travelling for first time with wavier

Amyposted 3 months 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):

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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months ago   #2


Present your passport and waiver together. Understand they MAY look through your phone. Other than that, you are going to KNOW they are going to let you in. You have been given "advance permission". They will do a secondary the first time you use it.

J Rogers replied 3 months ago   #1

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