traveling from UK to USA with criminal record from 12 years

Travel Forums General Talk traveling from UK to USA with criminal record from 12 years

1. Posted by nicolauk (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hello, I hope you are well

I am new to this forum so I apologize beforehand if this topic has been asked and answered numerous times. My brother-in-law will hopefully be traveling to New York from London in the next few weeks. My sister was responsible for arranging visa's for them both and made the mistake of checking that her boyfriend had not been convicted of a criminal offence. It has just come to light that 12 years ago my brother-in-law was arrested and charged with assault (section 20). He did not serve any prison time and received 24 months suspended and 10 months probation. Since he is unable to apply for a new visa due to the length of time it takes to process he has decided to not come to New York because he is afraid that he will be detained and deported.

What are the chances of my Brother-in-law being detained and deported? Will he be immediately flagged upon entry?

Thanks so much for any advice.

-Nic

2. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 345 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

>I apologize beforehand if this topic has been asked and answered numerous times.

It has, both here on TP and elsewhere, but that's no reason not to ask the question again. Visa and immigration rules, regulations, processes and practices change....and not just in the US. :-)

First of all, your sister cannot have arranged a visa for your brother-in-law. UK citizens who want a US visa must apply to the US Embassy in London (or the Consulate General in Belfast) and must attend an interview.

So I assume that your sister made an online application for your brother-in-law's ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). An ESTA is a visa waiver, not a visa. Those who have a criminal record for a 'crime involving moral turpitude' (i.e assault), as your brother-in-law does, are not eligible for an ESTA regardless of when the conviction occurred and regardless of the sentence. The US does not recognise the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (nor similar legislation in other countries).

https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/additional-requirements/

>What are the chances of my Brother-in-law being detained and deported? Will he be immediately flagged upon entry?

Travelling on an ESTA knowing one is not eligible for that visa waiver is potentially a criminal offence under US law. Having said that, thousands of UK and other citizens do take the risk annually, the vast majority with no immediate consequences.

No-one here or anywhere else can tell you the chances of your brother-in-law being stopped at US border control and then being detained/deported. There are absolutely no guarantees one way or the other...and the experience of others has no bearing on what might or could happen to any one individual. Each case is different.

Perhaps the most important thing for your sister and brother-in-law to understand is that if he does take the risk, travels to the US using an ESTA and later wants or needs to apply for a US visa he will definitely be asked questions about his ESTA entry (previous entry data is held on the system). Entering the US under an ESTA when one is not eligible could result in a later visa denial.

This page details the pros and cons of entering the US with an ESTA when one is not eligible to do so:

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-to-the-usa-the-esta-form-and-moral-turpitude

>he has decided to not come to New York because he is afraid that he will be detained and deported.

That is absolutely understandable. It must be your brother-in-law's decision and no-one else's. If his decision means he misses the trip then it is as it is.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jul-2018, at 10:10 by leics2 ]

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 345 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Bom, you have just copy/pasted text directly from the US embassy in the UK's website:

https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/additional-requirements/

If you copy/paste text you should always give the source, not imply that the content and/or wording is your own.

If you read the original question you will see that the poster is already aware of this basic information. That's why the question was asked!

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Jul-2018, at 13:15 by leics2 ]