Esta or visa??

Travel Forums North America Esta or visa??

Page
Last Post
1. Posted by Poppy771213 (Budding Member 2 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Hi me and my wife have both won a holiday to america (we are from the uk) we both have criminal convictions mine for criminal damage and common assault dating back to 1993 and 1998. And my wifes for shoplifting (from 15 years ago) and not declaring paid work while claiming benefits 11 years ago ( stupid YES I KNOW ) i was wondering do we tick no to the question on moral turptitude or yes..or would it be better to apply for a visa.i have looked on many forums and it seems to be all different answers. What would the chances be of being turned down for a visa with the criminal records going so far back.. we havent been in any trouble with the police since..dont want to miss out on this holiday by being stopped at immigration

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6285 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

I'll repeat the answer I gave to your post on the other thread:

The ESTA question asks: Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?

How long ago the offences took place is irrelevant to the ESTA. The US does not recognise spent convictions from another jurisdiction.

> does these crimes fall under moral turptitude

There is no absolute definition of 'serious' or 'moral turpitude'. Not declaring work is fraud/making false representation, a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude) and could be considered to cause serious harm to a government authority. Common assault and shoplifting (theft) are also considered CIMTs.

>will a visa be needed

You can lie on the ESTA if you wish. Thousands have done. Lying on the ESTA can be considered a US criminal offence and will, obviously, cause problems if you want or need a US visa in future.

You say you don't like the chances (you mean the worry, I think?) of being stopped at immigration. No visa, visa waiver or evisa absolutely guarantees entry into any country... anyone can be pulled aside for further questioning and/or refused entry... but if you want to minimise that worry you should apply for a visa.

>What would the chances be of being turned down for a visa with the criminal records going so far back

Assuming everything else is ok I think it's likely that the officer at your visa interview will recommend you for a 'waiver of ineligibility' which, if granted, will result in a visa. Waiver processing times via London are 6-8 months (Belfast is slightly less) and it's probable that the US government shutdown is slowing down processing even more. BUT everything depends on the exact details of your offences, all your personal circumstances and what the officer decides on the day of interview.

Only you can decide whether to risk an ESTA or go down the visa route. No-one here or anywhere else can tell you for certain what will happen in either case: it depends on the exact circumstances and the decision made by the officer/s on the day.

3. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

I appreciate this is an old thread however I am really concerned I’ve messed things up and could do with the advice.

In august of last year I applied for an Esta visa stupidly I did not do my research and I wrongly assumed that the rehabilitation act applied and that I did not need to declare my convictions.

13 years ago I was coerced into taking 2grams of cannabis into a prison, I was in a very abusive relationship and through fear I made the wrong choice - I’m hindsight I should have sought help from the establishment but I was 18 and fearful and went ahead with the offence.

I was given a 12 month suspended sentence. It’s been 13 years and it was not something I considered when applying for the ESTA visa.

now I plan on travelling to the US in June or July of this year and having had a look online it seems I should have applied for a visa via the embassy.

My thoughts are, have a messed up beyond repair regarding my non admission?

considering the length of time since my conviction and now could it be that at the US they would have no idea of my conviction and allow me access anyway.

Should I go via the proper channels and attempt to get a visa or has my issue with the ESTA made it so that will never be possible.

One solicitor told me not to worry that the information will not be in the US and that I don’t need to default another has asked me for £2k to write me a waiver of inadmissility

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2942 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

1. Don't pay the £2k, there's no way he can guarantee that, you can do it yourself just as easily.

2. In your position I'd apply for a visa.

3. I think you're okay since you've not used the esta to travel. At the visa interview you can explain that you realised your error.

5. Posted by BeateR (Full Member 284 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

You have to apply for a Visa, because for ESTA there is a question, if you have ever been convicted for crime. You'd have to answer with "Yes" and therefore the ESTA would be denied.
By going the Visa-way you'd have the chance to explain it and would have a really chance to get it. But do it by your own, not via any third-part-provider. They cannot do anything for you, what you cannot do cheaper and easy by your own.

6. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Thank you.

