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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

1071. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2422 posts) 51w

The US is a fabulous country filled with great people and loads of great opportunities for travel or relocation, but you can never underestimate the overwhelmingly paranoid and ridiculous mentality that is perpetuated by Homeland Security and the dozens of other acronym laden government security agencies who's tentacles reach everywhere within their bureaucracy.

It's not easy being the world's biggest superpower in history... it twists your culture up in ways that most foreign citizens can't even imagine...

Cheers,
Terry

1072. Posted by Ocmgar (Budding Member 2 posts) 51w

Thanks Terry

There is 17 of us flying out of Dublin for a family holiday. Don't have time to go the politically correct way and I am feeling more confident now.
Cheers again :)

1073. Posted by Biancayoulk (First Time Poster 1 posts) 51w

Hi. I have italian citzienship and got a caution (3 years ago) from simple assault. No arrest or fines or whatsaover. Is it ok to say no at esta? If the esta is accepted, are there big chances to be turn out the the usa? Thanks.

1074. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2422 posts) 51w

If you have never been arrested then what in the world are you worried about?!

Cheers,
Terry

1075. Posted by ss86 (Budding Member 4 posts) 51w

I understood (wrongly perhaps) that cautions drop off (are 'spent') from your UK record after 6 years. So does that mean interpol would NOT be able to access the caution details should be stopped and checked at US borders after 6 years from offence have passed? I understand the US take a different stance on cautions, but if they can't access the info from the UK record via interpol, what is the concern?

My positon is one of a UK citizen with a caution for class A possession and one day I may wish to move to the USA. After 6 years have passed, my caution is technically spent right? so do I really need to disclose anything?

I apologise if my knowledge of UK records is incorrect...

1076. Posted by agee1107 (Budding Member 4 posts) 51w

Hi everyone,

Have had a quick look through this thread and I really don't know what to do.

I'm a UK Citizen who stupidly got herself a criminal record in late 2005, for theft. I wasn't sentenced to jail time but did receive 240 community service.

I'm planning on a USA trip in January and wonder if it's worth risking the ESTA? If I'm completely honest, I did risk it once in Australia although I appreciate that the USA are much stricter with things like this. I did also go to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa in which I did declare my criminal record, will this be on the record/passport somewhere?

Will the information regarding the declarations I've made before be obtainable to the US? Do the UK really not share that sort of info with the US? Will any of it be on my passport? Does anyone know what they ask on the landing card? I know most landing cards ask the question. I know it's a bit panicky but I don't want to risk it and then get turned away as soon as I land.

I know that I should do the 'right' thing and go the long way round but, I'm hoping that I won't really have to.

I'm really grateful for any advice or information you can give :)

1077. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2422 posts) 51w

Your question has been addressed dozens and dozens and dozens of times throughout this thread.

Read Post #982.

Cheers,
Terry

1078. Posted by lewism6 (Budding Member 10 posts) 50w

Quoting ss86

I understood (wrongly perhaps) that cautions drop off (are 'spent') from your UK record after 6 years. So does that mean interpol would NOT be able to access the caution details should be stopped and checked at US borders after 6 years from offence have passed? I understand the US take a different stance on cautions, but if they can't access the info from the UK record via interpol, what is the concern?

My positon is one of a UK citizen with a caution for class A possession and one day I may wish to move to the USA. After 6 years have passed, my caution is technically spent right? so do I really need to disclose anything?

I apologise if my knowledge of UK records is incorrect...

Hi - I think I am right to say that criminal records are never removed from the PNC, therefore the ACRO certificate will always show "no live trace" against a spent offence.
In the eyes of immigration offences are never wiped from record - ie the UK PNC.

The 6 years is part of the DBS filtering for your caution (same offence as mine). I believe this means that if a standard CRB/DBS check were ran on you, after 6 years you would be clear-nothing would show. An enhanced DBS check would still show the caution though.

