New procedures for Canadians filing applications for non-immigrant waivers of inadmissibility

Many Canadians who have been found inadmissible, and wish to continue traveling to the United States must apply for a non-immigrant waiver of inadmissibility. Common reasons for inadmissibility include past conviction for a “crime involving moral turpitude,” drug-related convictions, and misrepresentation when applying for admission to the US. Anyone who has made a material misrepresentation when applying for an immigration benefit is also subject to expedited removal and a 5-year bar from applying for admission to the US. Canadians with an inadmissibility finding may apply for a waiver by filing Form I-192 with US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), along with the filing fee ($585) and supporting evidence. Canadians subject to a 5-year bar may request a waiver by filing Form I-212 with CBP along with the filing fee ($930) and supporting evidence.

Recently, CBP implemented the Electronic Secured Adjudication Forms Environment (“E-SAFE”) system for Canadians seeking waivers of inadmissibility. Under the old system, Canadian waiver applicants would submit their application, biometrics (fingerprints and photograph), and pay the fee in-person at a Class ‘A’ port of entry. With the new E-SAFE system, they may complete the forms and pay the filing fee online, and upload their supporting documents. Once they have a receipt they may appear at a designated port of entry to submit their biometrics. Although applicants may still use the old system, the E-SAFE system appears to be more efficient.

The time an applicant spends submitting the application is reduced because the process at the port of entry only involves biometrics, rather than review of the application and transaction processing. Under the old system CBP would often check an application against its internal list of documentary evidence that included additional items not listed in the official instructions or Code of Federal Regulations. Under the E-SAFE system, applicants only need to present their receipt for the filing fee at the port of entry to submit their biometrics within 45 days of submitting their application.

As of this writing, only the following ports of entry can process biometrics for applications submitted using the E-SAFE system:

  • Peace Bridge, New York
  • Lewiston Bridge, New York
  • Rainbow Bridge, New York
  • Point Roberts, Washington
  • Peace Arch, Washington
  • Pacific Highway, Washington
  • Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario.

However, CBP is adding locations for E-SAFE filing over time and publishing these locations on the E-SAFE website.

An additional advantage of the E-SAFE system is the speed of returning the approval notice. Once a waiver application is approved, applicants may log-in to E-SAFE and download their approval notice to present at a port of entry when seeking admission. Not only is delivery faster, but lost approval notices no longer require a written request for replacement. Instead, anyone who loses their approval notice may simply download another copy.

In addition to increased convenience, CBP expects significantly shorter processing times for waiver applications submitted through the E-SAFE system. If the E-SAFE option is available at a nearby port of entry, Canadian applicants should seriously consider filing their next application through this system.

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