Waiver Issues

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If you reside in Canada and have been advised by a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBP) that you need a criminal waiver to enter the U.S., call Berardi Immigration Law for a consultation. We will personally review your case, determine if CBP’s 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 need a nonimmigrant U.S. waiver to enter the U.S.

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: fraud, theft, or crimes relating to controlled substances. Additionally, persons previously removed or denied entry from the U.S. may also be inadmissible.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has access to criminal records, therefore any individual with a criminal record runs the risk of being denied entry to the United States, even if it is only for a brief visit.

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


A petty offense exception will apply if:

  • Only one conviction is involved;
  • The maximum penalty (written in the law at the time the offense occurred) is less than one year; and
  • The individual was actually sentenced to a period of less than 6 months.

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. 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.

The Petty Offense Exception does NOT apply to drug related offenses.

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