travelling for first time with wavier

Amyposted 1 year ago

Hello, I am looking to fly to the United States from Canada with a waiver for the first time, any tips or advice would be appreciated. thanks!a

Replies (recent first):

if we have valid I94 and 5 year waiver can we use automated passport kiosk at pearson airport while going to USA or do we have to stand in customs line which is usualy long, I know if i need to take I94 I need to stand in that line and cannot use Automated passport kiosk

bob194 replied 1 year ago   #21

@J Rogers you're the man, thanks!

T Raptors replied 1 year ago   #20

@T Raptors

Canadians can stay for 180 days in a calendar year. A waiver person is no different in that regard.

J Rogers replied 1 year ago   #19

@J Rogers got it thanks! I wasn't sure if there was special process or not for us returning.

I guess that also brings up another question, with the waiver in hand does that mean we are allowed to stay in the US for up to 6 months at a time like every other Canadian or does that work differently for us now?

T Raptors replied 1 year ago   #18

@T Raptors

Coming back to Canada has nothing to do with the US. As a Canadian Citizen they MUST let you enter as long as you have the proper passport/ID. Obviously they can question you, search you etc. But you have the RIGHT to enter Canada.

J Rogers replied 1 year ago   #17

I'll be flying out for the first time with the waiver this week. I've already tried crossing by land.

I just wanted to make sure I have everything in check before my trip.

On the return flight back home do we need to do anything special since we have a waiver?

T Raptors replied 1 year ago   #16

@Amy when you get the card or a stamp in your passport it is $6 in USD. Which is about $400 Canadian. (just kidding about the $400)

J Rogers replied 1 year ago   #15

Based on the reply it was mentioned a fee had to be paid, does this mean if travelling for the first time you have to pay a fee at the border, how much if this is the case? Can someone please clarify, Thank you.

Amy replied 1 year ago   #14

Hi everyone sharing my experience after I was granted waiver.I am in Mississauga Ontario I was planing to go to Seattle in November before the ticket was booked I drove to rainbow bridge with my waiver the officer at the window asked me where I am going I told him just going to other side of Niagra to see it from U.S he sent me upstairs to pay money for my I-194.They took my fingerprints and I was admitted I paid the fee upstairs too I came back after couple of hours.I had flight from Buffalo N.Y a friend of mine drove me to the airport via rainbow bridge she asked me where I was going and for how long anything I am taking with me I said nothing just clothes.I was supposed to come back at the same airport but due to weather flights were canceled I came back to Toronto via San Francisco. I think after six months I have to do secondary the guy gave me paper for I-194 online version I think I can pay there for secondary this was my whole experience thanks.

Malik replied 1 year ago   #13


If you know you will get a secondary, yes, you plan around it. But you can also get the app online I think and now do it that way.

I will post a thread asking about the app, I guarantee someone here has used it. I DO waivers, but unfortunately I don't USE a waiver, so all my information on this is through clients. Lets get some real experiences.

J Rogers replied 1 year ago   #12

@j Rogers if it's every six months.. This could screw up a flight or something if it's 3-4hrs as skumar said?
How do you possibly plan? Arrive at each flight 4hrs early?
If you pay for VIP departure does it reduce that time?

SouthernBBQ replied 1 year ago   #11

Just curious how often you get pulled into Secondary when you have a waiver?

Anyone have any unusual experiences with this? From what I’ve read it’s once every 6 months but something tells me that they may possibly pull you into Secondary every single time you cross the border.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Also do they ask for any other documents like your driver’s license and/or letter proving employment or income or any other documents?

Magnus replied 1 year ago   #10

one thing you do when you first get to the customs officer is put both your passport and your waiver on the counter.
If they have to ask for it they will be very upset and anything can happen. Secondary would be one .
I've even had a couple of them thank me for being upfront.

casper replied 1 year ago   #9


[ skumar appended this reply on December 13, 2022 @ 1:31 am ]

Plan as much time as 3 to 4 hours depending upon how long it takes in airport you are going. For yyc, 3 hrs is sufficient. For Pearson, may be 4 hours is needed.

skumar replied 1 year ago   #8

@skumar I’ve had a few immigration attorneys both in Canada and America say that yyc is the absolute WORST place to fly out of in Canada if you have any kind of waiver or visa requirements. Apparently the yyc branch of CBP also has a reputation for being overly harassing/aggressive towards minorities. (I’m not assuming you fall under that umbrella term btw but just adding it here for further information for folks who may).

In fact a couple attorneys have told me they’ve advised their clients to avoid flying out of yyc to America if they can.

Any time I’ve been there and flown out of there I’ve been harassed about 95% of the time.

Sorry to hear they were such d*ckheads to you but I’m not surprised.

Magnus replied 1 year ago   #7

@skumar what sorta questions get asked in a secondary? Was it long? Just wondering how much time to plan for.

SouthernBBQ replied 1 year ago   #6

Time for me to share my experience.
I m still at the gate in Calgary international Airport but through the preclearance and about to fly out for the first time to United States.

They did a secondary for me. There was no one there but I was made to sit for some 15-20 min or more. I think they test how much patience there after about 15 min, I just opened my phone browser. I was then called and warned that I m not allowed to use phone in secondary.

So, please be aware of this. They warned me that they could send me back but forgiving me for this time. When I came back, I did see the small board indicating that phones or tablets cannot be used there.

I cannot express how happy and relieved I m feeling now.....Finally entering US after 16 years of visa denial when I was hoping I would be there.

[ skumar appended this reply on December 11, 2022 @ 6:36 pm ]

I got TN until around mid 2025 and I believe that's until when my US -94 is valid until.

skumar replied 1 year ago   #5

I think some folks discussed how different officers do wildly different things. I travelled with a waiver for the first time recently. Primary inspection looked at it, asked where I was staying, and admitted me. 10 seconds. I was fully expecting to go into secondary. We’ll see what happens next time!

BM replied 1 year ago   #4


When you have a waiver, they do a secondary the first time you enter, and then every 6 months after that. For example, if you travel in November 2022 for the first time, you will get a secondary. Then, if you travel in December, likely NO secondary. Then, in June, secondary again (6 months later) .

J Rogers replied 1 year ago   #3

@J Rogers Pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by `They will do a secondary`. Will they cross check all our papers, phone etc. after the normal interview.

For e.g. on land border, will they make the person come to some room and start doing additional questioning etc.

skumar replied 1 year ago   #2

Reply to this thread

There is no need to “register”, just enter the same name + password of your choice every time.

Pro tip: Use to add links, quotes and more.