drug convictions traveling to the US

Travel Forums North America drug convictions traveling to the US

1. Posted by asbestosjim (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

wanting to have 4 nights in the Big Apple New York USA, but have a very old drugs possession conviction 20yrs
Having been to the US twice the first time was in 1977 for 6 weeks with my farther when we stayed with friends in LA the second time was in 1980 when I stayed in Miami Beach, I had the indefinite visa on my passport but never renewed it when my passport expired.
I want to go to New York for 4 nights but having a conviction for possession of a class B and C drug in 1999, I was filling electronic application and answered yes to the question and was denied ,
my question is, is that it, I can not get into the US, ever?
what about going to the US embassy in London and applying for a visa there, if this is possible what is the process and is it worth it, I've seen the visa waver option but it costs a lot of money and also takes months and not guaranteed to get a waver any way, I wanted to go in early November
or should I answer no on the application, as the conviction is spent now after all this time in the UK
https://www.travellerspoint.com/forum_newthread.cfm

2. Posted by asbestosjim (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

it's really frustrating I am in my late 50,s and being punished for some thing when I was a virile young man, that used to like to party

3. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 456 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

There are a quite a few threads on this subject already, with some quite detailed advice.
Have a quick search and you will probably find the answer.

4. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 439 posts) 5w 1 Star this if you like it!

> is that it, I can not get into the US, ever?

Without knowing the full details of your convictions and subsequent personal circumstances it's impossible for anyone to say one way or the other. However, one drug conviction for possession so long ago does not automatically mean you won't get a visa.

> should I answer no on the application, as the conviction is spent now after all this time in the UK

No. Don't lie on the visa application. Your ESTA refusal is already on the system. The US does not recognise any convictions as 'spent' in other jurisdictions. Lying on an ESTA is potentially a criminal offence in the US and lying on avisa application is, imo, a very good way to get a refusal.

> what about going to the US embassy in London and applying for a visa there, if this is possible what is the process and is it worth it,

It's a straightforward process:

1. Fill in the application online, pay the fee and make an interview appointment.

2. Attend the interview with the relevant paperwork (it's all detailed on the site below). Answer the officer's questions honestly and with courtesy.

3. The officer may decide to grant you a visa on the day or may recommend you to apply for a 'waiver of ineligibility'. He/she will tell you how to do this.

The processing time for a waiver of ineligibility via the London US Embassy is at least 6 months and can be longer. As you say, there is no 100% guarantee that your waiver will be granted but if the facts are as you have posted and your other circumstances and interview are satisfactory then I think the chances are fairly good. However, I am not a US officer working in London and neither is anyone else who might answer here or on any other forum.

The officer can also decide to refuse you a visa altogether though I think this is unlikely if the facts are as you have posted and your interview and other circumstances are satisfactory.

You can find all the details about how to apply for a visa on the embassy website:

https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/

> I wanted to go in early November

Sorry but that's not going to happen. You answered 'yes' and, as you discovered, that means an automatic ESTA refusal. That refusal means you won't get an ESTA if you apply again. Applying via the embassy is your only chance of getting a visa which allows you to enter the US. Only you can decide whether the cost, hassle, time taken and risk of refusal are worth it.

> it's really frustrating

I understand....but every country has the absolute right to decide who can and who cannot enter. A visa waiver or visa does not 100% guarantee entry anywhere. And there are plenty in the UK who want this country to have much tighter rules about who can come in.......

It is as it is.

Good luck! :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Oct-2018, at 08:39 by leics2 ]

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1256 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting asbestosjim

when I was a virile young man, that used to like to party

It would probably be better not to talk in those terms about a criminal offence when you're in the interview with the border officer.

Don't try to make light of it - go for contrite and a changed man.