Canada Cross Border Shopping

For many Canadians, cross border shopping is a regular occurrence. It’s fun to take a quick drive into the US to get fuel or to buy lottery tickets that could be worth millions. Being absent for 48 hours or more comes with the additional perk of a duty-free personal exemption allowance of CAD $800 per adult. 

But if you’re one of the estimated 3 million+ Canadians with a criminal record, this seemingly normal process of crossing the US border can’t be taken so lightly. If you have a Canadian criminal record, no matter how many years ago your offense took place, it’s illegal for you to enter the US.

If US Customs and Border Protection becomes aware of your criminal record and deems you inadmissible, you could be refused entry into the US at any time, or even on a permanent basis. That planned trip to Disneyland could quickly become a vacation nightmare when you attempt to cross the border with your family.

What can you do if you have a criminal record in Canada but wish to travel to the US? Applying for a US Entry Waiver could be your solution to the hassle-free border experience many Canadians have become accustomed to.

A US Entry Waiver, issued directly by the Department of Homeland Security, is valid for a 1-, 2-, or 5-year period. US border guards must adhere to the conditions of a valid waiver, so there’s no chance of an individual guard using their discretion or authority to keep you out of the US.

Having a valid US Entry Waiver means you can travel to the US anytime you’d like - wouldn’t it be nice to have this option and put the control put back into your own hands?

While you could opt to file your own US Entry Waiver application and hope for the best, the better choice would be to seek the assistance of a professional waiver processing service. Their knowledge and experience could mean the difference between successfully securing a wavier, or between being granted a 1-year waiver over a 5-year waiver for the same application cost. 

Since all criminal records are not the same, a reputable waiver service company will work with your unique circumstances while disclosing all fees upfront, and by offering options such as equal payment plans, email and/or telephone support, as well as expedited in-house consideration.

It’s important to note the US government is no faster at doing things than our own Canadian counterpart. The average processing time for a US Entry Waiver application is between 9 and 12 months, so be sure to proactively start your US Entry Waiver application before making any travel plans.

And while using a processing service does not guarantee your US Entry Waiver will be secured, a professionally prepared application will help to obtain the best possible outcome given your individual circumstances. And just think, your dream Disneyland vacation or a quick run to Vegas, could be on the horizon after all. 


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