Skip Navigation

Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

Travel Forums North America Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

Page 1 ... ...

Last Post

941. Posted by jetset2015 (Budding Member 9 posts) 1y

Is the timescale for a waiver always 6 months? Or are you aware of any issued in less time? I reckon I may have 3 months from I would apply to when I would need to travel there for work for a few weeks. Although my caution was for possession nearly 10 years ago it's occupying my mind a lot right now!

942. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 160 posts) 1y


If you're caution was given before 2007, you'll get a visa on the day as any cautions before this time are NOT viewed by the US immigration as an admittance of guilt. Any after this date may well be.

Ultimately - you're fine.

943. Posted by Wrighty2183 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1y

I've asked a question a while back but thought I'd see what your opinion is on my situation. I was cautioned for possession of a controlled substance class A about 7-8 years ago. They didn't find anything on me but because I had taken it I was cautioned. They released me from the police station within 30 mins of arriving because they where busy that night. I didn't receive any paperwork from that day on so I thought it was just a telling off that night and was told not to return to that area for 48 hours. Anyway I applied for a visa 3 years later to coach football in America but was turned down blank. The woman who I spoke to on the day kept on asking for paper work from the police station, the courts and proof of the paid fine which I don't have and have never had to pay because I wasn't issued them. I want to go on holiday now with my 3 year old girl and girlfriend but worried I will be told no again. I'm from the UK, own my own home and about to buy a 2nd so financially I'm tied to the UK. I am a production manager in a well known company and coach for a premier league club in the youth. Have I been hard done by and would I have a chance of a waiver? What would be your next step going forward on this. Thanks

944. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 160 posts) 1y

Hi Wrighty

When you applied for the Visa at the US embassy did you admit to the caution?

When you go to the consulate you need to provide a police ACPO report, you're required to do this for a Visa application of not using ESTA. This would then prove that you were not convicted and no fine was required, so do get one of these asap.

Cautions are a grey area in US law, whereas they are not viewed as a conviction, they are now viewed as a potential admittance of guilt. So where cautions given before 2008 would have meant a visa would be granted outright, now you may require to get a waiver. A waiver can take up to 6 months, but with the time passed you will almost be certain to receive one.

If you had no drugs on you, was the caution "attempted possession"? If they didn't find any on you and you didn't admit to having any they couldn't caution you, taking drugs isn't a crime, possession or attempted possession is.

945. Posted by Wrighty2183 (Budding Member 7 posts) 1y


Yes I did take a ACPO with me and it just says possession of a controlled substance from what I can remember. I didn't have any drugs on me, I didn't admit to having it in my possession I just said I had taken some from a person because they said they had it on cctv also they admitted in the room that they have seen the other lad giving to me. I was drunk and wanted to get out that's why I thought I'll just take the slap on the wrist thinking it was a verbal caution but it's now not. On my previous application to gain a visa they knocked me back and said no and I'm not sure if that's forever, within a certain time frame or just for a working visa. What would you suggest I do now? Apply for a waiver, if so how do I start it? Is it on the London embassy website? Thanks again for your response

946. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 160 posts) 1y

Hi Wrighty

I am in an almost identical predicament, although I was cautioned for "Attempt to Possess" as I had no drugs on me. You may want to check the detail on this, if they didn't find anything on you they couldn't caution you for full Possession. My advice on this is to get a police report, they only cost a tenner. If it does say you were cautioned for full possession, you should write to the Chief of Police in the area you were arrested to investigate.

In regards to knocking you back, this wouldn't necessarily be permanent, however they WILL have you on their system as inadmissible so you won't be able to "roll the dice" at immigration.

You can't apply for a waiver, you must apply for a Visa the usual way via the London US embassy - they must fill in the relevant forms, plus a separate form detailing your criminal record. You will need a full ACPO document, and supporting financial and personal information (childrens birth certificates, mortgage papers, pay slips, savings etc).

Armed with this, they will, on the day of your interview, decide if they will put you forward for a Waiver of Inadmissibility. If they do, you're 99% likely to get one, but it WILL take up to 6 months to process. I suggest creating a new email account just for this so it doesn't get lost in a sea of other mails.

947. Posted by julia48 (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y

Hi everyone
Something is stressing me out : if at the end of my interview at the embassy they tell me I am not eligible for a visa and that I should apply for a waiver, will I get a refused stamp visa in my passport ?
Thanks for your answer

948. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 160 posts) 1y

Julia - you don't apply for a waiver, they suggest it for you and do the rest yourself.

No you wont get a refused stamp, but it will show up on US immigrations systems that you have been refused a VISA and to try again in a year.

However, unless your crime is particularly bad and you don't show proof that you have ties to the UK I.e they think you're going to settle in the US permanently, you wont be refused outright for a non-immigrant Visa.

949. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 160 posts) 1y

Sorry, I should clarify that if its a non-immigrant Visa you're going for, its unlikely they wont put you forward for a waiver.

950. Posted by julia48 (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y

Hi travelman
Thanks for your reply. Indeed I am applying for a non-immigrant visa I plan to visit a friend this summer
I had my caution only 1 year and half ago I hope the officer won't consider it as a too recent event
Fingers crossed