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embarassing, but need help regarding criminal record/Europe

Travel Forums Europe embarassing, but need help regarding criminal record/Europe

1. Posted by rainesb (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

Hey there....

I'm hoping someone has some answers for me, because the rest of the web hasn't proven to be much help.

I've been convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge (possession of marijuana as accomodation....meaning i helped someone get it but played no other part. did not profit from it or use it in any way)

Now regarding Europe....

I plan on studying a semester abroad in a year (fall '08) at Oxford, then coming home to graduate from my school here in spring of 09. Immediately following graduation I hope to move back to the UK for good (I realize work visas/etc are a whole 'nother ball game).

Now my question is this....will I be allowed into the UK with my misdemeanor drug charge? What about other European countries?? I realize it's a heavy question but what I'm pretty much trying to find is a list of countries I will be allowed into as well as a list I won't be allowed into. My main concern, obviously though, is the UK.

Also, how difficult will it be to obtain the appropriate visas (student/work/vistor....all of which I will need at one point or another....then eventually IDR [indefinite leave to remain])??

And lastly, should all of the rest be a problem and I eventually obtain IDR, will my criminal record (it's only the drug charge, nothing else...not even speeding tickets lol) transfer over to the UK in any way?? (I cant imagine it would but it's definitely worth asking since I dont know for sure)

I really hope someone knows!
Thanks so much :)

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

If you intend to stay in the UK after graduation, you should arrange it so that you can graduate from the uni in the UK with a degree during your year abroad. This is because graduating from a European uni is the best ticket to a work and residency permit in Europe. After graduation, you are usually given one year to find a job related to your field of study. For this job it will either be very easy to get a work permit or it will be work-permit free, depending upon the country.

If you gaduate from a school in the US, you will be forced to do a master's degree in the UK in order to have a chance for a work and residency permit. (Unless you are in the IT industry or the medical field of course.)

Your criminal offense is something the UK officials will have to deal with, best see http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/ for info. It is a topic that might come up during your application for a student residency permit. It will not be an issue if you come to Europe as a tourist. (I'm assuming that you are a US or Canadian citizen, please correct me if I am wrong.)

If you got more questions, feel free to ask me.

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 11, 2007, at 9:59 AM by t_maia ]

3. Posted by rainesb (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

oops, sorry...yes I'm a US citizen.

and actually, yes, my degree is IT. It's Decision Sciences and Information Management....IT and Business combined. And getting the degree from Oxford isn't really an option (for a number of reasons...financial and my school here being two big ones).

I'm not as worried about obtaining visas etc under all normal conditions....only under such with a drug charge now added to my record.

And with speaking to a dear friend of mine in the UK he said the immigration/customs officials are the ones who may give me a hard time. If I'm actually allowed into the country then from that point forward it shouldn't be a huge issue....

Still unsure if I'll even be allowed in though.

4. Posted by rainesb (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

anyone else have any ideas or knowledge regarding this stuff? :(

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

You are allowed to travel visa free to the UK if you are coming as a tourist. In this case all you do is get off the plane and show your passport to the officials, they'll stamp it and off you go. Same for the Schengen states. They only might ask you some questions about the length and purpose of your stay, your financial support and your adress in the UK or the Schengen area. Unless your passport is marked in any way, they will have no way to determine whether you have a criminal record in the USA or not.

The fun only starts when you apply for a student visa to the UK. Then they will explicitely ask you about your criminal record and chances are they will reject your application. But that is a process that takes part in the USA - you submit your papers to the UK consulate nearest to you and wait. If you get your visa, you board the plane to the UK for your semester abroad. If not.... tough luck.

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 12, 2007, at 8:06 PM by t_maia ]

6. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

I think when it is a tourist visa, America is about the only country in the world to be so paranoid as to refuse people a visa for such a rediculously minor thing. It's like they think being caught with a bit of dope or near some dope is as bad as training for a terrorist network, but to the world that isn't run by G W Bush it isn't really an issue for normal tourist visas. For the student visa things may be different and probably being an American it may be more strictly enforced. This would be to return the inconvenience to American people like the American immigrations people do to British and other foreigners who have been caught for the same minor things when wanting to visit America. Good luck in getting the student visa, hopefully a bit of commonsense would be used by the people issuing the visa.

7. Posted by Dezafinado (Respected Member 177 posts) 9y

I think the best way is to ask the UK embassy/consulat directly. A telephone call should be sufficient if you don't want to show up in person. If they think it might be a huddle, try asking whether your chances improve if you can get the misdemeanor erased. I'm sure about civil/criminal code in your state but usually most disdemeanors can be taken off your record after a period of time.

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 13, 2007, at 9:15 PM by Dezafinado ]