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Criminal Waivers

If you reside in Canada and have been advised by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBP) that you need a criminal waiver to enter the U.S., be sure to call Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation.  We will personally review your case, determine if CBPs assessment is valid, and help you formulate a strategy to secure your future admissibility from Canada into the U.S.

If you’ve ever been arrested in Canada or anywhere in the world, you may require advanced permission to enter the U.S. as a nonimmigrant, also known as a nonimmigrant waiver.  Persons with criminal charges and/or convictions may be inadmissible to the United States regardless of how long ago it was or how minor the charges.  Typical offenses that render a person inadmissible include, but are not limited to: fraud, theft, other crimes involving moral turpitude, or crimes relating to controlled substances.  Additionally, persons previously removed or denied entry from the U.S. may also be inadmissible.

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has access to certain foreign criminal record databases, therefore any individual with a criminal record runs the risk of being denied entry to the U.S., even if it is only for a brief visit.  As technology advances and access to criminal record databases increase, it is not uncommon for an individual to learn they are inadmissible decades after a triggering incident and prior entries to the U.S. without issue. 

Please note that Canadian pardons are NOT recognized by the United States and a U.S. nonimmigrant waiver is still required for entry.  Do not waste your money on a Canadian pardon; it will not help your border-crossing problems. The U.S. government does NOT recognize foreign pardons.

Applying for a Nonimmigrant Waiver via CBP’s Electronic Secured Adjudication Forms Environment (e-SAFE)

What is e-SAFE?

e-SAFE is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) new online system that allows eligible nonimmigrants who do not require a visa to enter the United States, such as citizens of Canada, to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility via Form I-192.

Beginning mid-year 2019, eligible citizens of visa exempt countries can apply online using Form I-192 through e-SAFE.  Applicants who complete electronic filing via e-SAFE will need to go to an e-SAFE designated port of entry within 45-days to complete the biometrics portion (fingerprints and photograph) of the waiver process. 

Applicants who submit their applications online will be able to check the status and progression of their application, receive electronic communications, and receive electronic notification of a decision in near real time. The processing time for waiver applications submitted online via e-SAFE are significantly less than the traditional paper form applications manually submitted at the port of entry.

Required Documentation

The following documents must be submitted to CBP via the e-SAFE portal: 

Additional Optional Documentation

The following documents are recommended optional documents that can be submitted including: 

The Berardi Immigration Law Process

Our goal at Berardi Immigration Law is to make this process as seamless as possible. We will create your account in the e-SAFE portal, input the necessary information, upload the required documents, and submit the application. Once submitted, we will send a physical copy of the waiver application to take with you to the designated port of entry to complete the biometrics portion of the waiver process. After your biometrics are taken, your application will be adjudicated by the Admissibility Review Office (ARO) and a decision will be made.  As mentioned above, we will receive an email notification once the decision has been made and notify you immediately. 

Petty Offense Exception

Generally, a noncitizen who is convicted of, or formally admits committing one Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), is inadmissible to the U.S. without a nonimmigrant waiver.  However, there is an exception, commonly referred to as the “Petty Offense Exception,” that when applicable means a noncitizen is actually admissible to the U.S. 

A petty offense exception will apply if:

It is necessary to look at the criminal code for the year the offense occurred.  Petty Offense Exceptions are governed by the maximum penalty for that offense at the time the offense occurred.  Therefore, even if you only paid a fine or served time that was less than one year, if the maximum penalty written in the law for that offense requires serving over a year, then that will govern.  Please note, the Petty Offense Exception does NOT apply to drug related offenses.

Additional Resources

If you’d like to stay up to date on immigration news and issues that may impact you, you can get updates by email.  Click here to sign up now.  We also recommend checking out our YouTube and following us on LinkedIn for the latest developments and updates.  If you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation, contact Berardi Immigration Law today


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