Special Topics & Resources

USA Waiver News – COVID Impact

Published On: February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021



Applicants have not been able to submit Waivers since March 2020 unless their reason for travel to the USA was essential. When everything returns to business as usual, there will be a flood of waiver applications.


As a result of our years of experience, we believe our support will enable our clients to get ahead of the curve when it is time to submit simply because we have a pulse on changes as they happen including how to follow all of the proper procedures, deadlines, etc.


Waiver applications are prepared as per usual. But, there is an additional step that involves (which we assist our clients with):

  • creating an online application;
  • generating and printing an online application;
  • uploading all supporting documents;
  • paying $585 USD fee online; and
  • printing the receipt.

Once completed, our client must still take their entire application (original supporting documents, computer generated application form and receipt proving payment) to a CBP office to hand in their application and be fingerprinted (provide “biometrics”).

BUT, they may only submit as at the date this blog was posted if their reasons for travel are essential.


Currently, you can only submit your application at an approved Biometrics Location provided your reasons for travel are essential.  Furthermore, there are a limited number of offices approved for providing Biometrics.  At this time, Airports are NOT designated to provide Biometrics. That means, clients will have to travel to an approved border to submit their application until such time as the International Airports are added to the list.


Entering the USA via Land Border

The United States border is currently open to commercial traffic and essential travel only for passenger traffic. Essential travel is defined as emergency travel for:

  • medical appointments;
  • critical care for immediate family; or
  • necessary for fostering international trade and commerce.

Proof of essential travel is required.  What is determined to be essential is very “fluid”, often left to the discretion of the border guards on a case-by-case basis.

Airport Travel

International airports are not able to take waiver applications at this time, even if the application involves essential services. However, if you have a valid waiver, you can travel provided there are no covid-related restrictions affecting all travelers.

Check flying restrictions for Canada here:  https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/flying


We can get your file ready and submitted online right away. You do not pay the $585 USD fee until you are able to submit your application. Applications involving essential services can be submitted right away. The advantage of getting your file ready now, is you can submit as soon as the CBP allows all applications to be submitted. You’ll be able to get ahead of the rush.

At this time, applications must be submitted at an approved border office. We hope that the international airports will soon be added to the list of approved offices.

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