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US Entry Waiver: How long is it good for?

A US Entry Waiver can be good for six months to five years. You might see references to permanent waivers online; however, those references are out of date. In fact, the US government no longer offers permanent waivers.

What is a US Entry Waiver?

A US Waiver is a permit that allows you to overcome inadmissibility. For instance, you may be inadmissible if you have a criminal record.

Not all Canadians will be inadmissible with a criminal record. It depends on the nature of the offence. In the US, this is determined by a concept known as “moral turpitude.” This is quite hard to define and frequently changes. We do know that DUI does not normally result in a ban on US entry.

On the other hand, border agents will almost always bar you for drug offences.

Can I request a longer waiver?

The six-month waiver is quite rare. You are more likely to receive a one-year waiver on the first try. However, sometimes people get frustrated when the US gives them a one-year waiver.

Unfortunately, you cannot request a longer waiver. The good news is that it will usually be longer the second time you apply. In fact, we are seeing more and more clients being given five year waivers on the first try.

The government will decide on the length of the waiver based on the seriousness of the offence and how long ago it was. There is no formula that will tell you how long your waiver will be. The Department of Homeland Security has a lot of discretion as do border agents. In addition to the nature of the offence, they will look at your explanations for what happened and the quality of the references. The more serious and recent the offence, the more important it is to put together a convincing application.

What can you do?

Because the Department of Homeland Security has so much discretion, it’s important to put together a good application. Make sure you don’t skip any steps. Make sure your letter of circumstances does not paint you in a bad light. When describing your offences, don’t be defensive or argumentative. Simply state what happened.

About six months before your waiver expires, you should start the process again. You’ll have to collect many of the same documents and fill out the same form. However, it will seem much easier the second time, and you have a greater chance of getting the five-year waiver (if you haven’t already).

If you feel like you’re a pro after the first application, we offer a self-guided process, which will save you money and provide assistance to get it done right.

If you need assistance preparing your US Entry Waiver, contact us today at 1-866-972-7366.

4 responses to “US Entry Waiver: How long is it good for?

    1. Hi Paula,
      If you want to get a US Entry Waiver, you can go to the website of the Customs and Border Protection for the USA and download the forms and steps. Or, if you need help, please call us for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366

  1. I was given in 1994 or 1995 a letter and card with picture that was supposed to be lifetime waiver for USA you people got it for me lve been told it’s still valid ? Could you let me know. Thank you

    1. Hi Steve,
      If you can find the waiver, it is still valid. Unfortunately, we would not have records from that long ago. You can try to obtain a copy from the Department of Homeland Security, however, they may not give it to you. They may make you apply for a five-year waiver if you can’t find the lifetime waiver. Lifetime waivers are not issued anymore.

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