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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

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581. Posted by sdavis82 (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y

Apologies for not starting beforehand, I am a from the UK. I believe that the USA has full access to the Canadian Police Computer, not sure if they have access to any other countries Police databases.

I must also state that I have only been to the USA once and that was to Vegas. Custom and Border Protection there were extremely friendly, not what I'd expected at all after reading some on the horror stories on the Internet. Customs may not as be as friendly in other states eg New York but with my personal experience I don't know what people are so worried about.

582. Posted by Tortoiselover (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

Hi there,

I've been having a read through I a need some advice.
My partner are I and planning a trip in 2015 to Florida. He has criminal convinctions:

14 days in prison for breach of court order
Arrested and charged for Obtaining by deception.
3 driving bans
I think arrested at least once for public order offences (unsure if charged)

He is a completely reformed character and deeply regrets his actions when he was young.

I'm thinking as he has had prison time and charges for Obtaining by deception applying for the Visa Waiver would be pointless? Just check 'no' and hope for the best?

Please can anyone help??

583. Posted by vestax32 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

Hi everyone, I have been reading through these posts and like many I want to travel to the US but have a criminal conviction. My predicament is as follows......
I want to travel to the usa in May 2014 to visit some friends who live in Chicago. I have a conviction for drink driving in 2001 which resulted in a ban and a conviction for common assault in 2011 which resulted in 1 years probation. My thinking would be that neither of these offences would be looked upon as being terrible crimes and it would be debatable wether or not they would constitute moral turpitude. I would rather not go through the rigmarole of applying for a visa at the London embassy etc. If I was to answer no on the form im guessing I will get through no problem? Thoughts from the people with experience would be greatly appreciated........:)

584. Posted by wildlywild (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

Hello all.

I'm aware of the whole tedious load of hoops you have to go through to get the US visa if you've done something that's morally turpitudious. I'm just not sure if I have or not.

To start with, I'm British.

I've got convictions for rail fare evasion and giving a false address to a ticket inspector, which resulted in a fine. I was never arrested, so I very much doubt these details will get near the police national computer, more likely will just be held on record at the local level or at the court. I'm just not sure whether either of these would fall under the umbrella of "moral turpitude" or not, as it's pretty ill defined. Anyone have any experience in this matter?

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Oct-2013, at 07:15 by wildlywild ]

585. Posted by Pinksea13 (Budding Member 7 posts) 3y

Tortoise lover and wildlywild, apply for the esta first. If it's approved you should be ok. We applied for a visa in 2005 as we thought that was what we had to do and now cannot travel to America without one. It's a pain and costly so, whilst it's not entirely the correct thing to do, I would always try the esta route first. We had the appointment at the embassy on 9th May and the passport is coming back tomorrow, 22 weeks later. If you do apply for a visa, allow plenty of time.

586. Posted by Schmoo (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

Hello Pinksea13

If you have a British Biometric passport isn't that a bit risky? I've heard that people have got away with it for years and then had the new passport and been pulled!

Apparently the passport office say that the passport only holds information that is already on the passport and in no way does it have info from when you stole a packet of crisps 20 years ago but it seems a bit of a coincidence!

This could be people scaremongering so would be good if someone who has the knowledge and experience could help / answer.

587. Posted by scotbhoy (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

I've had 2 enhanced Disclosure Scotland certificates and both times everything came up clear. I was fined £250 and banned from driving for not having a valid driving licence and no insurance in 1985 and in 1995 I was took to court for knowingly failing to disclose a change in circumstances to the benefits agency. I'd already paid back my overpayment when it went to court so was fined £120. Would it be best if I apply for a visa or just tick no in the box for ESTA. I've read that if you have only one conviction of moral turpitude then you are not ineligible for a visa. I've never been in prison and these are the only things I've ever done in my life. I've never been cautioned by the police or arrested since the driving thing back in 1985. It was the benefits agency who cautioned and arrested me in 1995. Do the driving offences come under moral turpitude?

588. Posted by mrmagic27 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

I found this thread via google searches. I guess it will probably be bumped again and checked by many more people.... My situation (I'm in the UK):

Year or so ago arrested for common assault (Something I didnt even do... I know loads of people say that but in this case, I was the person that phoned the police about what was happening). Given option to admit to all and get a caution or deny it and face court. I really didn't want to go to court and wanted it too all be over with so I admitted it and took the caution purely so I was allowed to go and could forget about it.....

Off to USA in a few months. My Take on it is ticking "no" on the ESTA form is completely honest and unless they specifically ask at the airport "Have you ever been arrested/cautioned/convicted for ANY crime?" then my answer is always NO.

What I have learned from people and research is the following:

Crimes of "moral turpitude" can be found on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_turpitude

If the crime you committed falls into the category of not being a crime of moral turpitude, always say NO on ESTA form. It it does fall into the category tick NO at your own risk or apply for a Visa.

There is no UK police database they can connect to. They can however phone up the UK and ask for a certain person's full records which is usually only done upon suspicion (Such as if you look or are acting suspicious or if things do not add up when you tell them why you are visiting). It then all depends who are working. For me and "common assault", since "moral turpitude" is not clear, to some it may be a crime of "moral turpitude" but for others it may not.

Fingerprints at the airport DO NOT connect to a police database. I'm pretty sure they do connect to interpol databases though which only stores information about people who are high class criminals (like someone on the run or a terrorist). Fingerprints are saved for prevention measures (I.e if someone has a clean record, then becomes a criminal, gets arrested numerous times and then ends up on the run and on the interpol database).

On the ESTA thing never click YES as it always means you will be declined, if you are tempted to click YES, apply for a visa instead.

589. Posted by Pinksea13 (Budding Member 7 posts) 3y

[quote=Schmoo]Hello Pinksea13

If you have a British Biometric passport isn't that a bit risky? I've heard that people have got away with it for years and then had the new passport and been pulled!

Apparently the passport office say that the passport only holds information that is already on the passport and in no way does it have info from when you stole a packet of crisps 20 years ago but it seems a bit of a coincidence!

This could be people scaremongering so would be good if someone who has the knowledge and experience could help / answer]

In our experience it is always best to try the ESTA first. Your passport does not hold any information about any criminal records. Once you apply for a visa you are stuck with it........

590. Posted by Pinksea13 (Budding Member 7 posts) 3y

Sorry....put the reply in the wrong place......try the ESTA first.....

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