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Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

Travel Forums North America Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

1031. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 166 posts) 1y

The US only ask for crimes relating to possession, dealing, or cultivating. Therefore, if you're going by ESTA guidelines, you can honestly tick "no" to all these questions. You may have to declare if you're a drug addict (used in the last year) but that is it.

Technically, they want you to declare all crimes, but the ESTA only asks for the above, so go with that.

In a backward country where being gay is still illegal, that doesn't surprise me...

1032. Posted by Trapeze (Budding Member 6 posts) 1y

Travelman - I lost you there for a bit. Declare I was an addict in the form you mean? The last time I took meth was 2003

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Sep-2015, at 04:00 by Trapeze ]

1033. Posted by aussie_87 (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Quoting travelman99

Aussie - Yes, you're asked again on your landing card. Lying to an immigration agent is a federal offence, and will land you in serious shit. One random check and your f*cked. Although - it's highly unlikely you'll be checked..

Is the question on the landing card the same as on the ETSA form? Or does it ask if you've been arrested/convicted for any crime?

1034. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 166 posts) 1y

Trapeze - are you a UK citizen or are you travelling from Singapore?

Aussie - I'm not 100% sure to be honest, however, I believe it asks you about crimes of moral turpitude and drug related offences, the same as on the ESTA. Last time I went to the states I hadn't been arrested so I took little notice. However, it doesn't really matter, as you are declaring all of this when you're filling out your ESTA.

1035. Posted by Trapeze (Budding Member 6 posts) 1y

Travelman- I'm from sg not uk citizen

Ok now I'm confused. If I roll the dice and tick no in esta application, I still have the landing card to worry about?

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Sep-2015, at 07:11 by Trapeze ]

1036. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 166 posts) 1y

Hi Trapeze

I've just had a quick look at the ESTA site, and one of the questions it asks is:

"Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using or distributing illegal drugs?"

Therefore, you would not legally be able to use ESTA to enter the United states. If you were caught lying, you would be committed a Federal Offence with possible jail time and potentially a life time ban from the US.

However, it is very unlikely that you would be caught - the UK doesn't share it's police database with the states, so I can only assume Singapore wouldn't either.

Its you're choice, no one can give you the right answer on this.

1037. Posted by Trapeze (Budding Member 6 posts) 1y

Hi travelman, will take note of that. If it's too much a hassle maybe us is not the destination to be I guess.

Thank you anyhow. Appreciate it!

1038. Posted by ss86 (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y

Hi All

Having read most of this thread now the recurring answer seems to be tick 'NO' and relax. But I would like peoples thoughts?.... Especially you Terry....

I was arrested 3 years ago, when I was caught entering a UK nightclub with a tiny amount of cocaine in my wallet. I was not fined or convicted, just taken to the station, put in a cell for a few hours, cautioned and sent on my way. I'm a Brit, UK Passport holder, but Ive been residing in Dubai for the past 5 years. So I was actually arrested during holiday back in the UK. I hold a UAE residency visa through my company, which happens to be a big American firm.

When arrested I was pretty nervous about how this would affect my travel and entry into various countries, i travel allot around the Middle East and I happened to be flying back to Dubai the very next day :S

The police said I would be OK going back to Dubai, but would probably need a visa for places like the US and OZ

I've been putting off going to the US for the past 3 years...and now I need to go in 30 days for business. Flying from Dubai.

Any thoughts...?

I have a few innocent stamps/visas from places like Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Hong Kong...Im sure that this doesn't change things, but it may make my passport a more interesting read for the US immigration officers.

Best regards,

1039. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 166 posts) 1y

Hi SS86

A tough situation - mine isn't too dissimilar. I was cautioned for Attempt to Possess 2 years okay, basically had a gram of paracetamol on me, and in a drunken state, told a policeman it was cocaine, even though I knew it wasn't... live and learn.

Anyway, I also work for a very large American firm, and this has been playing on my mind somewhat. So let me give you my take on this.

Firstly, in regards to Australia, you are fine - they only care if you're a "serious criminal" i.e you've had physical jail time of 1 year or more. I flew there recently, and spent a long time looking at their Visa regulations - again, to make this clear, Australia only cares about convictions that resulted in jail time of 1 year or more. Furthermore, you'd be clear to travel to pretty much every other country in the world, bar Canada, who for some reason are trying to live up to America with their barmy drug laws.

However, the states is a VERY different matter. To put it bluntly, you and I are inadmissible due to a violation relating to drug possession. Entering the US with a falsified ESTA is a federal offence, if caught, you will at best be sent on the next plane back, at worst you will be temporarily incarcerated and banned from the US for a period of time. This would most likely have quite a severe impact on your career, and would require you to highlight that you had been declined entrance to a country on every other Visa you apply for in the western world.

However, and as Terry has mentioned so much so he's now given up on this forum, millions of people fly in and out of the US every week, you are very unlikely to be stopped, questioned, and be subject to an interpol request. The US does not have routine access to the UK PNC - it can only be requested via Interpol channels as per the above.

In my situation, if I am asked to travel to the states, I will come clean with my company - I will explain the situation, and my stupidity, and proceed to attain a Visa the legal way. If I was going for a holiday, I wouldn't care, but this is my career. In my opinion, and I'm sure some would disagree, experimenting in recreational party drugs is not the crime of the century, drug prohibition is backward, and is criminalising tens of thousands of kids & adults across the UK every year.

Fundamentally, the choice is yours - you can lie on your ESTA, and have a 99% chance of sailing through, or you can have the awkward conversation with your manager and HR, and travel in peace. I mean, at the end of the day, it's Dubai, and i'm sure the majority of the ex-pats are at it out there to deal with the god awful climate and culture.

Only you can make this decision mate... PM me if you want any further info.

1040. Posted by holidaygirl (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Quoting travelman99

Holiday girl - Affray is moral turpitude.

Aussie - Yes, you're asked again on your landing card. Lying to an immigration agent is a federal offence, and will land you in serious shit. One random check and your f*cked. Although - it's highly unlikely you'll be checked.

Trapeze - Prison Sentence for consumption of drugs? Taking drugs isn't illegal, possession and distributing however Is, and first time possession is normally dealt with a caution. How much did you have on you, and what were you charged with? Either way, you will need to declare this - depending on your employment status and links to the UK (mortgage, family etc) you should be cleared for a waiver. This will take 6 months to process.

Travelman99 - How is Affray a moral turpitude, however RIOT isn't?

On the public order scale of offences, affray is 2 below Riot.
You have Riot, violent disorder and then affray