Esta or visa??

Travel Forums North America Esta or visa??

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31. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 15w Star this if you like it!

Going backwards:

>do they expect to see an abundance of financial means ?

No. The issue of whether someone can support him/herself in the US is primarily something for US Customs officers (border officers). If it niggles at you there's nothing to stop you taking bank etc statements to your interview but don't be surprised if the interviewing officer doesn't want to see them.

> In terms of providing evidence to the UK would a tenancy agreement, my child’s birth certificate & photos of myself with my family be okay ?

Photos are neither here nor there. Tenancy agreement, definitely. Other ideas: proof of income (e.g. benefits documentation, partner's wage slips, evidence of maintenance payments), evidence of your child's attendance at school (if old enough) and his ECHP if he has one, medical documents relating to his disabilities, evidence relating to any previous employment, evidence of any community involvement you have... Take anything you think will be useful but, again, don't be surprised if the officer doesn't want to see it.

>it will not allow me to input a signature online so I will need to print this first before I can the sign and date… is this sufficient?

Yes. You are expected to print and sign the VCU1:

https://uk.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2016/08/VCU01_London.pdf

> It also says I need to list any imprisonment due to my sentence being suspended I assume it is still deemed as a custodial sentence albeit in the community do I need to list this

You didn't actually serve a custodial sentence. You could put the length of sentence with 'suspended' in brackets, put '0 days' in the 'actually served' section and N/A to the sections about date of release from prison/probation.

> I do not need to complete convictions/arrests etc if I have a ACRO police certificate or at least this was my take on the wording… am I correct ?

The link above states that you should fill in section 2 of VCU1 if the ACRO 'states 'No trace, 'No live trace' or does not list, in full, your arrests/cautions/convictions'. Imo it's better to give too much information than not enough.

and finally:

>section 6 asks if I replied “yes” to eligibility questions on the DS160 form I do not recal if I did or what this may mean in terms of what information would be required of me

Without knowing the exact wording of the eligibility questions are it's difficult to advise. I doubt you replied 'Yes' if they're the same as the Esta eligibility questions e.g. a) having a physical or mental disorder, being a drug abuser or addict, having a communicable disease b) being involved in terrorist activities/espionge etc c) committed fraud or misrepresentation to help yourself or others enter the US d) seeking employment or previously illegally employed in the US e) have you ever deen denied a US visa or refused admission to the US f) have you been present in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan or Somalia since 2011 or Cuba since 2012.

[ Edit: Edited on 5 Mar 2024, 21:30 GMT by leics2 ]

32. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Good morning,

today I had my appointment at the US Embassy.
I was denied a visa as expected due to past criminal convictions.
However I was denied a visa due to being on state benefits. I am a full time career for my son who has disabilities and so I am unable to work for the foreseeable. I feel I’ve been penalised for something I have no control over. I have the means of supporting myself financially and would be saving up for a holiday to ensure I have sufficient funds for my stay.

I feel really shocked that this was the reason as to why I was not put forward for a visa, I am studying from home but can not work for reasons stated above.

I understand there is no appeals service but is it worth while re applying ? If so how long should I leave it ?

33. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

>I was denied a visa as expected due to past criminal convictions.
However I was denied a visa due to being on state benefits.

You weren't denied a visa just because you were on state benefits. You were denied a visa because you have a criminal record (a drug offence serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence, albeit suspended) and you have no job or income other than state benefits. You'd also previously entered the US on an Esta without declaring your criminal record and made a false declaration by ticking 'No' to the question: 'Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?' All those factors would have influenced the interviewing officer's decision to deny you a visa.

One of the requirements for entry to the US (and most/all other countries) is that you can show proof you are able to support yourself financially during your stay in that country (e.g. proof of savings of around £5000). Saying that you'll save up in future isn't enough. If you were granted a visa you could enter the US long before you had the necessary...or any...savings.

>I understand there is no appeals service but is it worth while re applying ? If so how long should I leave it ?

