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Travelling to Florida with a Criminal Record

Travel Forums General Talk Travelling to Florida with a Criminal Record

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1. Posted by Marie1978 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y

This thread is marked as being about Visas (USA)

Hi All,

I have searched endlessly over the last few days but all posts, comments I can find seem to be years old and I am looking for some up to date information if possible.

To cut a long story short my sister was convicted of Fraud by Misrepresentation in 2012, not excusing what she did but the mitigating circusmstances if they are taken into consideration are her daughter suffered a life changing injury leaving to a permanent disablement, she applied for a housing grant as she could not get in and out of the bath and was a two year waiting list as bathing is not a priority need - try telling that to a teenager you have to shower in a cat litter type tray! She fluctuated her income to get money released from her home and get the works done as had no savings. Even though payment was made she was caught, charged and convicted - she received a fine and two years suspended sentence.

Now the dilemma - her Husbands family know nothing of this! A family wedding has been planned I Florida and father in law has offered to pay and has gone as far as telling the kids who are extremely excited. So was she.

She then whilst looking at Florida realised she needed a visa and the likelihood she may get declined at which point the children won't be able to travel or at least the one with medical issues as she won't leave mum. The moral dilemma is does she do the right thing and take the massive gamble of being declined or risk it?

Is it true that the fingerprint scanners these days will automatically flag up her record and more so even IF she gets a visa will it be flagged up to the point family will find out?sorry it's long winded but thought beat to give you all the Info?

Many thanks

2. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2488 posts) 1y

As usual with almost all questions of this manner you fail to disclose the single most important piece of information: What is her nationality.

That said, I'll assume she's from the UK. Read the last several pages on this thread:

Good luck.


3. Posted by Marie1978 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y

Hi Terry

Sorry I am new and yes it is the UK, I will read the the threads - thank you so much.

4. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2488 posts) 1y

Bottom line: 1.) If she's honest and does the "right" thing her conviction will likely be viewed as too recent and her application for a Waiver of Inadmissibility will probably be refused. 2.) The UK does not share their normal criminal database with the US. If she simply forgets the conviction ever happened and wipes it completely from her memory banks then she will likely sail right through US CBP without a hitch.

That said, nothing is ever guaranteed. There can always be a glitch somewhere.

It's a crappy situation and I feel for your sister.

Good luck.


5. Posted by lostsoul77 (Budding Member 5 posts) 1y

Hey Marie

I live in Miami Florida and wanted to give you a little insight on our customs. First off the only Visa required to get into the USA is the ESTA it costs about 14 USD the last time I checked. Now when it comes to our customs they do have fingerprint scans however they are used for different reasons. Mainly to check for US citizens, if they have any outstanding warrants. ( Basically gives the excuse to make the most money out of its citizens that have unresolved issues with the courts.)

This is the application for the visa in the states if you read carefully the questions are about the USA not the UK.

Best of Luck and enjoy the wedding in Florida!

6. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2488 posts) 1y

Dear lostsoul77,

"... This is the application for the visa in the states if you read carefully the questions are about the USA not the UK..."

Not true.

The ESTA application specifically asks: 1.) Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority... 2.) Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?... 3.) Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?... 4.) Have you ever committed fraud or misrepresented yourself or others to obtain, or assist others to obtain, a visa or entry into the United States?

The OP's sister was arrested for fraud and she was convicted - and it only happened 3 years ago.

Therein lies the problem... does she lie on her application about ever being arrested/convicted or does she tell the truth and hope the criminal record doesn't torpedo the ESTA?


7. Posted by lostsoul77 (Budding Member 5 posts) 1y


The key words in the questions though are when it states the US government. It doesnt specifiy the government of home country. The only question that asks about fraud specifies to obtain a US Visa. The other question that asks about convictions is ask if ther person caused damage, harm, to personal belongings, persons, and the government. I'm not sure if you catch my drift but the US words the questions pretty open. Peronsally if it were me filling out the application I would answer no to all of the questions just because of how the application is worded. Then again I do not know if in the UK what she did is considered damaging to the UK government. Here that would not be. Hope this makes a little sense as its hard to explain over a message.


8. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2488 posts) 1y

I'm sorry Sebbie, but you're missing the whole point of the application.

The questions are NOT only pertaining to criminal activity in the US. ALL the questions are directed towards the applicant's criminal record, period. You realize that the vast majority of the people making the application have never even been to the US, yes?


9. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 712 posts) 1y

The text Terry quoted does indeed read as Sebbie said - it asks about fraud to obtain a visa, or crimes seriously harming either someone or property.

10. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2488 posts) 1y

None of that text mentions the US, Andy. Point #4 might be confusing you and Sebbie but even its wording is sweeping enough that the visa fraud could be happening in any country.

No Visa application for any country is only concerned with crimes committed within its own borders, they're specifically concerned with crimes committed in the applicant's home country.