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Can I get into the USA with an criminal record?

Travel Forums North America Can I get into the USA with an criminal record?

1. Posted by na5235 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

Hi, I am looking to travel to the states and I am worried I will not be allowed because of a criminal record. I have an assault record with 2 charges one being minor and one a mid level assault charge. The record is fairly recent around 7 months ago and both charges were from the same event.

I have a good background other than this and it's pretty clear it was completely out of character for me and something I have huge regrets for. Before this I had never been arrested or had never had any problem with police or anything of that nature. I'm not sure how much they weigh up your person but I hope they would if it came down to it because I'd be devistated if I wasn't able to spend some good time around the USA and Canada.

The other complicated part, is that I was charged with the record in Australia because that's where it happened however I am a New Zealander and only have and travel with a New Zealand passport. I live in Australia but I'm not sure they would check Australia for my criminal history because I'm not an Australia citizen. I don't think I'd like to risk travelling without being honest because I'm not sure it's worth the risk of getting in more trouble because of it and being turned away if it was found out.

I have heard mixed reports about whether I'd be allowed in or not and have done a bit of research online as well which looks as if minor convictions are likely to be ok. Does anyone have any good information for me? Or can anyone answer this question completely?


2. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 7y

We get asked questions like this on this forum all the time--and the simple answer is--we don't know.

You'll have to contact the State Department who will advise you.

Their website is here:

3. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

I think by minor convictions they are talking about non payment of traffic tickets,assault charges on the other hand i'd bet you would be denied entry, but do call the border you are planning to cross at and talk to an actual border guard,tell him the story and he'll let you know what to expect,your previous good standing as a moral and law abiding citizen will have no bearing on whether you get in or not as these border guards go strictly by the book..

Heres another thread on the same topic

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Aug-2009, at 05:20 by jambo101 ]

4. Posted by s96024 (Full Member 106 posts) 7y

Don't declare it. I assume a mid level assault, means somebody got quite hurt. I highly doubt they would be able to check.

5. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

Quoting s96024

Don't declare it. I assume a mid level assault, means somebody got quite hurt. I highly doubt they would be able to check.

Theres a possibility its not in their records and saying nothing about it might get you in but when he looks straight into your eyes and asks "have you ever been arrested" dont flinch/blink.

Although with todays technology he may just push a button on his computer that checks Australia's criminal records and if your name comes up after you've denied the question be prepared for the hassle of your life.

6. Posted by cameronw (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

I can only speak form experience on this.


I have one, ive did more than a year in jail forwhite collar crime. I have been to the states 4 times now and have ALWAYS HAD A CRIMINAL RECORD. I did so much research prior to going and got the same confusing 2 responses. Most say get a visa, some say f*ck it. I was young and stupid and its nothing to be proud of but if you go and try and get a visa-they will always know and you will be f**ked.

The simple quesiton is, if they had everyones criminal record on the screen as they checked you- they wouldnt need to ask the question now would they?


Just dont be nervous when you get there and be cool. Besides, if you got charged in Australia, which is where im from and youre a Kiwi- dont even strss about cos they cant/wont check another country for possibility of an offence.