Crossing the US border with a criminal conviction
If you have a criminal conviction, you may not be admissible to the USA. A criminal conviction may affect one’s ability to be admitted under a temporary status; such as a visitor or a worker. It may also affect one’s ability to obtain permanent residence in the USA. The following deals with waivers for temporary status.
Many people travel to USA without any complications for years without being affected by a finding of inadmissibility. However, a record of prior admissions into the USA does not guarantee future admissions. Therefore it is possible for some travelers to find out about their inadmissibility to the US upon making an admission request at the border. This means that they present themselves at the border; ready to travel, but are denied entry.
Criminal convictions can make travelers inadmissible, but are the not the only reason for inadmissibility. There are many other reasons related to the traveler’s health, financial situation, reason for travel, etc which can have an effect on the outcome. If you are found to be inadmissible because of a criminal conviction often times you are able to overcome the inadmissibility by applying for what is commonly called a waiver.
A waiver is typically prepared by completing form I-192, an “Application for Advance permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant” which can be found on USCIS’s website, as well as a G-325A. See https://www.uscis.gov/forms. If the applicant is represented, a form G-28 will also be necessary. Additionally, supporting documents such as police certificates from the country of residence or citizenship, letters of reference and other forms are also necessary.
A complete package may be presented at a border crossing and filed via USCBP. The application will be forwarded to the “Admission Review Office” with processing times typically varying from 4 months to a year. It is very important to ensure that your contact information is accurate so that the ARO is able to correspond with you. When the ARO asks for additional documents or information, it will typically give you a limited amount of time to respond. Failure to respond accordingly can result in a refusal of the application.
If a waiver is granted for the first time, it will typically be granted for a period of one year and will specify the admission class such as B1/B2. You have to apply for a new waiver in a timely fashion, before the previous one expires, in order to maintain the ability to travel to the USA.
If you have been advised by a CBP officer that you require a criminal waiver, contact ACHTARI LAW PC in order to discuss your case as soon as possible. Negar Achtari is a NY licensed attorney practicing exclusively in the field of immigration law in Ottawa, Ontario.
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