Visa criminal record

Travel Forums General Talk Visa criminal record

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1. Posted by Bradthelad (First Time Poster 1 posts) 51w Star this if you like it!

Hi all. 5 years ago i won a cruise to new york and when applying for my esta it asked about convictions so i was honest and typed yes . the date for interview at embassy for my visa was 4 months after my cruise. So i phoned the embassy and explained and he told me to change my answers to no and i will be fine. Story short i did that and went to newyork on the cruise and got in. Im now on the usa system as customs took my eye print and so on. I have an oppertunity of a free holiday to las vegad so my question is becouse im on the system will i be ok getting back in or will they know about my past now??.

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1057 posts) 51w Star this if you like it!

I'm very surprised the embassy officer apparently told you to lie on the ESTA or he/she decided just on the phone that you were eligible for an ESTA. However, the type of offence for which you were convicted is very relevant and it may be that it was very minor and did not involve any 'moral turpitude'.

You will indeed be on the US system in terms of fingerprints, photo etc and your previous ESTA details will be held as well.

> will i be ok getting back in or will they know about my past now??.

No-one here or anywhere else can answer that question for you, especially as we do not know any details of your offence.

US authorities do not have routine access to UK criminal records though they can request information via Interpol. In 2017 the FBI and ACRO agreed to set up system which improves access:

https://www.acro.police.uk/acro_std.aspx?id=1622

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Jan-2019, at 23:58 by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Laurad89 (Budding Member 3 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

My partner suprised me with a 30th birthday present to go to New York. My first thought was that he had a criminal record for ABH which is now 6 1/2 years spent. I asked him if they accepted his esta and he said yes. I just had a feeling recently that he had not completed it properly as I was told anyone with a criminal record has to get a visa. I checked his application and he said no to being arrested and convicted because he thought after 5 years his record would be spent and not to declare it. We decided to do a new esta for him as i would be paranoid the whole time and he has been denied.

I'm going to start getting the process started for embassy interview, police certificate etc. I am just paranoid we may not have enough time as we go away in September. I have seen it can take up to 6 - 8 months to confirm a visa if you are accepted. I have also seen others be granted visas on the day. So i am a bit confused. Can you fast track at all? Anyone else with a similar circumstance, i would appreciate to hear from you. Thanks!

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1825 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

The "on the day" thing is if the interviewing officer feels able to grant a visa. Otherwise, he could recommend you for a waiver of inadmissibility, which is what involves the 6-8 months wait after the interview.

I can't tell you whether ABH is something that the officer would have latitude to grant a visa over, or indeed whether he'd definitely get a waiver if recommended.

There's no way to fast track.

And the spent conviction thing - the USA don't recognise the concept. As far as they're concerned it stays on your record forever.

5. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1057 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Andy is correct.

Whether a visa is granted on the day depends on the individual, his/her circumstances and on the decision (within external and internal laws, regulations and guidelines) made by the officer who is dealing with him/her. People who don't have criminal records, have only e.g. police cautions for very minor offences (not drugs) and whose other circumstances are all fine have a good chance of being granted a visa on the day. Those who have several convictions and/or whose crimes are more serious won't get a visa on the day but may be recommended for a waiver of ineligibility.

You don't give enough details of your partner's crime and sentence for anyone to speculate on whether he might get a visa on the day though my own opinion is, if this is just one ABH offence and all other circumstances are ok, that he has a good chance of being recommended for a waiver of ineligibility. But his previous lying on the ESTA will also be a factor. Not only does the US not recognise spent convictions from any jurisdiction but it makes that policy *very* clear on its UK embassy website:

>The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to US visa law and spent convictions,regardless of when they occurred will have a bearing on a traveler’s eligibility for admission into the United States.

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

> I have seen it can take up to 6 - 8 months

The London US embassy website gives a time of 6-8 months for processing and deciding upon a waiver. The US Consulate in Belfast has a slightly shorter processing time. If you want to go in September you're cutting it a bit fine for a waiver via London and might be sensible to delay the trip or choose somewhere else for your birthday treat.

>Can you fast track at all?

In a word, no.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Feb-2019, at 11:37 by leics2 ]

6. Posted by Laurad89 (Budding Member 3 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Many thanks for getting back to me so quickly and your advice.

He was given an 8 month suspended sentence and no prison time for the ABH in 2013. This is the only arrest and conviction he has ever had but I guess they could see this as a serious crime.

I am thinking it is probably best if we can to delay the trip or change the destination. Can't help but feel disappointed he didn't tell me before he booked the trip as we could have had this all sorted before we went.

Posts 7 & 8 were removed by moderators
9. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1057 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

I'm sorry your plans have to change but you're right.

The fact that he received a suspended, fairly lengthy, sentence, that the offence took place fairly recently and that he initially ticked 'No'on the ESTA mean that imo he'll need a waiver. The fact that he reconsidered the ESTA and didn't actually enter the US using it should count in his favour.

Even with changed plans, if you think you'd like to visit the US in the next couple of years it's worth him starting the visa process now. By doing so he'll (hopefully) have a visa in place by late autumn and you'll be able to grab bargains and make firm plans.

10. Posted by Laurad89 (Budding Member 3 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

I am applying for his police certificate as we speak then will go through the visa application with him tonight. Hopefully we can get an appointment at the embassy within the next few weeks and gauge from that in whether we need to delay, change destination or cancel.

Do you know anything about the medical that they require you to have? A friend of my had a criminal record for affray with intent to wound and he had to have a medical. Just want to make sure we have all avenues covered and he is well prepared for his interview. Also would it work in his favour to bring character references to the interview?

Thanks for your help.