This time, though, was the first he had tried to go since the 9/11 attack. And that does make a difference, because after the terrorist threats, both Canada and US have strengthened the security at their border.

The law that says that it is illegal to enter the United States with a criminal record goes back way before 9/11. The  INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) was created in 1952. The devastation and impact of the events in 2001 has roused both countries to be more alert and vigilant about who they are letting in and out of their countries.

The US Customs stopped Myles Wilkinson from entering the United States. However, it doesn’t stop just there. He was also handed a 32 year ban from entering the United States, just for attempting to do so with a criminal record. Has he been better informed, he might have been able to attend the Superbowl with a US. Entry Waiver.

You can start your application today, or call for more information at the toll-free line 1-800-298-5520.


A New Year without your Criminal Record

Happy New Year!

Another year has come to a close, and it’s that time to look back and reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the past twelve months. As this year begins anew, we think of what we can do better – for ourselves and those around us. Those of us who have been hindered with a criminal record will be embracing ways to better this situation – and nothing does it like getting your criminal record sealed. All the endeavours we take from this moment on will be hopefully toward a better lifestyle, and applying for a pardon (record suspension) is one of the best ways to be free from the limitations imposed by a criminal record – in getting a job, in getting a promotion, in travelling, in getting further education… background checks have become a normal procedure in all these areas of life, and having a record should not hold you back.

This is your life, your future, and it really doesn’t have to be full of obstacles just because of a mistake you’ve made in your past.  If you would like to apply for a record suspension, or have any questions about your eligibility or the application process don’t think twice about calling us: 1-800-298-5520. We’re ready to help.

Ineligible to Enter Canada

Canada’s decision to turn away controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones has ignited a debate over what factors determine whether a person can enter the country.

Border agents can turn away any non-Canadian citizen or permanent resident looking to visit based on a number of factors, including past criminal convictions, health or financial problems, and a general risk to security.

“Everybody else has to satisfy the [Canada Border Services Agency] that they ought to come in, but to some extent it’s at the discretion of the person who is hearing your story,” said David Cohen, an immigration lawyer and senior partner at Campbell Cohen based in Montreal.

“You don’t have the right to just walk in.”

Jones, known for igniting controversy for burning a Qur’an, was denied entry to Canada for a speaking engagement in Toronto on Thursday. He said the CBSA cited a previous peace bond infraction in the U.S. and an incident related to a disputed honorary doctorate in Germany as reasons for the refusal.

The CBSA would not comment on the incident, citing privacy reasons, but did provide a broad outline about how such decisions are reached.

“Admissibility of all travellers seeking to enter Canada is considered on a case-by-case basis based on the specific facts presented to the border services officer, by the applicant, at the time of entry,” the emailed statement said. “It is up to the person to demonstrate that they meet the requirements to enter and/or stay in Canada.”

‘If you show up with a U-Haul trailer and all of your belongings in them, and you drive up from the U.S. and you say, ‘I’m here to visit Canada,’ they may be suspicious’—Immigration lawyer David Cohen

The statement said a number of factors are used to determine admissibility including security, human or international rights violations, serious or minor criminality, health, non-compliance, misrepresentation and inadmissible family members.

The office of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told CBC News the government does not have the power to keep Jones out of the country.

However, the Conservatives have proposed Bill C-43, the faster removal of foreign criminals act, which would give the immigration minister powers to determine who can be kept out of — or allowed in — the country.

Cohen said there are three main areas that border agents focus on when determining whether a person can enter the country, including criminal convictions and health or security issues, although sometimes general circumstances come into play.

“If you show up with a U-Haul trailer and all of your belongings in them, and you drive up from the U.S. and you say, ‘I’m here to visit Canada,’ they may be suspicious, “ he said. “It kind of looks like you’re going to, as they say, centralize your mode of living here.”

Inadmissible due to criminal convictions

The mandate of the CBSA is to protect Canada, Cohen said, so they will turn away persons with a highly contagious virus or an airborne, communicable disease.

Having a criminal record is another oft-cited reason for entry refusal, although its effect is dependent on the type of conviction and the passage of time. The CBSA website notes that persons with records should be “prepared to discuss their criminal convictions.”

