I have a situation that requires a nonimmigrant waiver. I am a Canadian citizen and currently live in Montreal, Quebec. Twenty-five years ago I was convicted for 2 minor drug charges (possession), but the convictions pardoned in 1994. I am seeking help with preparing a Form I-192 waiver and found your website on the Internet. Do you think my case is likely to be approved?
Can you tell me if, when depositing the waiver package at Port of Entry, Customs and Border Protection officers inquire about the facts of my previous convictions or do they simply verifying that the waiver is complete? I do find this whole thing intimidating.
At this point in time, I am collecting documents (RCMP, court documents-indictment-conviction-minutes of trial). If I chose to move forward with your assistance, the documents that I would be providing will be mostly in French. I hope this is not a problem.
Finally, since my record is sealed, it is not visible to law enforcement in Canada. My question is what will happen to my waiver application when it is submitted to the Admissibility Review Office? Will the information in the application be disseminated to other jurisdictional systems? I am concerned that a possible background check may reveal my previous conviction and jeopardize my job or future promotions.
Thank you for contacting SRW Border Lawyers. As you are likely aware, Canadian citizens who are inadmissible to the U.S. and who would like to enter the U.S. for non-immigrant purposes, whether it be as a visitor for pleasure, business visitor or under a non-immigrant employment category (TN, L-1, etc.) must first apply for a nonimmigrant waiver (Form I-192). Due to your two (2) previous minor drug convictions, you are most likely inadmissible to the United States INA §212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) and require a nonimmigrant waiver under INA §212(d)(3).
Since the facts and circumstances of each waiver case is different, SRW Border Lawyers makes it a practice to first review each case in detail before confirming that a waiver is necessary. For example, we would want to know how old you were at the time of these convictions and how these proceedings were handled – and confirm whether you truly have a ‘conviction’ for immigration purposes. A consultation provides us the best opportunity to review each aspect of a case and address any issues or concerns you may have. Once we confirm that a waiver is necessary, we will assist you with collecting all necessary documents, complete all forms, and prepare a detailed legal brief outlining your eligibility for the nonimmigrant waiver under precedent case law.
Our firm has prepared numerous nonimmigrant waivers for clients throughout Canada, and each case brought with it a different set of facts and varying degrees of complexity and seriousness. While we never guarantee that a waiver application will be approved, we never take a case that we believe has little or no chance of succeeding.
Based on the information you provided in your email, there appear to be a number of favorable factors in a prospective nonimmigrant waiver application on your behalf. Your convictions, presumably the only ones you have, were from almost twenty-five years ago and you have not shown a history of recidivism. Other factors we would want to stress is how you have been a productive and respected member of society. Additionally, were you granted a pardon or was your case just sealed? If granted a pardon, we would want to highlight the favorable treatment you have received from your own government. As far as your French documents, generally, they would need to be translated before being submitted with your nonimmigrant waiver application. We sometimes obtain fee quotes for our clients from our third party vendor and let our clients choose how to proceed regarding the translations.
Submitting A Waiver Application at a Port of Entry
Submitting your waiver application at a port of entry is limited to paying the appropriate government fee and submitting your application. This is not a time where Customs and Border Protection officers address the merits of your waiver or question you about your previous convictions.
Admissibility Review Office (“ARO”)
The extent of the Admissibility Review Office’s (ARO) information dissemination is unknown. Once a waiver is filed, the agency provides little insight on the process other than providing (often incorrect) timetables for adjudication. In recent years, there has been a trend toward consolidating data among law enforcement agencies throughout Canada and the United States; however, we have yet to encounter an issue similar to the one you describe in your question.
Please continue to collect the documents that you outlined in your email (i.e., RCMP, court documents, certificate of disposition, minutes of trial). In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or concerns, or would like to set up a consultation to speak with us to discuss the specifics of your case, please call our office. We look forward to speaking with you.