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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

1511. Posted by desertfox27 (Budding Member 3 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

I am an Indonesian citizen, and i live and work in the caribbean, in a UK territory. I have a 10 years US visa B1/B2 and will expire 2020. I committed the crime last year and was convicted. Now, i am out of prison and qants to travel to new york for a week. Would they deny me an entry?

1512. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 167 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

No - you'll likely sail through customs.

However, if for what ever reason they pull you over, and do back checks through Interpol, you'll be in a lot of trouble. The likelihood of this though is low,

1513. Posted by desertfox27 (Budding Member 3 posts) 30w Star this if you like it!

Thanks so much for your positive reply. :)

1514. Posted by Itsovernow (First Time Poster 1 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

Earlier this year my partner won a trip to NYC for two people for a few days. Initially we were thrilled. However after a day or two of Internet searching and wrestling with the intricacies of moral turpitude it didn't take long for me to realise that there could be an issue with a conviction that I had acquired in my mid twenties for fraud/ deception which I was sucked into during a relationship with a pretty girl who was a few years older than me and more streetwise. Something that otherwise I would have had nothing to do with, and have long since moved on from now being in my forties.

Like many on this site, I had a choice of either going the US Embassy route which would have been a huge inconvenience being from up north and the added extra cost involved just for a 15 minute interview, or taking my chances on the ESTA form questions. After searching this forum and many others, I reached the conclusion that I was simply not going to leave the decision as to whether I was able to visit the US now or in the future, in the hands of a disgruntled overworked embassy clerk who for example, may have had an argument with his girlfriend that morning and takes it out on me by rubber stamping my application denied.

So we completed the online ESTA form questions asking me if I had been convicted of a crime resulting in either serious injury to a person or serious damage to property and so on. Submitted them and waited. To my relief they were accepted two days later and as we weren't going for another six months I pushed it to the back of my mind as best I could notwithstanding the constant “you must be so excited” from those that didn't know the full story.

Fast forward 6 months and we take off from Heathrow enjoy a pleasant flight landing in JFK. I'll be honest at this point I was actually very nervous after hearing of some people being pulled aside and interrogated thoroughly only to be sent back to the UK on the very next flight. The missus and I approached the immigration queue at the end of which were several booths each manned by three Customs Border Patrol officers. All the while trying to reassure myself of the logic used in assuming they would have no idea on the details of my past, after all I had answered the ESTA questions truthfully.

Finally it was my turn, then just as I stepped forward one of the officials in charge of the queue signalled for me to stop and pulled across the elastic cord to close it at which point I froze. He then opened another and guided us to a different booth that was separated from the rest. My missus and I looked at each other in a way that said a thousand expletives. The stern looking CBP officer sitting in the booth signals for us to approach him and we smile and say hello. He asks us for our Customs declaration form which should have been given out on the plane which we don't have. He tells us to go to another area to find one of these forms complete it and bring it back which we do. His then asks us a plethora of questions concerning our stay and proceeds to fingerprint and photograph, first the missus, then me. This of course is the moment of truth, is there sharing of information on a database that will send a flashing message to his screen?

As he typed my passport details into his computer, he stopped and stared right at me in a way that only a father could look at his son before an impending walloping. I gritted my teeth and smiled in a way that said I am no more a threat to you, your country or the people in it than Mickey Mouse and promised god that if he let me through I would be a better father husband and friend to all that I knew.

It appears that on this day I was in favour, the CBP officer stamped our passports, muttered to his colleagues that it was indeed lunchtime, and we were waved through.

Of course we had a great time and with hindsight I needn't have worried so much, but those irrational niggling fears at the back of your mind infer that you could well be starring in your very own episode of banged up abroad. My conclusion is that they have bigger fish to fry in today's climate. Terrorists, sex offenders, organised crime and the rest, and are only too pleased to have another dumb Brit tourist wandering around spending their hard earned cash.

Best wishes, hope this helps.

1515. Posted by broxyburd (Budding Member 7 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

Itsovernow ..... that was some griping story there!!! U had me on the edge of my seat lol
So glad it all worked out for you

Can I ask why they took you to a diff que???

