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travelling with criminal record

Travel Forums North America travelling with criminal record

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1. Posted by missy G (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

I'm really hoping to travel over to the states from Australia, it all sounded good to do til i found out about having a criminal record. I wouldn't be so bothered if i had a small charge of like drink driving but being young, stupid, hangin with the wrong crowd with problems i have charges like fraud, drugs and stealing. I have since sorted myself out being a law binding citizen by working and studying and staying out of trouble. It's not fair that people like in my position did wrong stupid things in the past and worked hard to get where they are and now are judged by the past not what they are now. If anyone who is or were in a slimilar spot I'm in, i would gratefully appreicate the info and their experiences, i still hang on hope to travel to the US. Thanks

2. Posted by somebaldyf (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y

Im in the same boat missy!hoping to go to mexico with a two hour stopover in seattle but i have a very minor drug conviction from seven years ago and a more recent dui,just dont know what to expect.

3. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 8y

Missy-life is not fair and you'll be paying the price of your crimes for decades to come-remember it was you who commited those crimes not 'a bad crowd'.

If you've obtained a pardon you might be able to apply for admission under the waiver program but it would be expensive and time consuming-contact the US Embassy.

Note-you're also inadmissible to Canada.

4. Posted by somebaldyf (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y

does anyone know if il have to go through customs at seattle if its just a two hour stopover en route to cancun,any info from someone in the know would be greatly appreciated..

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

If you are at the same terminal for both flights (and the flights are on the same airline), then you would just be put into an "in-transit" area where you would wait for your connecting flight and never have to go through customs.

My guess is that this is not the situation--meaning you will have to go through customs. As long as you don't go out past security, though, there will be no secondary security screen required.

6. Posted by somebaldyf (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y

I see,cheers for that

7. Posted by bigaloe (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Quoting missy G

I'm really hoping to travel over to the states from Australia, it all sounded good to do til i found out about having a criminal record. I wouldn't be so bothered if i had a small charge of like drink driving but being young, stupid, hangin with the wrong crowd with problems i have charges like fraud, drugs and stealing. I have since sorted myself out being a law binding citizen by working and studying and staying out of trouble. It's not fair that people like in my position did wrong stupid things in the past and worked hard to get where they are and now are judged by the past not what they are now. If anyone who is or were in a slimilar spot I'm in, i would gratefully appreicate the info and their experiences, i still hang on hope to travel to the US. Thanks

No worries, mate. A tourist does not need a background check from the FBI. As long as you can get a passport from your country and are not on the USA terrorist watch list, you can visit the USA. The FBI background check comes into play if you want a visa for work, student, or immigration. Typically, you can be a tourist for up to 90 days.

Since you are from Australia, you do not even need a visa. Currently, 27 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:
http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#countries
Visa Waiver Program - Participating Countries.
Andorra Iceland Norway
Australia Ireland Portugal
Austria Italy San Marino
Belgium Japan Singapore
Brunei Liechtenstein Slovenia
Denmark Luxembourg Spain
Finland Monaco Sweden
France the Netherlands Switzerland
Germany New Zealand United Kingdom
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If you need a visa…

If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program you will need to apply for one at your nearest Embassy or Consulate.

There are several steps you need to follow:

* Locate a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
* Ask about specific processes, requirements, fees, and make an appointment
* Attend the appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with all requirements and fees along with ITS America’s invitation letter
* Obtain the visa

How to locate an U. S. Embassy or Consulate

Please check U.S. Department of State Official website at:
http://usembassy.state.gov/
for full contact information of all U.S. Embassies or consulates worldwide.

Requirements, fees and appointment schedule

Once you contact your Embassy, a specific process needs to be followed in order to obtain a visa. This process varies per country and cannot be determined until you contact the Embassy. An interview may be required so please apply for your Visa well in advance of your travel!

------------------------
If you need a visa for work, study, or immigration:
How Immigration Security Checks Work

To ensure that immigration benefits are given only to eligible applicants, USCIS adopted background security check procedures that address a wide range of possible risk factors. Different kinds of applications undergo different levels of scrutiny. USCIS normally uses the following three background check mechanisms but maintains the authority to conduct other background investigations as necessary:

• The Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) Name Check— IBIS is a multi-agency effort with a central system that combines information from multiple agencies, data__base__s and system interfaces to compile data relating to national security risks, public safety issues and other law enforcement concerns. USCIS can quickly check information from these multiple government agencies to determine if the information in the system affects the adjudication of the case. Results of an IBIS check are usually available immediately. In some cases, information found during an IBIS check will require further investigation. The IBIS check is not deemed completed until all eligibility issues arising from the initial system response are resolved.

• FBI Fingerprint Check—FBI fingerprint checks are conducted for many applications. The FBI fingerprint check provides information relating to criminal background within the United States. Generally, the FBI forwards responses to USCIS within 24-48 hours. If there is a record match, the FBI forwards an electronic copy of the criminal history (RAP sheet) to USCIS. At that point, a USCIS adjudicator reviews the information to determine what effect it may have on eligibility for the benefit. Although the vast majority of inquiries yield no record or match, about 10 percent do uncover criminal history (including immigration violations). In cases involving arrests or charges without disposition, USCIS requires the applicant to provide court certified evidence of the disposition. Customers with prior arrests should provide complete information and certified disposition records at the time of filing to avoid adjudication delays or denial resulting from misrepresentation about criminal history. Even expunged or vacated convictions must be reported for immigration purposes.

• FBI Name Checks—FBI name checks are also required for many applications. The FBI name check is totally different from the FBI fingerprint check. The records maintained in the FBI name check process consist of administrative, applicant, criminal, personnel and other files compiled by law enforcement. Initial responses to this check generally take about two weeks. In about 80 percent of the cases, no match is found. Of the remaining 20 percent, most are resolved within six months. Less than one percent of cases subject to an FBI name check remain pending longer than six months. Some of these cases involve complex, highly sensitive information and cannot be resolved quickly. Even after FBI has provided an initial response to USCIS concerning a match, the name check is not complete until full information is obtained and eligibility issues arising from it are resolved.

8. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 8y

a lot of people over here think it's unfair to give jobs to law breaking foreigners when there are plenty of law abiding americans who are unemployed.

9. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 79 posts) 8y

Bigaloe, that had to be the most thorough and helpful reply ever. It almost made me wish I had a criminal record.;)

10. Posted by kevandshan (Full Member 142 posts) 8y

DUI ...no problem, but unfortunately most of the convictions that Missy G has renders her inadmissible under the Visa Waiver program. She will need to apply for a visa, and most definately will be denied based on character grounds.