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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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671. Posted by Gemma121 (Budding Member 12 posts) 2y

Hi all,

I posted here a couple of months ago with the same worry as everyone here.

I was hoping to be able to take my dad on his first holiday to America, but he had assault on his criminal record from 17 years ago and we were worried about going.

WELL!!!!! We are actually back from America now! And I just wanted to share my success story.

We flew from London Heathrow and changed in Montreal, Canada, then onto Los Angeles.

We actually met with border patrol in Canada and the only question we were asked was:
"Where are you going"
We said Los Angeles.

That was it.

Passport stamped. Fingerprints taken. Then "enjoy your holiday"

Couldn't have been simpler.

As far as I know, as long as you're not on some "wanted" list, I can't see how they wouldn't let any of the worried people in this forum in.

Thanks again guys. Especially CheersT (Terry) as he really knows his stuff!

672. Posted by ranger1937 (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y


Just wanted to say a big thank you to Terry. A few months ago I posted a question asking about criminal records (post 617) in a bit of a panic and Terry told me to relax and have a great holiday. Well for the most part I did relax and I had an amazing holiday. We landed at Las Vegas and had our prints scanned, our pics taken, passport stamped and wished a nice holiday.
I can't believe I wasted time worrying about it, So one again Thanks Terry. To anyone else, go have fun


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

Thank you so very much for the follow up Cat, I really appreciate it.

Glad you have a great holiday.

All the best to you.


674. Posted by dazzfella66 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2y

I got busted in Londin for "DUI" in 209. I booked for a weekend trip tn Nee York and spent 14 hrs in a Detention cell . So I know DUI is a bad offence , but if I was refuded entry 5 years down the line think on if you intend to visit The US . Be honest, upfront and if in real doubt info can be gained at The U S Embassy in London. Good luck Travellers. ...

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

There must have been extenuating circumstances because a DUI is not grounds for being denied entry into the US.

(It is however enough to be turned away at the Canadian border.)


676. Posted by grin1408 (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y

I'm due to appear in court at the end of July being charged with possession with intent to supply, and I plan to fly to USA in June. As I wont of been charged with anything yet, will this affect me getting in? I am a bit anxious that my fingerprints were taken the night I was arrested, and I know these get scanned when entering America. Does anyone know what the fingerprint data actually holds? ie is it anything to do with the crime? I read elsewhere that it is taken when entering to stop you overstaying your visa but I am unsure if this is true.

All ran smoothly incase anyone's in a similar predicament

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

As usual you fail to mention the single most important bit of info - your nationality - but assuming you're from the UK your situation has been addressed dozens and dozens of times throughout this thread.

Bottom line, nothing is ever guaranteed of course, but your chances of raising a red flag at US CBP is almost zero. Forget the arrest ever happened.

Good luck.


678. Posted by cfcfan (Budding Member 3 posts) 2y

I was a naughty boy in my teens and early twenties and got a criminal record for 4 offences during the 70s - 80s for:
Theft (of some trainers from a shop), handling stolen goods (a cassette player), criminal damage (twice for breaking a window). never been to prison but got locked up as unconvicted for jumping bail once.
I was arrested 10 yrs ago because someone said i had hit them when it was the other way round. I had prints and dna taken but when the police investigated fully and found out I was innocent I didnt get charged.
Just done a SAR and theres nothing on the PNC about me.
Since I dont have a criminal record anymore I filled out an esta for our holiday to florida saying I havent been arrested or convicted of a crime because I thought as there is nothing on the PNC it wouldnt matter. My girlfriend is scared to death that if the US border agency were to stop me and do some checks I might get into trouble or worst still sent home. I came on this site to find out what the chances are and see that there are loads of posts about the border agency going through interpol so now Im terrified!
If the border security did do a check through interpol to the UK police will there be any traceable records when the PNC has nothing?

679. Posted by Gemma121 (Budding Member 12 posts) 2y

They'd have to have some SERIOUS concern to police check you. Honestly, my dads crime was 17 years ago, no arrest, but still fined, fingerprints taken etc... And I swear, at the border the only question they asked was "where are you going?" My dad didn't even say a word, and all I said was "yes". That was it. As far as I'm aware, and I'm nearly 99.9% positive:
- They take your finger prints at border control so that if you comit a crime while you're visiting, they can tell that it was you.
- Unless you give them a reason to do a police check on you, they won't.
- If you look like a tourist, act like a tourist, be friendly, are there to dump a load of money and go home without causing trouble, they will let you in.

The ONLY thing I can see going wrong is if you get randomly spot checked, but I've never heard of this happening to anyone FIRST HAND. Only scaremonger stories.

Like your partner is, I was worried sick my dad and I wouldn't get in, that they'd see his record as soon as he gave his finger prints. But now I don't even know what I was worried about. I'd bet money on it that you'll be fine.

680. Posted by Gemma121 (Budding Member 12 posts) 2y

Oh and P.S to make you feel even better, I did a SAR on my dad and his arrests did come up, so you're in an even better position than he was.

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