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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

1321. Posted by Mrs.C. (First Time Poster 1 posts) 21w

Hello!

Sorry if this has been asked before but I know the question has now changed on the esta.

My husband has a few minor offensives on his record from 15 years ago and one conviction that ended up in him serving a custodial sentence. He got 18 months for assaulting a minor (2 month younger than himself) when he was drunk and served 9 with good behaviour.

Now under the old question, I would of ticked no as I wouldn't of classed it as a CIMT as he didn't go out with the intention of fighting. He got drunk, was a complete idiot and had a fight. The lad who he had a fight with was 2 months younger than him and was 17, my husband was 18 so he got sent down for assaulting a minor (they didn't take into consideration that they were in the same year at school and he wasn't exactly picking on someone 10 years younger) he hasn't been in trouble since, he doesn't drink, we got married and he's been working for years at the same place.

I've got a bee in my bonnet about taking our kids to disney world and I'm terrified that they won't grant him access to the US.

What are your thoughts on the chances of being granted? Is it worth spending the money on applying for a visa or should we look at going somewhere else on holiday? We are British citizens.

Thanks in advance!

Natasha.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Apr-2016, at 03:39 by Mrs.C. ]

1322. Posted by NatalieW (First Time Poster 1 posts) 21w

Got refused today for a visa. How long is the current process for people to get granted a waiver of ineligibility. There saying upto 6 months.

1323. Posted by Lucretia2016 (Inactive 14 posts) 21w

Hi Natasha I think your be fine as it will fall under a petty offence crime as it was the only conviction if you look up the petty offence crime on Internet it will give you all the information :) hope this helps :)

1324. Posted by Wiserwithage (First Time Poster 1 posts) 21w

I thought I would share my recent experiences with you.

Firstly back in 1999 I was monumentally stupid. A well paid, responsible job but for some bizarre reason (no - I’ll call it shear greed) I succumbed to the temptation of having too much money in front of me. So I took it. At the time the organisation I was working for was being gobbled up in a huge takeover and I thought who would notice me? Oh boy what a mistake, factor in a bitter ex-girlfriend and I was well and truly fed to the lions. The conclusion? 2 years for theft at her Majesty’s pleasure and plenty of time to allow me to consider just how bloody stupid I had been. In reality that took about 24 hours in Brixton prison!

Fast forward 14 years, married (yes, my partner was with me at the time and stood by me and to be fair saved my life) with two young kids, life rebuilt (to be fair for the better) but then the inevitable question keeps coming up .

“Dad can we go to Disney?”

So we do Paris. Very nice it is too but you can tell that it won’t be long until the next step is asked. Then in October 2014 the wife books two weeks in Orlando. Now to begin with, I am blissfully unaware of all the background shenanigans until I see an article on the web and I have a light bulb moment. The sudden dreaded feeling in my stomach that I’m sure a lot of you have gone through.

So I find this thread, a few like it and spend literally DAYS pouring over advice, but still I get pulled back to this thread. Time is running out, do I go the VISA route or the ESTA? Does Big Brother know all or not? A nervous game of cat and mouse goes on in my head.

My wife is all for the ESTA route and like me is of the opinion that they simply can’t know about what I did as in the great scheme of things it was minor. Anyway, the very frequent and helpful posters on here ( CheersT in particular) make me think what am I worried about? So I take the plunge, apply online for the ESTA and that comes back in about 2 hours. Tick.

April 7th arrives and off we go, fly from Birmingham to Sanford International, Orlando. Breeze through checks in the UK , lovely flight aboard the Dreamliner and arrive around 11:30 in the morning.

Sanford is small and has only a few immigration boxes. The security type people who initially meet us are friendly, chatting to the kids and reminding people not to use their mobile phones whilst queuing up. Some don’t, even though they are reminded about 3 times and eventually one gets confiscated. Sometimes I really do despair at the Brits abroad...

Eventually our turn comes and I approach the desk with my family. A different prospect here stern Mr Grumpy, with no personality and no sense of humour. I let the wife take control as I just stand sagely at the back of the pack as she gets asked routine questions.

Why are we here?

Have we been here before? (We had, just before I was convicted, so we confirmed the date and he nodded. THAT info they have of course)

But his attention is then drawn to the stamp from Turkey. (Holiday last year) Why had we gone, how long had we stayed? Anyway after about a 2 second pause I heard:
“Welcome to the United States” and in we went. He appeared to be more worried about that Turkey stamp rather than anything else! So sorry for rambling a bit but my conclusions are this.

1: You’re not on “Interpols Most Wanted” you’re fine.
2: You’re not on some sex offenders register list, you’re fine.
3: You’re not a known terrorist, you’re fine.

For wisernow ,who was the last poster here, I would say in your case mate simply ignore it. Fill in an ESTA and go and enjoy a fabulous holiday as they are simply NOT interested in you! I sort of fretted for a few months when the holiday was initially booked but in the end it was totally unnecessary. Life as I discovered a long way back is far too short to worry about such petty concerns....

1325. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2420 posts) 21w

Thanks, Wiserwithage.

Cheers,
Terry

1326. Posted by businessExec (Budding Member 7 posts) 21w

Hello All,

Would just like to give my feedback!
I left a message on this site as i am a UK citizen with a criminal record of Wounding from being 14 years old. Wounding is Section 20. Having started a new job and needing to travel to America for work with my boss, i was nervous about having to admit to my employer i had a criminal record and the time it would take to get a visa (as i was literally travelling in weeks time).

After the advice given on here, i decided not to declare it and got the ESTA...i had no problems at immigration at all!!! Straight through :)

I believe it is also easier once you have entered for the first time too!!

Hope that helps peoples decision!!

1327. Posted by CloudStrife (Budding Member 7 posts) 21w

Crimes as a minor aren't counted though AFAIK.

1328. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 145 posts) 21w

Not quite right Cloudstrife - you are asked to admit ANY record you have, legally exec should have gone to the embassy and declared his conviction. However you're correct in that the embassy they would have given him a Visa on the day as his crime was committed as a minor. However that ship has sailed.

Saying that, I'm glad he got through safely, and furthermore came back to report his success. I just don't think the US is bothered by low level offenders who just want to take their kids to Disney. They are trillions in debt and they need all the tourists they can get 🙂

Wiserwithage - great story and very elequantly written. Thanks for sharing!

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