It is unlikely that you'll get a different decision at any point unless your circumstances change so, imo, it is only worth reapplying when they do. For example, I assume your child isn't yet at school? When he/she is...or if he/she is at school now...you could look for part-time work during school hours. You could also try to build up a savings pot.

I know it's hard but it is as it is. Every country has the absolute right to set its own entry requirements. If visiting the US is going to be unachievable because of your personal circumstances ..well..there are lots of other countries to visit.

[ Edit: Edited on 17 Apr 2024, 09:52 GMT by leics2 ]

34. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Yes you’re right I wasn’t denied a visa due to financial means it was because of my record she advised I was not being put forward for a waiver of ineligibility due to not being in work.

my son is unlikely to be able to attend school in the future due to his disabilities, I have savings of 8k which she refused to allow me to show these savings however would not be used for a trip to the US but are there for emergencies so could in theory be used to finance a short trip to the US but I intend on saving up a few months so as to not have to break into that money. I also study from home so currently working isn’t on the cards for me despite it being something I want to get back into.

I can’t help but feel that it’s unfair that despite having the financial capacity to support myself for a short trip away it is because I am unable to work due to situations out of my control that lead to her decision.

Is that it for me then ?! :( no hope at all ?

35. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

>my son is unlikely to be able to attend school in the future due to his disabilities

There is excellent special school provision in the UK. Your son will be able to receive an education which meets his needs and that may, in future, give you time to seek employment. Perhaps you could begin to research this?

> I also study from home so currently working isn’t on the cards for me

Studying from home is not a valid reason for not seeking/ having a job (and not just by the US). The majority of people (including uni students) have to fit their studying around the employment which financially supports them.

>Is that it for me then ?! :( no hope at all ?

Unless your circumstances change I doubt you'll be recommended for a waiver of ineligibility.

>I can’t help but feel that it’s unfair

Life isn't fair. It is as it is. Every country has the absolute right to decide who may or may not enter.

If you want to visit the US to take your son to Disneyland perhaps you might think about Disneyland Paris instead?

[ Edit: Edited on 17 Apr 2024, 10:34 GMT by leics2 ]

36. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Yes, thank you. Despite there being amazing schools for less abled children there are some instances whereby education is not on the cards. Being of the age he is if school was an option it would have been done so by now. Our days consist of hospital appointments etc.
begin to research ? That’s been done.

I didn’t suggest studying from how was a valid reason for not working ! I suggested I can not work due to my sons disabilities but study from home with the time I do have available in order to better my education having been out of work for many years. Not as a cop out for not working.

I understand a country has the right to deny entry it was more so that no compassion was taking towards the circumstances as to why I don’t work I am a full time career that in-itself is far more demanded than any 9-5 and also a lot more emotionally taxing.

The purpose was the assumption I have lack of funds to sustain a weeks holiday when that’s not the case at all.

fyi : Disney land was not the purpose of travel

37. Posted by Confused2024 (Budding Member 18 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

I also have never entered the US on a ESTA I applied for an ESTA and realised that I’d need to go via the visa route. I never attempted to get into the US on the ESTA as soon as I had realised I took the relevant steps to obtain a waiver of ineligibility.

38. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

> no compassion was taking towards the circumstances

Try to see it from the 'foreign' country's point of view. You were convicted of a drug offence serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence, you deliberately made a false declaration on the Esta (doesn't matter that you didn't use it, you still deliberately made a false declaration), you aren't employed and are financially reliant on state benefits. The officer's decision is based on the facts of your case: 'compassion towards the circumstances', your caring role and the toll it takes on you are not relevant factors. The only relevant factor is whether you meet the criteria for recommendation for a waiver of ineligibility and the officer, working within US law plus internal guidelines and regulations, decided that you did not.

If it was a simple matter of waiting a few more years then trying again (e.g. because not enough time had passed since your conviction) the officer would have indicated that to you. As he/she did not it's clear that your circumstances will have to change before it's worth applying again.

I understand that it's disappointing but, as I said, it is as it is. As it wasn't Disneyland you wanted to go for I can only say that there are many more...and imo many more interesting...countries to visit.

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