Twenty-seven years ago, I was convicted of 2 minor drug charges (possession). Do I need to file a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant?

Question:

I am a Canadian citizen that lives in Ontario, Canada. Twenty-seven years ago, I was convicted of 2 minor drug charges (possession). The Canadian government eventually pardoned the convictions. When I tried to enter the United States several months ago I was told that I needed to file for and obtain an approved Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant. What is the filing process for an I-192 waiver application? I am in the process of collecting court documents, but prefer to have a lawyer prepare the waiver. Can you help me? Also, have you heard of cases similar to mine? I have never experienced such difficulties at the border before.

 Answer:

Thank you for your question. An inadmissible Canadian citizen who would like to enter the U.S. for a non-immigrant purpose, must obtain an approved Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant. Your two (2) drug convictions most likely render you inadmissible to the United States; however, I would like to review your record before making any recommendations (i.e., apply for a waiver).

Your experience is not an isolated one. More and more Canadians are encountering issues at the border due to previous criminal convictions. For example, a man and his family recently sought to gain admission into the United States to join a cruise in Florida later that day. The man in this scenario traveled between the United States and Canada without incident, despite having a previous criminal record. However, on this occasion, the inspecting office asked the man about any past criminal convictions, which the man truthfully answered in the affirmative. The man was deemed inadmissible, but he was nonetheless paroled into the United States for the limited purpose of joining the cruise with his family. It is uncertain why the inspecting officer asked the man about his criminal record, however, there has been a trend toward consolidating data among law enforcement agencies throughout Canada and the United States. The result has been more issues for Canadians attempting to cross the border.

Filing a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, at a local Port of Entry

Once you prepare your waiver application, you may submit your application at a local port of entry. When you appear at a port of entry, you submit your application and pay the appropriate government fee. Unlike the process of being inspected for admission, when you submit your application, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will not adjudicate your waiver application or question you about your criminal record. After you submit your application, it is then forwarded by CBP to the Admissibility Review Office (“ARO”). The ARO will adjudicate your waiver and make a determination on whether or not to approve your application. The adjudication process can take from six months up to one year, so delays must be taken into consideration before making future plans to the United States.

Consultation

Based on the information in your email, you may need a nonimmigrant waiver. Please call the office and set up a consultation to discuss your case further. A consultation provides the best opportunity to review your case and address any issues or concerns you may have. In the event that a waiver is necessary, we will guide you through the entire process.