The CBSA said “most criminal convictions … including a conviction of driving under the influence, make individuals inadmissible to Canada.”

However, Cohen said a person found guilty of a single minor offence, such as disturbing the peace, can sometimes be allowed to enter the country.

If a person has several minor convictions, they can be denied unless they have been deemed rehabilitated by the CBSA. If 10 years have passed, a person is automatically considered rehabilitated, but can apply to be considered for rehabilitation if five years have passed, Cohen said.

According to the CBSA, a pardon received in the home country where an offence occurred can be assessed, and a person’s entry to Canada could be allowed. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Serious crimes, defined as any that would result in a 10-year sentence or more if convicted in Canada, are never automatically deemed to be rehabilitated, although a person can also apply to be rehabilitated after five years.

“Many crimes in Canada have a maximum 10-year sentence or more because we want to give the judge as much leeway as possible,” he said.

Importantly, Cohen said, the time period begins once a sentence has actually been served and, in the case of relatively minor crimes, a fine has been paid. Failing to do the latter, for instance, can make a person ineligible to enter the country even if years have elapsed since the initial incident.

According to the CBSA, a pardon received in the home country where an offence has occurred can be assessed and the person could then be allowed entry to Canada. A person can also apply for a temporary resident permit if the required five years have not elapsed, which is how former media magnate Conrad Black, who was born in Montreal, was able to enter the country after he was released from a U.S. prison.

A person convicted of an offence — such as drinking and driving — who served no jail time and committed no other acts that would make them ineligible can also enter the country under a recently approved tourism facilitation plan, the CBSA said in a statement. The program waives the $200 fee for a temporary resident permit for a single visit.

Security issues, 9/11 attacks

Cohen said the CBSA also has leeway to turn away a person based on general security concerns according to information contained in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

A person can be turned away if he or she took part in espionage or subversion against a government, or engaged in terrorism or any acts of violence that might endanger Canadians.

Another clause makes a person inadmissible for “being a danger to the security of Canada,” which Cohen described as something of a “catchall.”

The impact of the events of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, not surprisingly, have also had an important impact on the ability of many people to enter Canada, Cohen said.

This is largely a result of better information sharing between governments, primarily between Canada and the United States, he said.

In the past, a person may have been able to say they had no criminal convictions but that changed after 9/11.

“Your past is now on display for the Canadian border agents,” Cohen said.

Although a person can apply to have their case reviewed or possibly appealed – as Terry Jones suggested he would do – it’s not practical for many, Cohen said.

It can sometimes be a lengthy and costly process to appeal which deters many who were simply trying to get across for a short-term visit, he said.

Cohen said some Canadians “raise their eyebrows up” when there is not a clear, defined reason for turning away a person.

“The fact that we don’t like somebody or what they do, generally doesn’t mean that we keep people from entering Canada,” he said.

Courtesy CBC.ca News


Whether you are in Canada or United States, if you have a criminal record, you will need to obtain official documentation that will permit you to travel over the border. You are going to need that travel waiver if you are hoping to travel.

You can start your application today, or call for more information at the toll-free line 1-800-298-5520.


Denied Entry at the Border

One of the top stories in the media pertains to the debate of allowing a certain man to enter Canada. Reverend Terry Jones is known as the man who organized the “Burn A Quran” day in the United States in 2010, which caused an international outrage that ensured that the plan did not go on.

Jones was expected to attend a Toronto event next week, however because of the high level of media coverage on this man’s actions, debate has sparked about his ability to enter Canada. A spokesperson for Reverend Jones says that the Jones has been denied entry to Canada.   The Canadian government said it does not comment on individual cases and that border officials determine the entry of any individual on a case by case basis.

“Every person seeking entry to Canada must demonstrate that they meet the requirements to enter the country,” said Julie Carmichael, spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

Jones was turned away at the Windsor border crossing. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers questioned Mr. Jones and searched his car and luggage for more than four hours before denying him entry on the grounds of criminality.  Jones received a letter from the CBSA saying that he was required to provide a criminal records check before attempting to enter Canada again. Jones is banned from Britain and Germany – Britain “for the public good”, and Germany because of a criminal conviction. The charge means that Jones would then be denied entry because of criminality.

