Children travelling from UK to USA who have minor conviction

Travel Forums North America Children travelling from UK to USA who have minor conviction

1. Posted by MikeBoing (Budding Member 4 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

HI,
I am hoping to take a group of young people on a study trip from the UK to USA in October 2019. The children are 13-17 and one of them has a conviction from 2 years ago. Some of them have been arrested and interviewed and possibly cautioned 2 or more years ago but not convicted at court.

So my question is can these children still get visas or is it likely to be a no from the USA Embassy?

Thank you for any help you can give.

2. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

Have you looked at the USA Embassy web-site to see what they say?

3. Posted by MikeBoing (Budding Member 4 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

I did but I couldn't find anything that related specifically to children with cautions. And the cost of applying for visas is pretty steep when you've got so many kids going, i'm trying to find out what the chances of the kids getting permission to travel is before applying.

or should I assume they treat children the same as adults? I know we don't in the UK re visas etc.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Feb-2019, at 03:50 by MikeBoing ]

4. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

I doubt anyone here will know this from personal experience, although I could be wrong.
Hopefully someone does.

I suspect that they do treat adults and kids the same, but a quick call to the embassy would probably clarify it.

Having grown up in a rough area I know how easy it is to get dragged into bad stuff (luckily I didn't get involved with the police though... but had to run away from them very fast a few times), but pointing out to these kids that their actions don't just have consequences in the UK, they also create problems for them travelling overseas, is a strong message when the USA is such a strong pull to many youngsters.

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1796 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

Minors are treated the same as adults - they can apply for an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program.

To get an ESTA they'll need to be able to say No to "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?".

So your kid with the conviction may need to go through the full Visa process - interview at the embassy, and either be granted a visa on the day, recommended for a Waiver Of Ineligibility (the processing time for which is 6-8 months), or refused outright.

Accepting a caution is admitting to the crime and counts as a conviction, and as you'll see above the question also asks if they've merely been arrested too. So depending on the circumstances the guys with arrests and/or cautions may be ineligible for ESTAs too.

Unfortunately "serious damage" and "serious harm" aren't clearly defined anywhere.

Note that in the case of being recommended for a waiver of ineligibility, you shouldn't buy flight tickets till it comes through, ie 6-to-8 months. Your October trip is looking tight for that, and last-minute flight ticket prices may make it impractical.

6. Posted by MikeBoing (Budding Member 4 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the reply. A bit frustrating but what i was expecting i suppose.

We may have to go to Canada instead then, it seems a lot easier to go there for children who have marginally stepped the wrong side of the law!

7. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1030 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

>We may have to go to Canada instead then, it seems a lot easier to go there for children who have marginally stepped the wrong side of the law!

Not necessarily, I'm afraid.

The eTA asks:

>Have you ever committed, been arrested for, been charged with or convicted of any criminal offence in any country?

Obviously some of your kids can't answer 'No' so they won't get an eTA.

Canada, unlike the US, recognises the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (the 1974 version, not the 2014 version) so it is possible...depending on the crime, the circumstances, the consequences, the age it was committed etc....that an eTA may eventually be granted after an application for rehabilitation has been granted:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/inadmissibility/overcome-criminal-convictions.html

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-canada/

If not, I'm afraid it's the visa route.