Applying for a US entry waiver is not a one-time deal. Once you have applied for a waiver, which is ‘advanced permission’ to enter the United States, you will then ALWAYS need a waiver to cross the border… for the rest of your life.
Your first waiver will cost you $585 dollars and will generally expire one year from the date of issue. You will then need to reapply for another waiver and pay another $585 should you wish to visit the States again. In most circumstances, the second, as well as subsequent waivers to follow, will be valid for a 5 year period.
If you have never actually been turned away from the border and if you are not in rush to go the States, it is a much better idea to apply for a Canadian Record Suspension instead of a US Entry Waiver. The reason for this is because once your record is sealed you will technically not have a criminal record to declare at the border.
Being granted a Canadian Record Suspension means that your record will be removed from the Canadian national criminal data base that Canada shares with the US. You will never need to get a waiver thus saving yourself tons of money for waiver applications and avoiding a substantial amount of work.
American border authorities have access to the Canadian criminal data base. If a Canadian has a record that has not been pardoned or suspended the border guards will easily be able to find it. Generally the individual in question will then be found inadmissible to the US and sent back to Canada.
Each time an individual with a record is apprehended at the border and denied entry the person’s information is immediately entered into the American data base where it will remain forever. A waiver will always be required for this individual to cross the border.
Applying for a Canadian Record Suspension IS a onetime deal. Provided that the applicant meets the requirements and pays the processing fee of $630 dollars, once the suspension is granted the person’s record is sealed and removed from the data base. Not only will the criminal record no longer prevent a person from visiting the States, it will also no longer block a person from landing a good job, prevent someone from gaining a University degree or field placement practicum or be a barrier to volunteer opportunities. It is true freedom from the past and an opportunity to really move forward in life.
Unfortunately, American authorities do not recognize Canadian Pardons or Record Suspensions so if you have already been previously turned away at the border and your name is in the system a record suspension or pardon will not help you. This is when you must apply for a waiver.