Esta or visa?

Travel Forums North America Esta or visa?

1. Posted by Pinkjacob (Budding Member 2 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

22m | Edit
Hi I'm sorry if this has been asked before but I'm new to this. We are planning on travelling to florida next October. There will be 14 of us in total as a whole family trip. My husband has a drink driving conviction for which he had to pay a fine. He didn't have a license at the time and had no insurance on the car he was driving (my car). This happened in 2015. However the police forgot to charge him at the time for the lack of license/insurance and these were added later. He hasn't driven since. He caused no harm to person or property. We have applied for a copy of his record to check exactly what is on there in regards to this. My question is would he be ok applying for an esta or would he need a visa? Thank you

2. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 657 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

>My question is would he be ok applying for an esta or would he need a visa?

I'll assume you are from the UK.

No-one on any internet forum is a US border official who can give you a 100% definite answer, however much some posters might like to present themselves as 'experts' in this area. Internet forum contributors can only give advice based on their own knowledge and experience. Each case is different, each individual is dealt with individually and no-one who replies can ever know all the relevant details of the person who asks the question.

The ESTA question, as it stands at present, asks about 'serious harm' to person or property, wording which is (understandably) vague enough to allow wiggle-room for border officials. 'Crimes involving moral turpitude' are indeed a bar to entering the US without a visa but there is no official guidance about exactly what is and what is not regarded as a crime involving moral turpitude.

The official advice from the US Embassy in London is:

> We do not recommend that travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, have a criminal record, ....... attempt to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (the ESTA)

Drink driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance are criminal offences in the UK. Some non-official websites suggest that these offences are not considered crimes involving moral turpitude.

I'm afraid it can only be your husband's decision whether he decides to apply for an ESTA or makes an application for a US visa.

Some may actively encourage your husband to apply for an ESTA. You will perhaps be told that the offences are not CIMT and that many, many people lie on their ESTA applications and have no problems entering the USA.

If the facts are as you state, I very much doubt that your husband would have any difficulty in obtaining a visa. A visa does cost more than an ESTA but it lasts longer and provides peace of mind.

I'd consider it irresponsible for me to suggest one decision or the other, sorry. That's up to your husband.

Whatever his decision, I hope you have a super holiday! :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 29-Sep-2018, at 13:24 by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Pinkjacob (Budding Member 2 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

Thank you very much for your reply. We are awaiting his acro then we will contact the cbp for their advice.

4. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 657 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

If you contact the CBP they will give you the same advice as they give on their website. I quoted that advice above.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Oct-2018, at 01:37 by leics2 ]