Special Topics & Resources

Waiver of Inadmissibility | Travelling to the United States with Drug Offences

Published On: January 23, 2013

US Waiver of Inadmissibility for Canadians

You will need to apply for and receive an I-192 US Waiver of Inadmissibility to gain legal entry to the United States if you have any one of the following:

  • Drug offences committed on or after the age of 18; orLegal Marijuana - Waiver of inadmissibility
  • Serious felony drug offence committed under the age of 18 for which you were tried and convicted as an adult.

Though individuals who are inadmissible are only randomly checked to see if they have a criminal record when attempting to enter the United States at a US Border Crossing, it is illegal to travel to the United States if you are inadmissible. Failure to obtain a Waiver of Inadmissibility in advance of travel to the U.S. can result in refusal, detention, fines, charges, confiscation, embarrassment and more.

[highlight]This article deals with inadmissibility due to drug offences only.  You may also be inadmissible for other offences involving serious violence and crimes involving moral turpitude.  Please refer to the end of the article for more information on other grounds of inadmissibility.[/highlight][divider_flat]

What is a Drug Offence?

A drug offence can include any of the following:

  • admitting to drug use;
  • conviction;
  • conditional and absolute discharges (according to the Criminal Code of Canada there has been an admission or finding of guilt); or
  • an offence that was withdrawn or dismissed following payment of fine or completion of a program (the fact that you agreed to pay a fine or enter into a program is seen as an admission of guilt).

Date of Offence vs Date of Conviction

COURT DOCUMENTS – If you committed a minor drug offence prior to your 18th birthday, but were convicted on or after your 18th birthday, you need to provide court documents proving you were under the age of 18 at the time you committed the offence in order to avoid refusal at a US port of entry.

YOUNG OFFENDER ACT – A problem may arise if you were convicted prior to the enactment of the Young Offender Act in April 1984. Adult records prior to this date show all convictions since age 16.

Some border guards mistakenly believe that if a youth offence appears on your adult record, that you were tried as an adult and must therefore be treated exactly like an adult. They assume that since all adults are inadmissible due to all drug offences that you too are inadmissible.  What they fail to realize is that you are ONLY inadmissible if (a) you were tried as an adult prior to the age of 18; AND (b) it was a serious felony offence.

SOLUTION: If you have a minor drug offence which was committed prior to the age of 18, you were not tried as an adult and you are having problems entering the United States, contact our office. We can help you correct this situation so that you are not forced to go through the Waiver Process throughout the rest of your life (Waivers are only granted for periods 1 to 5 years).

Adult Exemption Rule

Some people ask me, “I heard I don’t need a Waiver of Inadmissibility if I have only one summary drug offence as an adult. Is this true?”. Unfortunately, the answer is “no, it is not true”. This exemption rule does NOT apply to Drug-Related Offences.

Legal Disclaimer

This article does not constitute legal advice. There may be exceptions and laws change from time to time.

[TBS_BUTTON color=”info” style=”text-decoration:none; color: white; margin: 0 auto; width: 100%;” link=”/united-states-waiver”]Detailed Information on United States Waivers[/TBS_BUTTON]

Other Blogs:

Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility

For more information on how to obtain a U.S Waiver of Inadmissibility for drug offences, crimes of violence, and crimes involving moral turpitude, please call 1-800-320-2744 (or 403-229-2774 if calling from Calgary).

Return to Top of United States Waiver of Inadmissibility Page

Leave A Comment

Subscribe for our newsletter