Esta or visa??

Travel Forums North America Esta or visa??

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11. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2955 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Confused2024

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.

Don't overthink it. Just make the application to start the process off.

Do I need to input the full details of the crime committed such as dates and outcome ?
Am I required to wait until I have (the police certificate) before I can complete the DS160 ?

You can apply now.

Just fill in the basic details and at the interview they will ask for any additional details that they want. They're likely to ask to see the police certificate at the visa interview too.

If it were me I would write it similarly to how you explained it here: "At age 18 I was caught carrying 2g of cannabis." I wouldn't talk about coercion etc - don't make excuses, you are better off saying I was young and foolish, show contrition and accept responsibility, you've done a lot of growing up since then and you're now a model citizen.

And I wouldn't attempt to put all this detail in the application - keep that short and sweet. When asked about it at interview that is the time to show remorse and accept responsibility.

I fully expect you'll be given a waiver and a visa. It just may take time. Your June or July trip may be too soon - if you're able to travel to the Belfast embassy for an interview, I would consider making your application to them as they appear to have shorter waits for interviews. That would get you in the queue for a waiver quicker, though I gather the waivers are then all one queue.

12. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6343 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

>If a visa applicant has not established that he or she is eligible for a visa, the consular officer must refuse that application. How do I determine if I am eligible for a visa?

That comment is just badly-worded. All you have to do is apply for a visa. The interviewing officer will decide whether you're eligible for a visa or need a waiver of ineligibility first.

>Do I need to input the full details of the crime committed such as dates and outcome ?
Am I required to wait until I have (the police certificate) before I can complete the DS160 ?

As Andy says, just start the application process off. Everything you need to know is explained as you proceed. They don't try to trick you by letting you start then e.g. telling you that you need to do something else first!

You will need the Acro for your interview so make sure you book an interview slot on a sensible date. It's entirely possible to cancel and re-book appointments but it's daft to add more stress by making an appointment in e.g. a couple of weeks' time and just hoping your Acro will turn up!

As Andy says, if you do end up needing a waiver it almost certainly won't processed & your visa granted byJune. There's no way of speeding up waiver processing and it seems to be taking much the same time as before Covid i.e. 6-8 months via the London Embassy, 5-6 months via the Belfast Consulate.

[ Edit: Edited on 15 Jan 2024, 14:51 GMT by leics2 ]

13. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

Thank you your help during the process has been incredibly helpful.

I’m hoping this will be the last from me if not indefinitely then for a while yet.

mom ds160 form is asks if I have had a us visa before.
Due to having applied and got approved for an ESTA would I click yes ?

I as I believe I previously mentioned before did not declare convictions on this as I was wrongfully under the assumption that the rehabilitation act applied as I was a UK citizen.

14. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

Back far quicker than anticipated!!

solicitor I mentioned earlier has contacted me to suggest that while I am likely capable of completing the ds160 he is certain that I need to complete a I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

he has said that without this I will absolutely not be granted entry.

Thoughts ?

15. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6343 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

>Due to having applied and got approved for an ESTA would I click yes ?

No. You have not had a US visa before. You obtained and travelled on an ESTA, which is a visa waiver.

>I as I believe I previously mentioned before did not declare convictions on this as I was wrongfully under the assumption that the rehabilitation act applied as I was a UK citizen.

The US Embassy website is very clear about the Esta requirements:

>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 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. (my underline)

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

It is your responsibility to meet the entry requirements of any country. Having said that, hundreds of people have made exactly the same wrong assumption and interviewing officers are well-used to dealing with people who have wrongly travelled on the Esta. At your interview be absolutely honest and take full responsibility for your mistake. Don't stress about it: interviewing officers are not ogres and they do not judge people: they judge whether their application allows them US entry under US law.

>he is certain that I need to complete a I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

If, after considering all aspects of your application and your interview (and in discussion with his/her superiors if required), the interviewing officer decides whether you need a 'waiver of ineligibility' and whether to recommend you for one. If you do need a waiver the necessary paperwork will be completed at that time.

From the official site:

>The consular officer interviewing you will tell you if you may apply for a waiver and will provide detailed instructions for how to apply.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/waivers.html

The very fact that the solicitor continues to pursue the matter should ring alarm bells. Reputable solicitors do not chase clients.

A long-running thread on this forum contains posts from literally 100s of UK citizens with criminal records asking about the US visa process. I cannot recall any of them needing or using a solicitor to make the application, attend an interview or get a waiver (if required and if the officer made the recommendation).

I cannot stress enough that you do not need a solicitor to do this.

[ Edit: Edited on 15 Jan 2024, 21:06 GMT by leics2 ]

16. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

Thank you once again !

I too thought it was odd that it was he who was chasing me and thought he was trying to apply the pressure to get some ££

thank you for clarifying the issue with the ESTA. Since I had only applied and have not travelled on it is there any point to reapplying with the correct information? Clearly it will be declined but I’m wondering if that would help my case in showing I attempted to right that wrong or is completely unnecessary consider I’m now well aware and have gone down the visa route ?

17. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6343 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

> thought he was trying to apply the pressure to get some ££

Exactly so. Applying scare tactics is, again, not something any reputable solicitor would do.

>is there any point to reapplying with the correct information?

Absolutely none whatsoever.

The fact that you haven't travelled on the Esta is a huge point in your favour and the very fact that you are applying for a visa shows that you want to 'do the right thing' (and that's very important).

[ Edit: Edited on 15 Jan 2024, 21:10 GMT by leics2 ]

18. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

Thank you !!

You aught to charge for the service you offer :)

I have submitted the ds160 and have gone on the following link -
Als.usvisa-info.com/en-gb
I have gone on every link I can find to pay and can not for the life of me find it !!

Any ideas ? Do they email you a specific link ?

19. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

Ds160 submitted.

confimation with barcode printed

followed instructions to pay and it shows no total fee amount at all - it’s completely blank?

unable to book visit due to no appointments available.

I’m wondering if I can’t make the payment due to there being no appointments.
OR
That because I’ve been unable to pay the appointments aren’t available to me ?

20. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 21w Star this if you like it!

I have seen there is a website -

Portal.ustraveldocs.com whereby it seems I can register and potentially make payment.

Is this a scam website ? It’s showing an available appointments for january 31st without any of my details being input

I’d have assumed if this was where I needed to go that it would have ‘Gov’ in the website name and would have been linked to the information sent via email rather than a google search.

However it seems from lots of web links this is the “new” place to pay ? Anyone have any idea if this is legit.