If you have a criminal record, you are considered "inadmissible" to the United States, and you can be turned away at the US border when you try to enter the USA.
All types of criminal convictions can make you inadmissible, including
- sex crimes
If you have a criminal record or you have already been turned away at the US border, you need a US Waiver to enter the United States.
If you need to enter the US right away even though you are inadmissible, you may be able to apply for Humanitarian Parole.
US Waiver Application
All applications for a US Waiver must be made in person at the US border or at US customs at an airport.
US Waivers are valid for up to five years, at which time you have to apply to renew it. Even if you have a Canadian pardon, you still need a US Waiver to enter the United States if you have a criminal conviction. There is no permanent solution to inadmissibility to the US - you will always need a valid US Waiver.
The usual processing time for a US Waiver application is 6 - 9 months.
If you need to enter the US urgently, you can apply for Humanitarian Parole along with your US Waiver, which will be processed within a few days.
URGENT US Waiver
If you need a US Waiver but have to travel to the US as soon as possible, you can also apply for Humanitarian Parole at the same time as the US Waiver.
Humanitarian Parole is granted in cases of emergency such as a death or severe illness in the family, travel for work, and other emergency circumstances.
A Humanitarian Parole application is processed within a few days of the time it is received so that you can enter the US urgently.
It is not possible to expedite the processing of a US Waiver application.