A US waiver – more correctly called a Waiver of Inadmissibility – is an American document and is a must-have item after US border officials have requested that one be acquired prior to the next time you enter the United States.
Upon entering the US, the passport is swiped and a CPIC check is done. Another name for CPIC checks (pronounced ‘See-Pick) is ‘background check’. CPIC stands for Canadian Police Information Centre and is the database where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) keep criminal information. With one swipe your criminal record will be on the US border agents’ computer screen. Once it’s there, it’s there forever. Getting a record suspension (formally pardon) will not remove your criminal charge from the US database as a record suspension (rs) is a Canadian document and is not recognized in US territory.
You can apply for a waiver without having a pardon but don’t make the mistake of thinking if you have a pardon, you won’t need a waiver.
A criminal record is created whenever anyone is arrested and fingerprinted. Officials and agencies can access those records even if the person is acquitted. Because of a backlog of records and potential delays in updating records, your acquittal may not be noted and you may be denied entry even if you were never actually convicted of a crime.
Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
CIMT refers to conduct that is generally contrary to the accepted rules of society. A CMIT would include a violation of any controlled substance law. The most common would be for possession of marijuana, stolen property, fraud and theft over $1000.00. Once convicted or even just charged, a person must obtain a waiver from Customs Border Protection (CPB). If you do not disclose stayed or withdrawn charges and CBP discovers them in your record, that may be considered a CIMT and you will have to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility.
Waivers, unlike record suspensions, must be renewed. Initial waivers are usually good for one year and subsequent waivers can be authorized from 1 to 5 years. Each renewal means a new application with an application fee. Currently, the fee is $585 payable in US funds.
Drop in or call Impact Pardons. We can take the confusion out of, “Do I need a pardon or do I need a waiver?” Sometimes you just need to talk it out and you’ll find you only need one application. Impact Pardons will help you move in the right direction. IPP will save you some money and put you on the road for better tomorrows, today.
Examples of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault Causing Bodily Harm or With Intent to Cause Harm
- Assault with a Weapon
- Assault with intent to cause bodily harm
- Child Abuse (in some cases)
- Endangerment and Actual Injury
- Passing Bad Cheques – with element of Fraud
- Sexual Assault
- Trespass with Intent to Commit a CIMT
(*Source: McWhirter, R. J. The Criminal Lawyer’s Guide to Immigration Law: Questions and Answers, Alberta Bar Association: 2006, 2nd Ed., p. 133-136.)