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How to Winter in Florida If You Have A DUI or Other Criminal Case

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Inadmissibility Issues and Waivers and Criminal Inadmissibility

How to Winter in Florida If You Have A DUI or Other Criminal Case

Too often, our office gets panicked calls from Canadian snowbirds who wanted to go to the U.S. but were stopped at the border - often people who have travelled regularly to the United States and now are denied entry. Many retired Canadians enjoy spending the cold winter months in the warmer U.S. climates of Florida, Arizona or California. And now, many more Canadians are becoming digital nomads and choosing to work remotely in another country. The United States has laws preventing anyone from entering into the country if they have a criminal past - including Canadians who may have a DUI or marijuana or other minor conviction from 10, 15, 20 or even more years ago. Even if you received a pardon for your conviction, Canadians may be refused entry to visit the United States or to travel through U.S. airports on their way to a 3rd country if they have a past criminal case.

If you are refused entry United States - or afraid you will be refused entry - because of a criminal conviction or charge in your past, there may still be ways to enter the country legally.

Electronic Crossborder Data Sharing
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) exchange traveller data, travel documents, criminal history and other information related to border crossings of U.S. and Canadian citizens. As a result, your file can be flagged at the border, even if you haven't been charged yet or have not been convicted, and you may be denied entry to the United States.

If you are concerned you will be denied entry to the United States based on a past criminal case, you can apply for a U.S. Visa Waiver of Inadmissibility.

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What Is A U.S. Visa Waiver of Inadmissibility?

A U.S. Visa Waiver of Inadmissibility allows foreigners with a past criminal conviction or charge to temporarily enter the United States as a nonimmigrant. Canadians can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility to vacation, live or work in the U.S. It can be issued for a time frame of one, two or five years depending on a number of factors, which include:

  • the reason you require the waiver
  • the seriousness of the crimes that resulted in your inadmissibility
  • the amount of time that has passed since the conviction(s) occurred

The waiver application process can be complicated and lengthy (up to a year) and there is a non-refundable application cost.

If a waiver is granted, you can visit the United States multiple times during its duration, however, if your planned stay exceeds more than three months at one time, additional forms may need to be completed and submitted with the application.

Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility to Enter Canada or the United States

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Do You Need a U.S. Visa Waiver of Inadmissibility?

The assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer to assist you through the waiver application process can save you stress, time and money. The requirements and process may vary dependent on your history and the reason for your inadmissibility. The waiver application process is complex and requires a significant amount of paperwork to meet the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requirements.

While applicants can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility on their own, an experienced immigration lawyer can expedite and streamline the process using the Department of Homeland Security's e-SAFE program.

Contact the Canada and U.S. immigration lawyers at Ackah Law to cross borders seamlessly: (403) 452‑9515.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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Thank you so much for all your help with this! There are really no words. I appreciate your support throughout this process and for contacting the visa office to put some pressure on them for expedited processing. My stress level has been through the roof over the past week and a half.

God bless you all.

– Sherry and Nathan

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