Travelling with a criminal record

Travel Forums General Talk Travelling with a criminal record

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1. Posted by mthbb (Budding Member 2 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I guess this is has probably been asked many times before but I have recently been convicted of a crime involving steroids importation and supply, I'm kicking myself now for doing it but cant change the now, I was given 21 months sentence suspended as it was my first offence.

I was just wondering how having a criminal record has affected other travellers? I know places like USA, Australia are going to be a no go. Am I pretty much limited to Europe now? Will leaving the EU make things harder to travel with a record do you reckon?

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 693 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

>I know places like USA, Australia are going to be a no go.

1. The USAisn't an absolute 'no go' though you won't be able to get an ESTA unless you lie. You can apply for a visa and you'll need the interviewing officer to recommend you for a 'waiver of ineligibility'. If he/she does that, and if the waiver is approved (the process takes several months) , you'll get a visa. But your crime is very recent and imo you'd be sensible to leave it for 5 years or so, in order to prove to the interviewing officer that you've learned your lesson and are now living a lawful life.

The Hub is a website run by Unlock, a charity which assist those with criminal records. It has much useful information about employment, housing, travelling abroad etc. Here's the US info:

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/information/travelling-to-the-us/

2. The same applies to Australia: it isn't a 'no-go' forever but, again, it's best to leave it for a few years.

The relevant Australian criterion for both ETA and visitor visa is:

>You must not have any criminal convictions, for which the sentence or sentences should not equal a total period of 12 months duration or more (whether served or not), at the time of travel to, and entry into, Australia.<

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

3. >Am I pretty much limited to Europe now?

No. Lots of countries around the world allow UK citizens visa-free entry, albeit only for limited amounts of time. If a visa or electronic visa waiver is required for UK citizens (e.g. for Canada or Turkey) you'll need to check that country's visa requirements. Most of the countries you're likely to want to visit have UK embassies and their websites generally give the relevant information.

4. >Will leaving the EU make things harder to travel with a record do you reckon?

No-one knows for certain what will happen if and when the UK leaves the EU. What is certain is that the present rules (i.e. freedom of movement within the EU and EAA) will remain the same for the transition period, which will be at least 2 years after the leaving date.

As for what might happen in future, that's a matter of diplomatic relations. The UK will have to negotiate individually with all the countries which presently allow all EU citizens to enter without a visa, to enter with an evisa or to get a visa easily. It may be that those countries will continue to take the same approach to UK citizens as they take to EU citizens or it may be that they won't. No-one knows. That includes all the EU and EAA countries, of course: if the UK leaves the EU they will be perfectly within their rights to require UK citizens to get an evisa or visa.

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Apr-2019, at 08:38 by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 819 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2

if the UK leaves the EU they will be perfectly within their rights to require UK citizens to get an evisa or visa.

As you say, they will be within their rights, but they won't do that as most of the EU desperately want UK tourists spending money in their country.
Countries like Spain, Portugal, France and Greece would have some big holes in their budget to find without UK holidaymakers money, which any form of visa would reduce, even if it was only an e-visa.

4. Posted by mthbb (Budding Member 2 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2

>I know places like USA, Australia are going to be a no go.

1. The USAisn't an absolute 'no go' though you won't be able to get an ESTA unless you lie. You can apply for a visa and you'll need the interviewing officer to recommend you for a 'waiver of ineligibility'. If he/she does that, and if the waiver is approved (the process takes several months) , you'll get a visa. But your crime is very recent and imo you'd be sensible to leave it for 5 years or so, in order to prove to the interviewing officer that you've learned your lesson and are now living a lawful life.

The Hub is a website run by Unlock, a charity which assist those with criminal records. It has much useful information about employment, housing, travelling abroad etc. Here's the US info:

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/information/travelling-to-the-us/

2. The same applies to Australia: it isn't a 'no-go' forever but, again, it's best to leave it for a few years.

The relevant Australian criterion for both ETA and visitor visa is:

>You must not have any criminal convictions, for which the sentence or sentences should not equal a total period of 12 months duration or more (whether served or not), at the time of travel to, and entry into, Australia.<

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

3. >Am I pretty much limited to Europe now?

