Which port of entry

Rubyposted 3 years ago

Hi..we are ready to submit the waiver. My husband wanted to go to Pearson airport but I think it might be too busy. Is it okay..do you need an appointment first or just show up? My brother says its better to go to Niagara Falls as its less busy. Which border is best? Any help on this?
Thank you. Does anyone know the waiver applications times in Niagara. There are three different ports of entry there> Not sure which one to use.
Thank you

Replies (recent first):


At 5 years + you say one has a "decent chance". What factors have you seen that inform you of "decent"?

Just either call and tell me your situation, or outline it here. I understand your trying to fit your situation in a certain box to see what your chances are. The most significant factor in overstay is "passage of time".

J Rogers replied 4 months ago   #22

#20 @John Rogers

Thank you for the explanation/response. I most certainly know that certainty is NEVER guaranteed in life and is a fool's game perhaps so I'm not looking for that.

I was asking for your opinion, which you have given in quite an in-depth manner, and I appreciate the opportunity to always gain knowledge from someone such as yourself and Michelle. Your experience in such matters can only inform the likely outcome but as you've noted "it is not an exact science".

At 5 years + you say one has a "decent chance". What factors have you seen that inform you of "decent"?

Is an overstay - applying at the 5+ year mark - with no other issues (criminal or otherwise) considered "really, really decent" as opposed to "iffy" or just plain "decent" perhaps - (once again not asking for an absolute but from what you've seen in your practice)?

I'm sure there are others on here who have probably asked this of you prior but since I'm relatively new to this forum and like to try and read through it I can't recall if any of these specifics having been asked before.

As I'm gathering (but already have known this) there are NO ABSOLUTES and of course any information you provide won't be "up to date' as the past has already passed but surely you have a decent (see what I did there) understanding of the lay of the land in general one would suppose.

Nonetheless I appreciate your thoughtfulness and patience with us lay people out here just trying to get a sense of it all. As you can imagine it can cause anxiety for some of us when we wish to have access to the United States.

Magnus replied 4 months ago   #21

@Magnus like Michelle, I usually convince clients who I do not think will be successful to wait longer, therefore most application I do are granted. That number is skewed by the fact that most of the waiver I do therefore (Michelle does the same) are waivers we KNOW will work.

Criteria for a September Letter is simple. Your deemed admissible without a waiver. Sometimes the stars align and you are in this situation. Most times people are on the waiver program for life. When we see an OPPORTUNITY to shape the personal letter in such a way that a person might get considered for a September Letter, we take it. An example is a client I have who had many applications in the past and met me at the airport. He asked me to do his re-application. I noticed he was convicted in 1981 of 2 offences, and he was 17 at the time. The record made it look like an adult record. So I included this in his letter with proof;

Both offences happened when I was 16 and 17 years old. I was convicted at 17. There was no “young offenders act” back then, so the records look like “adult” records. I was therefore a juvenile when convicted for both. I was actually convicted when the Juvenile Delinquents Act was in place. Therefore I was “classified” as an adult THEN, older than 16, but today I would be considered a “youth” or “juvenile”.

So while I did not know it before seeing the documents, he is a candidate for a September Letter. Since the opportunity is there, we go for it. This is why I despise most companies that do waivers. If your making the client write his own letter, how can you honestly say you are doing the work, or maximizing the potential of your experience? No individual is going to see what I see, and I haven't seen a lawyer who looks at waivers this way either.

I do a lot of overstays, being in Brampton and having a large immigrant community from South Asia. My usual directions are this. If you wait until a 10 year ban is over, you will get a waiver for sure. If you wait for at least 5 years, you have a decent chance, no guarantees. Its not an exact science. I know your looking for certainty, in that case wait 10 years. No offence, but I probably see more of these overstays than anyone, 1/3 of my clients have no criminal record at all. Your not going to get a more accurate answer than what I have given you. I am giving you an opinion based on experience, not based in statistical fact.

And this is the problem isn't it? Everyone wants to know "67% of your EXACT situation resulted in x" I could spend tons of time doing those calculations, but by the time I finished the calculations, those numbers would be OLD. A client calling me with his "results" handed his waiver in 60 days before, therefore my "up to date data" is already 2 months old.

I hope this gives you and others better insight. I do want to be successful every time, but that is not possible. And my advice is excellent, and based on a lot of experience, but it is not ironclad.

