Travel and U.S. Waivers

Information Only – We do not offer legal advice related to U.S. Waivers

The consequences on travel for a Conviction of Assault varies depending on the country you wish to visit, the specifics of its law, and the details of your conviction. For travel to the US, a conviction for a crime of “moral turpitude” will bar you from entering the country. Currently, Simple Assault is not a crime of “moral turpitude” and a conviction will likely not prevent your from travelling to the US. However, the situations vary. For example, if your Criminal Record discloses multiple convictions and mentions of Simple Assault, you may be denied entry.

On the other end of the spectrum, Aggravated Assault is a crime of “moral turpitude” and will likely prevent you from travelling to the US. For Assault crimes in between these two ends of the spectrum – Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Assault with a Weapon, Assaulting a Peace Officer – the consequence of a conviction will vary. It is best to check with US Customs and Border Protection to make sure you will be allowed to enter the country.

If you are prohibited from entering the US due to your Conviction of Assault, you can apply in advance of your travel plans for a Waiver. Please see below for more information on Waivers.

If you have a Conviction of Assault and wish to travel to a country apart from the US, you should contact the embassy or consulate of that country to inquire whether you are allowed entry.

Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a U.S. Waiver?
What is the application process for obtaining a U.S Waiver and what documents do I need?
What is a Fingerprint Chart?
Where do I need to send my application?
Can I check the status of my application?
What other situations would I need a US Waiver, other than a Conviction of an Assault-related offence?

What is a U.S. Waiver?

If you are convicted of a crime that would bar you from entering the US (i.e. a crime of “moral turpitude”), you can apply to US Customs and Border Protection for a Waiver. A Waiver allows a person to travel to the US for business or tourism for a period of up to 90 days. You need to apply for a Waiver even if you have been pardoned for your offence. Additionally, if you have been discharged, you may need to apply for a Waiver if the discharge still shows up on your Criminal Record.

If you are granted a Waiver, you will be allowed to travel to the US for a certain period of time. US Waivers can last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years, after which they will have to be renewed.

The application process can be lengthy, sometimes taking up to one year. It costs $585 (US) to apply, regardless of whether you are granted or denied your Waiver. For information on the application process, see below.

Applicants from Canada who are not Canadian citizens, but are either landed immigrants or citizens of other countries, should contact a US consulate to seek information on their situation.

What is the application process for obtaining a U.S Waiver and what documents do I need?

In order to apply for a Waiver, you need to submit a number of forms and documents. It is a complicated and lengthy process, and a mistake can result in a rejection, costing you the $585 application fee. Furthermore, the rules for the application process often change. For example, as of April 1, 2016, you must have an e-passport in order to use the Visa Waiver Program. Another new rule is that Canadian citizens who also have a citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, or have travelled to one of these countries since March 1, 2011 are not eligible for a Waiver. Due to the constant flux of rules, and the complicated nature of the application process, it is a good idea to obtain a lawyer to help you along.

If you are a landed immigrant who is inadmissible due to your Criminal Record, you need to contact the local US consulate. Consular officers may recommend a Waiver for some ineligible applicants.

Citizens of Canada who are inadmissible to the US due to their Criminal Record need to provide:

  • A completed form I-192
  • A fingerprint chart FD-258. It costs $39 + HST (CAD) to obtain. More information on this below.
  • Biographic information form G-325A –
  • A copy of your official police record. This can be done by contacting your local RCMP office, and going to a fingerprint location to submit your fingerprints. There is a $25 (CAD) fee for this. The RCMP will then send you a letter with your record that needs to be submitted with your application.
  • A Criminal Record from any other country where you may have one.
  • Evidence of your citizenship – e.g. citizenship certificate, which can be obtained with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • A statement of the intended purpose of your activities in the US.
  • Official court record of your conviction for each crime you committed anywhere in the world.
  • A statement signed by you, explaining the circumstances of each arrest, conviction and fine imposed.
  • Evidence of your reform or rehabilitation such as counselling programs completed, current employment, marital status, community service, etc. and any information you believe strengthens your Waiver request.

What is a Fingerprint Chart?

A Fingerprint Chart (FD-258) is a document, containing images of your fingerprints, used by the FBI to search their database for a Criminal Record. It is used to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from the FBI and is a required part of a US Waiver application.

The FBI has provided guidelines on how to complete the Fingerprint Chart and ensure that your fingerprints are acceptable. However it is recommended that you have your fingerprints taken by a professional. When you file your Waiver application at a Pre-clearance office in Canada or a Port of Entry, your fingerprints will be taken at the office at the time of application at no additional cost.

You can also ensure that your fingerprints are legible and acceptable by having your fingerprints scanned by the RCMP’s Worldwide Forensic Services. You will need to provide two pieces of ID and the fee of $39 + HST. There are two locations in the GTA – one in Scarborough and one in Mississauga. See website for more details:

Where do I need to send my application?

You can submit your application at a major Port of Entry, at the US Border, or a Preclearance Office. You must submit your application in person.

There is a list online of Ports of Entry that accept Waiver applications. You can also file your application in person with a Preclearance Office. There is one located in Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Can I check the status of my application?

You may check the status of your application. However, US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) states that you can only make an inquiry 130 days after you have submitted your application. Furthermore, the CPB warns that requesting status updates may slow down the already lengthy process of reviewing your application.

What other situations would I need a US Waiver, other than a Conviction of an Assault-related offence?

A person can be denied entry into the US for a number of reasons other than a Criminal Record. US Waivers are not just for people with Criminal Records, but cover these other grounds for inadmissibility as well.

Some reasons why a person might seek a US Waiver include, but are not limited to:

  • Health reasons – if you are diagnosed with a communicable disease listed by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, you may be denied entry into the US. Some of the diseases on the list are syphilis, leprosy, gonorrhoea, and Class A tuberculosis, among others.
  • Immigration violations and overstayed visits – a person who entered the US illegally or overstayed their visit may be banned from entering the US for a period of time. The ban can range from 3-10 years, depending on how long the person stayed in the US illegally. Such persons can also apply for a Waiver to enter the country for travel purposes during their ban.
  • Escaping military service – a person who left the US as a way of unlawfully leaving the US armed forces may be prohibited from entering the US.
  • Security reasons – persons with any involvement with terrorism or terrorist organizations are banned from entering the US and may not apply for a Waiver.

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