If you plan on moving to the states and have ticked all the No boxes on your ESTA you may come unstuck if you apply for a Visa to work in the states. You could be deemed to be lying on a federal form.

The Rehabilitation of offenders act means didly in the states!

Lewis.

1079. Posted by lewism6 (Budding Member 10 posts) 50w

Quoting travelman99

Hi Lewis

Fair enough, I think when it comes to work, the mindless bureaucracy is worth doing. I'm the same, I've been worrying since I started working at US firms.

When you attend the interview, chances are you will be declined a straight Visa. They will instead, depending on the severity of the crime, time past, and ties to the UK, will put you forward for a Waiver of Inadmissibility. It's key to point out that being put forward for a waiver is entirely up to the agent who interviews you - you cannot manually apply for it.

If they do put you forward for it, you sit back at wait for 6 months, they will send you an email to confirm it's been done, and you send in your passport. The waiver will probably be a 1 year multi-visit Visa, which you will need to reapply for every year. After a while, they will increase the time of the Visa, eventually reaching the maximum 10 years.

Kind regards

Thanks for the reply Terry.

The worry is really getting to me, being an anxious person as it is - it is just something I want to be done with. Which is why I want to go through the process as opposed to telling fibs on the ESTA.

So I would really need to "convince" the agent that is interviewing me then? What exactly would convince them? My "vibe" (appearance, personality) or more so the other things you mentioned in terms of family, mortgage, job, savings, ties to UK etc?

What would happen if the agent did NOT put me forward for a waiver? Can I appeal in some way?

Are you going to bite the bullet and apply sooner rather than later - I know you said that the 2 years past might not be long enough. If you were refused, what would be your avenue for appeal?

Thanks again for being so helpful.

Lewis.

1080. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 145 posts) 50w

Hi Lewis

That was my post - not Terry's 😅

You're incorrect on one point - a possession caution drops off from ALL DBS checks, even enhanced, 6 years after the initial crime. Your criminal record is then "protected" from all but the police, and could be used against you if you were ever to get into trouble. However, you're correct that it would still show up on a ACRO as "No Live Trace"

SS86 raised a good point earlier about if this would show up on Interpol after the 6 years was up, my answer is I don't know, might be worth looking into.

There is no way to appeal their decision, but they are supposed to give you a reason why you have not been put forward, and usually a time frame when you should apply again. But there is nothing to stop you reapplying straight away.

In regards to convincing them, everything you mentioned, plus proof you are a "reformed" character I.e charity work, volunteering, showing remorse etc and yes, wear a suit and tie. But also take a copy of your savings and payslips to prove you're self sufficient. I am lucky in the fact I have good savings, and excellent salary, I'm a Freemason, I give to 3 charities and I own a house - but even so, I might have an arsehole on the day.

Ultimately, the US are just trying to collect a data base of the worlds criminals - it's completely unnecessary when that person as not been convicted by a court of law, and in my opinion goes against the whole idea of civil liberty.

Remember, and a ray of hope, Cautions ARE a grey area in US law - they do accept that it isn't a conviction, and each case must be properly assessed as per their 'Matter of K' principle, that admittance of guilt must meet their criteria. In my case, I was told to take a caution by the copper, if I hadn't, I would have not got one as I had no drugs on me - I was basically cautioned for 'attempting' to procure drugs, a very minor crime in the US when it comes to controlled substances. However, it's my word against the Met. However, I have seen stories of people getting straight up Visas with drug cautions, but not enough people seem to share the outcome of their interviews, or simply don't go - most of this forum is in relation to full convictions.

It's one of those situations where we won't know until we try, 6 years have passed since your 'crime', and you weren't convicted, you stand a very good chance of getting, at the very least, put forward for a waiver. Everything is in your favour.

If you still feel like you need advice, get a lawyer, preferably in London, they will charge a bit, but that one hour you get is very useful, and they will give you a clear indication on your situation.

Cheers