No. Lots of countries around the world allow UK citizens visa-free entry, albeit only for limited amounts of time. If a visa or electronic visa waiver is required for UK citizens (e.g. for Canada or Turkey) you'll need to check that country's visa requirements. Most of the countries you're likely to want to visit have UK embassies and their websites generally give the relevant information.

4. >Will leaving the EU make things harder to travel with a record do you reckon?

No-one knows for certain what will happen if and when the UK leaves the EU. What is certain is that the present rules (i.e. freedom of movement within the EU and EAA) will remain the same for the transition period, which will be at least 2 years after the leaving date.

As for what might happen in future, that's a matter of diplomatic relations. The UK will have to negotiate individually with all the countries which presently allow all EU citizens to enter without a visa, to enter with an evisa or to get a visa easily. It may be that those countries will continue to take the same approach to UK citizens as they take to EU citizens or it may be that they won't. No-one knows. That includes all the EU and EAA countries, of course: if the UK leaves the EU they will be perfectly within their rights to require UK citizens to get an evisa or visa.

My sentence would put me in the "substantial criminal record" as it was 21 months so would be unlikely I'll ever make it back to Australia. Maybe things will change after 10 years with no convictions. I am so gutted at the moment I had plans to do some travelling later on in life, I know it won't stop me totally but likely will get rejected from a few countries.

Thank you for your reply!

5. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 693 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

>Countries like Spain, Portugal, France and Greece would have some big holes in their budget to find without UK holidaymakers money, which any form of visa would reduce, even if it was only an e-visa.

Those countries are all in the Schengen Zone. Whether UK citizens are required to have an evisa or are simply allowed 90-in-180 day visa waiver period will be a decision made by all Schengen countries, not individually.

I agree that, initially, the 90-in-180 visa waiver is likely (giving parity with e.g US and Australian citizens) but imo an evisa is more likely in the long run, very probably extended to include all citizenships which are presently eligible for 90-in-180 visa waiver. An evisa makes much more sense security-wise and almost certainly brings in enough income to cover its own costs.

But, frankly, matters are in so much disarray that there's not much point in even speculating about what might happen after the transition period (if there is one).

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Apr-2019, at 12:19 by leics2 ]

6. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 819 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Those countries would force the 'Schengen' agreement to accept us...

7. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1522 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

In my opinion the UK's civil service is indulging in much scaremongering ie Project Fear. I'm currently in Ukraine and was travelling out here shortly after one of the postponed Brexit dates. The Foreign Office website had a warning that British nationals may not have visa-free travel after Brexit, worded to suggest our status was as a block EU arrangement. Upon checking with the Ukrainian embassy this is not the case - Britain is simply on the list of visa-free countries and no change is anticipated.

8. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 693 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

mthbb:

I'm sure you'll be able to do at least some travelling outside the EU/EAA. You'll just have to do more research into evisa/visa requirements than people without criminal records.

Whether there is a 'block' EU list of citizenships eligible for evisa/visa waiver or whether each country is listed separately depends on the country concerned.

Imo, the FO (and other official bodies) would be irresponsible if it did not post warnings about possible changes after Brexit because no-one knows for certain what may happen. It would be very foolish indeed to assume that, if Brexit happens, everything will go smoothly and nothing will change for the worse.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Apr-2019, at 00:01 by leics2 ]

9. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 819 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Yes the FO have to give the worst case scenario but a little research on the travel countries involved should easy any fears. Unfortunately some people don't appreciate that people travelled long before the EU evolved into more than a trading union.

10. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 693 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

>Unfortunately some people don't appreciate that people travelled long before the EU evolved into more than a trading union.

That's rather harsh. Far, far fewer people travelled abroad before the UK joined the EU than have been able to do so since. Millions of people have experienced the huge advantage of freedom of movement within EU all their lives, so it's not really surprising that many are concerned about what may happen if the UK leaves.

The OP asked a very reasonable question to which, unfortunately, there is no definite answer.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Apr-2019, at 06:03 by leics2 ]