Here you will find many of the more common questions relating to Canadian pardons (record suspensions) and the US entry waivers answered for your convenience.
Q: Your costs are slightly more than other organizations. Why is that?
Since a waiver is granted for a period of 1, 2 or 5 years we believe in preparing the best application possible. We would rather submit an excellent application once every 5 years than a mediocre application every 1 year or 2. We are also very upfront about all of the costs involved in this process. It is not uncommon for companies to hide certain fees and charge for them down the road. We don't like doing that. If you are looking for a cheap waiver service you should look for another company. If you are looking for a company that will do everything possible to secure you a 5 year waiver you have found the right one. We cannot guarantee the outcome of your waiver application but we promise to do everything we can to make it a good one.
Q: Once I have a waiver can I go to the United States whenever I want?
With a US entry waiver you may travel freely between borders so long as the waiver is valid. Entry Waivers are currently granted for 1, 2 or 5 year validation periods. The period you receive depends largely on the following: 1. How well the application is prepared. 2. The extent of the criminal record/reason for refusal. 3. The nature of your offence(s). 4. The amount of time passed since your last conviction. Considerable attention is also paid to the application itself because the review process is completely subjective. Therefore, it is strongly advised to have your application professionally prepared by the National Pardon Centre since we confidently prepare the best applications in the business.
Q: If I haven’t been stopped at the border should I apply for a waiver just to be safe?
In this situation a waiver is an option for those clients who wish to be absolutely sure they are not at risk. However, you should be warned that once a waiver application is submitted the FBI will download the details into their files and they will never be removed, regardless of a Canadian pardon. You will then need a valid waiver for the rest of your life.
Q: If I have a waiver is there any risk I that will not be admitted to the US?
No! US border guards are given a lot of authority and discretion in their job but a US entry waiver is granted by the Department of Homeland Security. It is a superior governing body so border guards have no right to refuse anyone entry to the country who is in possession of a valid waiver.
Q: I have already been stopped at the border but I need to go anyway. What can I do?
Tthere are two options. You can either try to enter illegally and risk confiscation of your property and vehicle, in addition to possible jail time, or you can process a United States entry waiver. The National Pardon Centre does not suggest anyone attempt to cross the border illegally at any time or at any border, by any means of travel whatsoever. Simply put, the risks are too high.
Q: I have been to the US and I have not been caught. Why do I need a waiver?
You need a waiver to be in compliance with the law and to ensure you are not at risk. The best thing to do if you have a criminal record but have not been stopped at the border is to apply for a Canadian pardon and stay out of the United States until it is granted. Once a Canadian pardon has been granted the United States cannot find out about your criminal record unless you tell them. However, American law states that Canadian pardons are NOT recognized. Therefore, legally speaking, a waiver is still required for people who have been granted a pardon.
Q: If I am caught trying to enter the United States illegally what happens?
The first time a person is caught trying to enter the US illegally they will usually be refused, sent home and told to obtain a United States entry waiver (I-192 application). Ignorance of the law in this regard is generally tolerated for first offences. However, subsequent attempts to enter the United States illegally will most likely result in confiscation of property (including vehicle) and possibly jail time. The only way to be sure you are not at risk is to have no criminal record associated with your name or to be in possession of a valid US entry waiver.
Q: I had a pardon but the Americans could still see my Criminal Record. Why is that?
There are several reasons this could be happening. One is that it is possible the Americans were previously made aware of your record and you did not remember or did not realize it at the time it happened. Another explanation is that the border guard "bluffed" you. American Border guards are aware of the Canadian pardon program and will sometimes try to trick you into revealing that a pardon was obtained. You need to be aware that obtaining a pardon in order to cross the border is taking advantage of a legal loophole. American law says you must disclose your pardon to them.
Q: If I have a criminal record can I still travel to the United States?
No! It is illegal for anyone with a criminal record to enter the United States, unless you are an American citizen, you have Native American status, or you have been granted a United States entry waiver. However, there are a few criminal charges that, technically speaking, do not prevent a person from entering the United States. One example is drinking and driving. The problem with these exceptions is that border guards have the authority to restrict you at any time if they see fit. Often criminal record checks reveal only that a charge was laid and says nothing about the nature of the offense committed. At the very least we advise people with these kinds of charges to carry their court records with them when crossing the border. Better yet, stay away from the border and obtain a Canadian pardon as a pardoned criminal record is not visible to American border guards.