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Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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151. Posted by Lukeeee (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4y

Hello all!

Seems this post has been going on for years and reading through most of it, seems like people have two different answers when asked if the US and UK share criminal information. Either, they don't or they do. I'm aware that if you were an international terrorist then you would have a big red flag next to tour name. Is anyone able to give the correct answer, with referenced evidence?

I am from the UK and was randomly stopped by undercover police because of a drunk friend. We were all searched and I was found in possession with less than 1 gram of cocaine. Not proud of it! My information was taken on the spot, I wasn't arrested or cautioned, then was sent on my way. This was when I was 20 years old. 26 now.

Months later a letter came through my door advising that I was being charged and that I had to appear in court. I pled guilty and was given a £100 fine for possession of a class A drug. My solicitor at the time said, "you know you won't be able to get into America?"

What would be your best advice regarding traveling to the US, if possible? Seems like you could risk it with a visa waiver form and face the possibility of prison in the US, get declined for a visa and try again for an ineligability (spelling) waiver? Have I got this correct?

I feel like something I did during a rough time in my life is like a life sentence. I travel around the world annually on holidays. Thailand, Mexico etc. I would love to visit the US again but completely put off by contradictory information.

The embassy advises: you will be refused entry if you have been charged with possession of a class A drug. Do I just go with this?

To add I have had a secure job for 5 years. Now in a senior position.

Could someone please give me accurate information?

Thank you in advance!


152. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 4y

I think post 143 is instructive. UK fingerprints are on file with US Immigration. If his fingerprints for a minor offense triggered a closer look, I have to believe yours will as well. Your solicitor told you the truth. I don't think you will be able to visit the US with your record.

153. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 4y

You may find this amusing and informative. Celebrities denied entry to the US

This is classic.

Ian McEwan reportedly told the packed house that he was thankful to DHS "for protecting the American public from British novelists." And he couldn’t resist noting that one official asked him, "What kind of novels do you write: fiction or nonfiction?"

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Mar-2012, at 16:08 by Dodger ]

154. Posted by worried_Andy (Budding Member 4 posts) 4y

Hi all

I have my interview next week.
I'm hoping that all should be ok, as I am booked in for a normal interview.
Only thing concernign me now is the fingerprinting.
I have a scratch on my thumb - months old now, but showing no sign of going. It doesn't break the skin, but does break the pattern; will this mean I get turned away, or will they still be able to process.
To be honest I'm not sure whether these scratches will ever fade - I have other old scratches that have scarred.
Anbody know hoe tolerant they are to old faded scratches?



155. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 4y

I wouldn't be too worried about the fingerprinting. Everyone's hands go through a certain amount of 'abuse' just from everyday life. When they do comparisons, they use between 8 and 15 areas (sometimes more) for the identification process. They are looking at the whirls of the fingerprints. So, even with a few extra scars, your prints will remain basically the same.

By the way you worded your comments, have you been fingerprinted previously?

156. Posted by worried_Andy (Budding Member 4 posts) 4y


Thanks for your reply.
I have been fingerprinted before, but a long time ago (see post 139).
The only reason I'm getting concerned is with the wording on the visa website re. cuts and/or blisters.
I wouldn't in any way consider the slight scratches to count as cuts, but the more I go through this process the more I seem to be finding that the US can refuse you a visa for the smallest of things.
I've tried to ring their 'helpline' and it just seems to be a bit of a money making scam; far from offering advice they actively steer away from it - just trot out the same old stuff about cuts/blisters, exactly the same as the website. Theire's absolutely no help forthcoming if you want to speak to somebody who may actually know what they're on about. Icing on the cake is when you get your application interview through and they tell you what a valued customer you are!
I think I'll be alright with the prints - just got to worry about the old arrest, the interview, the 400 mile round trip...................

Thanks for replying


157. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 4y

I'm sorry Andy, I did see your #139 post but couldn't help with the visa issue. But, 'we' also like to scare everyone with esoteric rhetoric to keep visitors away. If you have your visa situation in order, your interview/fingerprints should not be an issue. Current blisters (or major lacerations) might be a problem if they only use one fingerprint - like a thumb. But, since you have prints on file from 1991, they probably printed all 10 digits. Ask that they check a finger or two that do not have a major scar.

I understand your frustration completely. Thought I'd be stuck in Barbados recently because Homeland Security chose me for a random secondary security check. They swabbed my hands, the carry-on I had in my possession (my husband's laptop as he was carrying mine since it was heavier), his laptop and the socks I was wearing. My socks came out clean - nothing else. My husband was detained outside while I went through 20-30 minutes of swab after swab, question after question and pulling our checked luggage off the plane - which they didn't even swab/check. The plane was delayed until they were finished finding out I wasn't a terrorist and that their analyzer was faulty. Needless to say, my husband was becoming very concerned and not happy but said nothing to create more of a problem. I just sat there, did all the things they asked and smiled as I had nothing to hide.

So, good luck and hope all goes well for your trip! ;)

158. Posted by bettyh (Budding Member 2 posts) 4y



159. Posted by sticklerhomes (Budding Member 7 posts) 4y

Agree, can someone advise if the fingerprinting they do at the US customs shows your criminal record just yes or no! I see your criminal record will only be brought up if you are a terrorist or pedophile or something because it is put through Interpol but would the US be able to see a conviction from 6 years ago??

Post 160 was removed by a moderator
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