Thanks

1516. Posted by loveitbeauty (Budding Member 6 posts) 24w Star this if you like it!

As promised I said I would come back once we had heard how our appointment went and the outcome of our visa application. So my husband and I have both been issued visa waivers after we were denied at the appointment back in May YAY, however Im a little confused and disappointed because I got one for 5 years but my husband only has one for 10 months!! Can anyone explain why this would be when my convictions are worse than his and also, are we able to somehow get it extended because I dont think well be able to travel to the US in the next 10 months

1517. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2535 posts) 24w Star this if you like it!

Quoting loveitbeauty

Can anyone explain why this would be when my convictions are worse than his and also, are we able to somehow get it extended because I dont think well be able to travel to the US in the next 10 months

No one here can aswer that question.

Congrats on the waivers.

Cheers,
Terry

1518. Posted by loveitbeauty (Budding Member 6 posts) 24w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for your reply Terry. Do you know if there is a way I can get them to extend his?

1519. Posted by gcentral (First Time Poster 1 posts) 24w Star this if you like it!

Hi folks,

Hopefully the below will assist travellers going to the USA with convictions, as I have had recent experience of successfully travelling

History - I have previous convictions for some driving convictions (last in 2009), and also a minor fraud from 2001. As many will know - fraud Is one of the "moral turpitude" crimes from US law and they don't care how minor any crimes are. I did lots of research, including on forums etc and decided to apply for ESTA and state "no" to the convictions question asked..... note - the conviction question does not use the words "moral turpitude" now, and I felt I answered the question honestly.

As an additional problem/issue - in 2009 for one of my driving offences my paperwork was being sent to a wrong address, so I was not aware of court dates and a warrant was issued for my arrest - I was arrested at an airport coming home from a holiday abroad in Europe - so if anyone would trigger the airport systems or alarm bells, I guess it would be me....

To the present - my ESTA was approved within 1 minute. Great.

On to the travel - no issues occurred until printing boarding passes - my travel from Heathrow to US airport would not let me print boarding pass at home which gave the first alarm bell.... I was to collect at airport. On checking in, I was told I was selected for secondary screening - my second alarm bell and a fair amount of nerves. All this turned out to be was an extra (apparently random) pat down just prior to boarding the plane. Nothing to it - took less than 2 minutes.

On arrival at the states I still had nerves, but the border patrol guy was great, professional and efficient. Asked where I was staying, how long for, finger and thumb prints for left and right hands, photograph, then "Welcome to the USA"

In summary - my advice is to tick no, and enjoy your holiday. Of course everyones situation may end up differently, but hopefully the above will allay any fears. Note that my trip out was not the most enjoyable, due to the nerves and uncertainty of what could/may/would/might happen but it was all uncalled for. Present yourself smartly, and politely at customs and it will most likely be fine.

Finally - thanks for the advice on this forum, particularly to Terry. I could have asked many questions prior to travel but by taking the time to read the thread, they are all answered.

Hopefully the above helps.

1520. Posted by ......... (Inactive 3 posts) 23w Star this if you like it!

Hello, i have read a lot of this post and their seems to be a lot of success stories with people in exactly the same situation as me, but quite a lot never post back :(.

so heres my story i live in the uk and 8 years ago when i were 17 i got caught in possession of a class a drug (i am really ashamed of it) its the only time i have ever been arrested. I have booked a flight for me and my girlfriend to vegas in july and decided to chance it rather than go to London and do the interview and drugs test, so our estas got approved i didn't disclose the arrest. the only difference with my story seems to be 3 years ago we went to Thailand, Australia and Tokyo, when we arrived at Tokyo the customs officer took my fingerprints then started acting weird and looking as if he were trying to get help, so i panicked and said can i go through and he said yes. i have convinced myself japan knew something but why would he let me go?

so my question is, am i right to risk is?
has anybody on this forum ever been refused entry?
and what would my options be if i got refused?
what would my girlfriend do?
could i pay for flights from vegas to somewhere else or do they have to return me to the UK?

please only comment if you have experience in this area, i know i am not in the right but any help would be great.