Commissionaires Great Lakes can assist you with our easy, confidential and affordable USA entry waiver services. Our friendly and knowledgeable services agents can help you obtain your entry waiver in a completely confidential environment, with full respect to your privacy and individual rights. Using advanced digital technology for a reliable capture of fingerprints, we are able to process your application quickly and affordably, with no hidden fees. Our services are available in multiple languages at many locations. 

Commissionaires Great Lakes can assist you with our easy, confidential and affordable USA entry waiver service:

  • Friendly, professional, and knowledgeable service agents to help you
  • Conducted in a confidential setting – individual rights and privacy are assured
  • Low-cost alternative to other providers. No hidden fees
  • Using advanced digital technology for reliable capture of fingerprints to process your application quicker
  • Services are offered in multiple languages at many locations

The USA can refuse admission to any person convicted of a criminal offence. Records of criminal convictions are kept in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. (CPIC) is connected to the US National Crime Information Centre (NCIC), which is accessible by US Customs, Immigration and State Police departments. When a USA official has checked a record, it is kept in the NCIC even after a pardon is obtained in Canada. A USA entry waiver will be added to your record, resolving any further issues related to cross-border travel. 

Contact a Commissionaires processing location for an initial, confidential appointment. Our friendly, knowledgeable USA service agents will review the application process and answer all your questions. During this appointment, your digital fingerprints will be taken as a first step in the application process. Please ensure you have all the necessary identification in hand before you visit our office.

Identification Required

Applicants must bring two pieces of valid, current government-issued identification, and one must be a photo ID. It is recommended that applicants bring with them a letter or file number from the requesting source, if applicable.

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate
  • Canadian citizenship card
  • Permanent resident card
  • Certificate of Indian status
  • Immigration documents i.e. work or study permits
  • Military Family ID card (MFID)
  • Record of Landing for Citizenship Applicant
  • Certificate of live birth
  • Nexus card



Some of the items required to prepare your application include:

  • A letter from your employer stating current occupation and length of service, including the need for you to travel to the USA if applicable
  • If self-employed, a copy of your last tax return
  • Three (3) letters of reference from members of the community (not relatives)
  • Two (2) recent passport photographs
  • A copy of passport or driver’s license showing nationality
  • $585 US payable to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when your application is presented

There are various costs associated with the preparation of an application for a USA entry waiver. These fall into three primary categories:

  • Costs associated with getting your criminal record files (e.g., digital fingerprinting)
  • Commissionaires service fees (contact the location closest to you for details)
  • $585 US payable to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

The application process for a USA Entry Waiver can take from six to 18 months, depending on its complexity.

The most important thing to know when you are travelling to the USA is that if you have a Canadian criminal record, or if you are suspected of having a criminal record, the Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), can legally prevent you from entering the country. DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) have access to RCMP databases such as CPIC and APIS.

Once the border agent enters your name into their database, your criminal file will show up with an FPS# number attached to your name. This FPS# prevents you from entering the USA.

If you have a Canadian criminal record, you are at risk of being denied entry into the USA. You can ensure you will not be denied entry to the USA by obtaining a USA entry waiver. Anyone granted a USA entry waiver should not be at risk of refused entry to the USA. A USA entry waiver overrides any personal discretion border guards may have.

Depending on your situation, you might need (1) a pardon and/or (2) a USA entry waiver. If you have never been refused entry into the USA for having a criminal record, a Canadian pardon may suffice to enter the USA.

However, if you were denied entry at the border due to a criminal record, you will need a USA entry waiver. If you were stopped at the border and refused entry because of your criminal record, your record will forever stay in the US Department of Homeland Security criminal database. Canadian pardons are not recognized by the US government if they are aware of your conviction, but US entry waivers are.

If you have not been refused entry prior to getting your pardon, the border guards and the Department of Homeland Security may not know of your previous criminal record unless you tell them at the border.

A USA entry waiver is a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that grants entry to a Canadian citizen with a conviction into the US. The waiver will remove all risks of being refused entry at the border. Because the DHS is considered a “superior governing body” to the border guards, it overrides any discretion the guards might have when you try to cross the border. A USA entry waiver can be granted for a period of one (1), two (2) or five (5) years by the US Government and can be renewed. (It is recommended you start the renewal process six months prior to the expiry of your US entry waiver.) The length of the waiver normally depends on the extent or seriousness of the crimes you have committed and the period of time that has elapsed since conviction. Once you have received your US entry waiver, you will be legally permitted to enter the US despite your criminal record.

You do not need to apply for, or receive a Record Suspension (Pardon) before applying for a USA entry waiver. If you need to travel to the USA and have a Canadian criminal record, you can choose to apply only for a USA entry waiver to ensure access to the US.

However, if you have a Canadian criminal record and have not been pardoned, and the requisite amount of time has elapsed, you may want to consider applying for a pardon at the same time. Commissionaires offers a fast affordable pardons service.

A pardon is not recognized by the USA border guards. If, at any time, you have been denied access to the USA, you will still be denied access to the US even if you have a pardon. You must apply for a USA entry waiver.

If you are deemed to be high-risk to re-offend, your application for a US entry waiver will most likely be turned down. Generally, applicants with numerous drug trafficking and/or sex related offences are considered to be high-risk to re-offend. Other reasons why your USA entry waiver might be denied include: (1) the risk of harm to society if the applicant is admitted, (2) the seriousness of the applicant’s prior violation(s) of immigration or criminal law, if any, and (3) the nature of the applicant’s reasons for seeking Entry.

The USA border guards are given permission by USA law to refuse entry to anyone for any and all convictions showing up on your criminal record without taking into account the details of the crime(s). Anyone granted a USA entry waiver should be at no risk of refused Entry to the USA. A USA entry waiver overrides any personal discretion border guards may have.

There are numerous risks involved in trying to enter the USA illegally. You are not only exposing yourself to a refusal of entry, but also confiscation of your property, which could include the seizure of your vehicle. You will likely be detained or incarcerated for entering the USA in an illegal manner. There are numerous risks involved in entering the USA illegally such as:

  • Arrest
  • Confiscation of your vehicle
  • Conviction
  • Deportation
  • Detention
  • Inability to travel internationally via the US
  • Incarceration
  • Fines
  • Loss of travel expenses
  • Refused entry/voluntary departure
  • Removal
  • Lost business opportunity
  • Missed vacation opportunity

Anyone accompanying you to the US faces the same risk as you because of your inadmissibility. If you are travelling with a friend or relative that is aware of your inadmissibility and you do not have a US entry waiver, your friend or relative could be subject to all of the above risks AND they can be charged and convicted with harboring an illegal alien, an offence that would make them inadmissible to the USA.

It is important to mention that although you may think you are still in Canada while trying to cross the border, you will most likely be under USA jurisdiction if you lie to US border guards.

Note: This rule only applies to the USA. You may not be prevented from travelling to other countries around the world. However, if your method of travelling to another country is flying, you will still be prevented from landing in the United States to do a flight transfer.