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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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591. Posted by pink0783 (Budding Member 27 posts) 2y

Hi all!

I would like to give you all an update.

I posted back in May re. my husband and I wanting a holiday to the USA but with him having a criminal record for possession of 300mg of cocaine (8 years ago), we would need to either lie on the ESTA or be honest people and go through the Visa route. We opted for the latter as neither one of us would risk getting caught and sent home.

In June I updated to say he was denied a Visa at the Embassy (which we knew would happen) and that he had been elected for a waiver of inelegibility (which is purposely for those with one record which is of moral turpitude (which includes drugs). I think at the Embassy they have a good enough judgement of people. My husband has a mortgage and we own our own business. He'd taken with him proof of ties to the country and plenty of photos.

Anyway, Friday, after five long months of waiting, he got an email telling him that his visa is now ready for collection! We are not yet sure of its terms but guess it will be for one trip to be taken in the next six months. (I will update again once he gets it.)

So to all those who may have been tempted by drugs when they were young and naive, so long as you have turned a corner and can prove that you are no longer associated with that life, America will accept you and you don't have to break the law trying to get in.

We will be visiting, legally next year.

Good luck everyone whichever route you choose. Get in touch if you have any questions.

592. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2434 posts) 2y

Thanks for the update.


593. Posted by madyellow (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Hi All,

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

I am a British Citizen who accepted an adult caution for possession of cannabis (class c) in 2005. I have read all the posts and have decided it is safer to apply for a US travel visa (B1 or B2). I have printed off an ACRO form however I just need to clarify:

Which visa forms/ online forms do I need to complete?

Is it better to apply and wait to get ACRO/police check back before completing the visa forms?

Many Thanks

594. Posted by dcamp (Budding Member 12 posts) 2y

Hi Madyellow, Yes you are better to get your ACRO report first as you will not be able to apply for your visa appointment without this. You will need to fill in the VCU1 form too and DS160 all listed on the website.

Good luck

Personally I wouldnt worry if you are going on a holiday, my son was going to study so was different. My husband has old old convictions with cannabis and we have been to the stated many times, too many to count and never been a problem on the VWP

595. Posted by pink0783 (Budding Member 27 posts) 2y

Another update.

My husbands Visa Waiver arrived today and he has a years Visa with multiple entries which is much better than we were expecting.

So to conclude :

Dec 2006 : My 2006 my husband was arrested and charged with possession of 300mg of cocaine
May 2013 : Applied for ACRO Certficate and Visa Interview
June 20th 2013 : Denied Visa at interview but put forward for a Visa Waiver
15 Nov 2013 : Recieved Visa email instructing us to send off passport
19 Nov 2013 : Sent off passport
22 Nov 2013 : Received passport back with Visa for 12 months, multiple entries

Good luck everyone.

If you have any questions at all, get in touch. I know what a horrible process it can be...

596. Posted by patriciagray001 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2y

Hi I know this might be an old thread but its something Im interested in also.
Can anyone tell me if the customs have direct access to your records?. can they access your uk police record from usa customs?

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

597. Posted by Imsdal (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2y

Hi all.

I'm wondering about my own case - and in fear of having Terry on my back, the thing about is that I HAVE to apply for a visa. I'm going to stay in the US for a full year on a Q1 visa, however, I do have a conviction of something of "moral turpitude" (embezzlement). So should I now scrap the whole thing 'cuz it just ain't gonna happen? Never arrested, but got a fine.

I imagine filling out the forms that it has the same questions as on the ESTA, meaning the "have you ever been convicted/arrested" one. By marking 'no', any way the embassy will find out? I have to go to the embassy for an interview regardless as it's a visa.

(PS, not from the UK, but from Norway. Don't think they have access to our criminal register either)

598. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru 2434 posts) 2y

Thanks again for the additional update Pink, I'm so happy it all went off without a hitch. Sometimes the process really does work the way it's supposed to.

All the best to you and have a gas on your trip.


599. Posted by z4ne (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2y

So I thought I would share my experience and tell some hard facts here so people can here it from the horses mouth so to speak. Let me tell u now... America has no... NO instant access to UK criminal records... no matter what passport u have... old or new.... or how old the record is.
I myself have records.. I came to visit my girlfriend in middle of yyear on an older passport then when I got back I had to renew it and now have a new bio metric passport. And am here again.... in fact writing this to u all from America right now. People like to scaremong on here and various other sites stating that USA customs and border protection know all ur record in advance or it pops up on the screen when u check off ur flight at u.s customs.... let me tell u now once and for all that is compleate horseshit... they are no more aware than I am of any of urs.... now they may request that info.... but only for a good reason.... through the proper channels. So again let everyone say.... THEY DO NOT SEE UR RECORD... THE UK DOES NOT GRANT OR GIVE UNLIMITED OPEN ACCESS TO THAT INFO TO THE USA .
OK peace out and merry Christmas to all :)

600. Posted by positivemum (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Hi, here is my update. I posted on here many months back as I have a record for fraud as I did not declare my partner living with me at the time. I ended up with a 2 year suspended sentence & community service thank god, but like I said I have a fraud conviction which does come under moral turpitude when travelling to USA . I am now married and I am happy to say have just arrived back from New York after an amazing family holiday. The build up to the holiday I was nervous but absolutely no need to as I got through USA customs no problem. I think they are only interested in people trying to stay in the Country and not 1 bit interested in people with minor convictions. Just get your Esta and go for it. Good luck to all xxx

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