J Rogers replied 4 months ago   #20

#18 @Michelle - Thank you for the reply and explanation of the "September Letter" (although I'm curious as to what the criteria for receiving one of these is) and for your explanation as to why you like to wait until a ban is over... I understand your need and desire to protect your business since you say you're a small business and are particular in how you wish to go about things. (This by no means is an implication that John or anybody else on here who does this professionally is not ethical and particular).

If I may ask John the same question... how often do you see waivers denied for overstays in your experience? I understand from what I've read that it's best to wait 5 years at least for a 10 year ban. So at the 5 year mark what has been your experience in seeing waiver granted for overstays? Is it generally a successful venture for a client?

Magnus replied 4 months ago   #19

@Magnus, A "September" Letter, (I am not sure of where this term came from), but it is a letter issued by US Customs advising the following, I am quoting a letter I have on file "Therefore, it is the determination of this office that you are eligible for travel to the United States after review of your Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission." "Your inspection, upon applying for admission to the United States will be conducted in the normal process according to an applicant seeking admission into this country." " It is recommended that you carry this letter for presentation to the inspecting officer." I do not promote this as an possible outcome for clients, as it is very rare in my opinion to receive these. There is a company that promotes these and seems to have success at getting them for clients. They provide a different service then myself. I like to wait for a ban to be over or close to it, as I run a very small business, and when a client is denied a waiver for any reason, it is not good for business - period. My policy is to re-do my portion of the waiver again for free, which cost me time and money and the client still has to pay the USA Fee again. I simply do not want the headace of an upset client, and a bad referral. It is a business choice for me and has always been, so fortunately, I have not had any ban or overstay waivers refused...

Michelle replied 4 months ago   #18

  1. 15 &
16 @John Rogers and @Michelle

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

John, perhaps I needed to add context to what I was referring to as a "money grab" as I can see how on its face a person could not understand the full scope of what I was getting at. I'm well aware that they are government workers and thus no shakedown is taking place via "commission" but by proposing an exponentially greater increase in the cost of the waiver (which I believe is a "thing" as I've seen you and others on here mention) that functions as a "money grab" by:
1) either to increase the salaries of said government workers and/or
2) discourage people of lesser means (in many American minds this typically is "people of color") from applying for a waiver.

These are just two very real scenarios and there simply is no way to deny this.

This is a very real possiblity under the Trumpian administration we are dealing with. Stephen Miller's immigration policies are diabolical and draconian at best and not everyone is from Norway (apparently the preferred immigrant to America as per Trump's mind although Norwegians are in no way clamoring to leave their idyllic nation to come to America with it's lack of health care and shoot 'em up culture).

Money grab possibly can be implemented as a device to keep out what they deem as "undesirables". Hence "money grab" all falls under the realm of possibility here. There is simply no way around this.

I had asked you if you had any examples of exceptions where a person would no longer need a waiver and was wondering what specifics you could offer on that.

Michelle - I have no idea what a "September Letter" is and am wondering what your particular reasoning is for liking to wait until a ban is completely over before taking on a client. Is this because you've seen a great many waiver applications denied, as per your experience, before an overstay ban is over or is there another reasoning you wish to share?

Thank you for taking the time to answer and provide your experience here. I understand that this is the primary function of this avenue and forum.

Magnus replied 4 months ago   #17

@Magnus..not sure if I am answering this right, but here is my experience...when I do a waiver for an overstay, I usually wait until the ban is completed or very near completion. There are some that will try a waiver ahead of time..great.not going to argue if it is right or wrong..just that is not my policy...When I do a overstay waiver, I submit a great deal of paperwork (probably more then what is required)...Waiver is granted for 1 year. ( I feel that if Heron, VA is going to overlook the overstay or feel that you don't need a waiver anymore, they are going to give it longer or issue the "golden" September letter. Once waiver is expired, client applies for another waiver (only difference is, I don't submit as much paperwork, as the first time)..and gets a five year...again, if Heron, VA was going to do something different...they would. I have had people who applied for waivers, and once waiver expires - try crossing without...when they were caught, they were denied. As always, I tell clients..go head and try whatever you are comfortable with..US Customs will deal with you, when you are caught..ultimately you decide what is best for you..Hope this helps..

Side note: I agree with John, I don't think USA is making money off of granting waivers..but I do think like all Government Agencies, there is a certain "make work" project objective..My 2 cents..

Michelle replied 4 months ago   #16


So this is something I frequently come across. "Money grab". As if Homeland Security is some family business where the officers gleefully pocket a commission.