While Canadians and Americans do not need visas to travel to and from the other country, both Canadian and American law states that individuals can be banned from entering the country for involvement in human-rights violations, criminal activity, security, health, or financial reasons.

Whether you are in Canada or United States, if you have a criminal record, you will need to obtain official documentation that will permit you to travel over the border. You are going to need that travel waiver if you are hoping to travel.

You can start your application today, or call for more information at the toll-free line 1-800-298-5520.


Travelling with your Criminal Record


As the summer is coming to its end, you may be looking into reasons and solutions to why you weren’t able to travel this vacation. Travelling to the US, for example, is one of the biggest issues many Canadians face when they have a criminal record.

The criminal record, however old it may be, unfortunately has always been a restriction for border crossing. There are a number of countries that screen individuals who wish to enter by their criminal record. First and foremost on this list, is USA.

With the changes in Canadian law, and increased information sharing between Canada and USA ,criminal records are more emphasized and your travel opportunities are hampered.

You are going to need that travel waiver if you are hoping to travel.  You can start your application today, or call for more information at the toll-free line 1-800-298-5520.


Travelling to Canada With a Criminal Record

This week the news has been in a frenzy in regards to the return of Conrad Black to Canada.

Conrad Black has been released today from a Florida prison after serving most of a 42-month sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice. In the process of being deported, he remains under police detention.

It is not known how long he will be held by U.S. officials or where he will be deported to. Lord Black is a British citizen, but he has been granted a one-year temporary resident permit by the Canadian government, which is valid from May 2012 to May 2013.

This is the issue of contention: because he has a U.S criminal record, he should not be allowed back into Canada.

There has been  debate in comparing Black’s ability to return to Canada (after giving up his Canadian citizenship in  2001) with other individuals who have not been disallowed entry to Canada with a criminal record.

There has been an outcry about Black being given special treatment because of his wealthy financial and high-profile status. However, what many people are not aware of, the process of issuing resident permits is a normal one.

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration had issued about 11,000 temporary resident permits to people wishing to reside in Canada in 2011, of which 6500 were issued to those with criminal records.

Being able to travel over the border with a criminal record is not a luxury granted to the rich and famous. The case of Conrad Black should not give out the wrong idea, instead because of his high-profile status, should garner attention to make individuals aware and understand the system of temporary resident permits.

Temporary resident permits are also called Canadian Waivers, which allow an individual to travel to Canada despite restrictions that are normally imposed on anyone with a criminal record.

Contact Canadian Pardon Services at 1 800 298 5520, tollfree, for more information or help with any questions.

Factors Involved in Approving a US Entry Waiver Application

Unlike the granting of a Canadian pardon, deciding which applicant will obtain a US entry waiver is a more arbitrary matter. One has to keep in mind that visiting a country other than that of which one is a citizen is always a privilege – even if it has nothing against a person, a foreign state is under no obligation to let them in. As we know, the United States exercises particular discretion regarding who they allow to enter, and routinely turn away at the border people whose name they can match to one in their criminal record database, even if the offence in question was minor and committed a long time ago. It should therefore come as no surprise that the criteria for removing this disability (via a US entry waiver) may be equally stringent. Essentially, the US government wants to be satisfied that the person they are allowing into their country presents only a minimal risk to their population and homeland security.

When considering an application for a US entry waiver, officials will take into account the following factors above all others:

• The reasons why a person wishes to travel. These can generally be summarized under the simple alternatives of business, pleasure, or visiting family. It is important, however, to give specific details about this on one’s application: the degree to which these activities are of significance to the applicant (e.g. cross-border travel being vital to a person’s chosen profession) can influence the final decision.

• The nature and gravity of the offence committed. Obviously, the authorities will be likely to issue a waiver to a person who has only one shoplifting charge to their name, while denying it to a murderer out on parole.

• The risk an applicant presents to homeland security. A person with a history of involvement in a terrorist organization or a person who has not made an effort to lead a settled, honest life after serving their sentence is at a decided disadvantage.

• How long ago the offence was committed. A crime committed when very young will probably be shown more tolerance.

• Finally, the offender’s personal situation. Such factors as having a gravely ill family member on the other side of the border can count in favour of a US entry waiver applicant receiving permission to travel.