Is anyone here aware of the process in terms of applying for a visa via the embassy the solicitor made it seem an extremely difficult process by which I would need to compile evidence.

He mentioned I would need a b1/b2 form… do I need one or the other or both ?!

As well as a DS160

An interview at the embassy

a police disclosure report.

And character statements among some other things.

He also mentioned that he would write the waiver which I’d have assumed would be for officials to do, if I am wrong is this something I can do myself ? If so what must this consist of?

Thank you I’m advance to anyone who’s able to offer any insight.

7. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6285 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

>have a messed up beyond repair regarding my non admission?

In a word, no.

> the solicitor made it seem an extremely difficult process by which I would need to compile evidence.

Of course he did! He/she just wants your money!You are perfectly capable of making your own application, just as thousands of other people do every year.

>he would write the waiver which I’d have assumed would be for officials to do,

Either you completely misunderstood or he is flat-out lying. Only your interviewing officer can recommend you for a waiver and only the Department of Homeland Security can decide whether to grant it or not. Any reputable soliciyor would have made that 100% clear.

>Is anyone here aware of the process in terms of applying for a visa via the embassy

The process is very straightforward and you are given all the information you need when you make an application. The official UK US Embassy website tells you exactly what you need to do:

https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/tourism-visitor/

Just go to the US embassy website and start your application.

Feel free to come back here if you have more questions.

8. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Thank you.

this is part of the email I was referring to.

If you are happy making your own B1/B2 application and booking your appointment, all we need is £800 to write the waiver of inadmissibility and advise and assess supporting evidence.

- If you’d like us to make your B1/B2 application and book your appointment, our fee is £1015 (including the US Consular fee and Premium Passport Return) plus the above £800 waiver fee = £1815

I can not seem to find the part to pay via the link you sent, so I need to creat an account ?

Also … I thought I needed to apply for the DS160 form via the ceca.state.gov site.

Am I correct to assume once completed I then go to the link you provided and then creat an account ?

Thank you, I really struggle to process information when overwhelmed.

9. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6285 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

>all we need is £800 to write the waiver of inadmissibility

That makes no sense at all. There is no need for anyone to write such a waiver. Perhaps they're trying to suggest that having a lawyer-speak document will somehow help the interviewing officer to make a decision? I can assure you that it won't.

Being convicted of a 'crime involving moral turpitude' (a US legal concept) immediately makes someone ineligible for US entry. The only way for them to get a visa and legally enter the US is to be granted a 'waiver of ineligibility'. As I said, the only person who can recommend someone for a waiver of ineligibility is the interviewing officer and only the Department of Homeland Security can decide whether to grant it or not.

>I can not seem to find the part to pay via the link you sent, so I need to creat an account

You don't pay anything until you submit an application. Make sure you use the official site I linked.

>I thought I needed to apply for the DS160 form via the ceca.state.gov site. Am I correct to assume once completed I then go to the link you provided and then creat an account ?

When you create an account and start your application the official site will tell you exactly what to do. Take a breath and re-read all the info on the page I linked.

>I really struggle to process information when overwhelmed.

That's perfectly normal. Most people do (regardless of what they might tell you). Take some time and space to calm yourself down before you start.

[ Edit: Edited on 14 Jan 2024, 21:07 GMT by leics2 ]

10. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Thank you I really appreciate you taking the time to forward the relevant information on to me.

I am currently in the process of going through all the documents.

I came across this message on the link you provided -

If a visa applicant has not established that he or she is eligible for a visa, the consular officer must refuse that application. However, some refused visa applications may require further administrative processing

How do I determine if I am eligible for a visa ?! I am applying in the hope that it will be granted but have no idea if I am eligible.

On th DS160 form under the security and background part 2
It asks if I have been arrested or convicted, the answer to this is YES however it goes on to a box that says “Explain” do I need to input the full details of the crime committed such as dates and outcome ?

I am currently in the process of filling out the ACRO police certificate so I am yet to have the full details it will take approx 30 days to have this information am I required to wait until I have this before I can complete the DS160 ?

Sorry, I can appreciate this may be clear cut to some but having someone confirm will be highly appreciated.