Reality check. They are government workers. The couldn't care less. If you don't need a waiver, they are happy to tell you that. Herndon Va is the same, they write "September Letters" when they deem them appropriate.

Homeland Security is a department that cannot have a profit or a loss. The project how much money they need to charge to get to "break even" and that's what they charge. The feeling that "Homeland Security just wants my money" is ridiculous. They want enough money to cover the cost of dealing with your waiver, IF YOU NEED A WAIVER, and that's it.

There is no "money grab".

J Rogers replied 4 months ago   #15

@John Rogers #13

"It depends" ? Any idea and/or examples as to what the "exceptions" may be for needing waivers after a ban is over? Is it just a money grab at that point or are there other factors involved that you would know of?

Magnus replied 4 months ago   #14

@Magnus it depends. My usual answer is that yes you continue to need waivers. I have seen some instances where when a 10 year ban was up, and the person went to re-apply for their waiver, they were told they did not need to. Most times, you have "broken the rules" and continue to keep applying but there are exceptions.

J Rogers replied 4 months ago   #13

he best port of entry is the Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls.

Monday-Thursday, 2-9 Sundays 5-9.

Its easy to find, just go to the city of Niagara Falls, follow signs to falls, then "Bridge to USA".

Drive up "I am not here to cross, just to hand in my waiver".

Less than an hour and no waiting. This Bridge does not allow heavy Trucks, so you are never stuck. Also the only one with Sunday nights. (October to May)

J Rogers replied 4 months ago   #12

@John Rogers #9

If you're inadmissible because of an overstay do you need to get waivers FOR LIFE or just up until the period of the ban is over?

Magnus replied 4 months ago   #11

@JOHN ROGERS Hi John, is going to the Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls still the best option in the GTA to finalize my waiver application through E-Safe? Are their hours still the same, Monday-Thursday, 2-9 Sundays 5-9? Thank you.

Nadja replied 4 months ago   #10

Call my associate in Montreal for specific information on the Airport. 514-733-8571. His name is Manni.

No interview. Just handing in your waiver, being fingerprinted, and paying $585.00 They will do some data entry as well.

When you travel by land, you will get an I-94 card and a secondary inspection every 6 months. By air a secondary inspection every 6 months but no card. The secondary they run you through CPIC and check you on their computer.

Yes you can still do a "green card" one day. When you apply, you will get to a part where they will realize you are 'inadmissible' without a waiver and will requite an I-601. I have had many clients who have gone on to green cards, mainly through sponsorship. I have even done K-1 visas myself.

JOHN ROGERS replied 2 years ago   #9

Hi! First time on this website and I’m going to the Montreal airport (Pierre-Elliott Trudeau) tomorrow morning to submit my waiver application (I had a conditional discharge for fraud under 5000$). I have a few questions, I know I’m last minute but it would help me reduce my stress (a lot) if someone (or people) could help me.
1. Is there some sort of interview once you get there? If yes, what kind of questions should I be expecting ?
2. What time should I get there? I heard they only pass 12 people a day, so some get there REALLY early (like 4am...) ?
3. Once I get my waiver (if I get it), what can I expect at the US customs for my next trips to the USA ?
4. And also, could I ever live in the USA or should I just give up on that dream?
Thank you!!!

lola replied 2 years ago   #8

Toronto Pearson Airport, still not taking in Waivers as of February 24 2018.

JOHN ROGERS replied 2 years ago   #7

Thanks John, for the information. Now I can visualize what I'm going to do.

Gene replied 2 years ago   #6

The best port of entry is the Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls.

Monday-Thursday, 2-9 Sundays 5-9.

Its easy to find, just go to the city of Niagara Falls, follow signs to falls, then "Bridge to USA".

Drive up "I am not here to cross, just to hand in my waiver".

Less than an hour and no waiting. This Bridge does not allow heavy Trucks, so you are never stuck. Also the only one with Sunday nights. (October to May)

JOHN ROGERS replied 2 years ago   #5

Hi Frank Jr. or anybody who has experience submitting their waiver application at RainbowB./Peace Bridge port of entry. My question is, do I go up straight to the border guard while I'm inside my vehicle or I have to park my car before the toll/ US point of entry and walk towards their office to submit my US waiver application? thanks

Gene replied 2 years ago   #4

Yes, in fact I used a Visa card there at the cashier.

Frank Jr. replied 3 years ago   #3

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