Non immigration visa - caution - Answered incorrectly on EST

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1. Posted by Bugz24 (Budding Member 13 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

My husband has an appointment for his visa with the US Embassy in London soon.

He received a caution when he was 21 (back in 2006) for possession of cannabis. It was a class C drug back then but it's now a class B. Not sure if that makes a difference.

He answered no the drugs questions on his ESTA, not realising that the law works differently in the US!

Should he complete a new ESTA answering yes to this question to show that the ESTA is now denied?

He's been squeaky clean ever since. Progressed in his career to a manager over the last 20 years with a mortgage, kids, married ect.

Should he take everything to prove this along with his acro?

[ Edit: Edited on 25 May 2024, 23:18 GMT by Bugz24 ]

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

> It was a class C drug back then but it's now a class B. Not sure if that makes a difference.

It makes no diffeerence whatsoever. Your husband broke UK drug law and when he accepted a police caution he legally admitted that he'd done so.

>Should he complete a new ESTA answering yes to this question to show that the ESTA is now denied?

There's absolutely no point in doing so. The Esta system is, obviously, fully linked with the US visa/ US entry system.

The interviewing officer will almost certainly already know about your husband's previous Esta application (data is held even if the Esta is never used) and he/she will probably ask why your husband chose to tick 'No' to the very straightforward question: 'Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?', which very obviously refers to drug laws broken in any country.

'Not realising the law is different in the US' is a very, very weak excuse. When you accept a UK police caution you are legally admitting that you have broken the law and the Esta drugs questions asks exactly that: have you broken any drug law (in any country)? It's much better for your husband to be 100% honest and say e.g. he submitted the Esta before he remembered the caution 20 years ago or that he initially thought he'd risk it then thought better of doing so.

>Should he take everything to prove this along with his acro?

There's nothing to stop your husband taking proof of mortgage etc etc with him for his own peace of mind but he should be aware that the interviewing officer [robably won't want to see them. From a US pov, all the documents they actually want to see are listed in the interview details. Looking at extra documents just slows things down.

If your husband is courteous, polite and honest in his interview...and assuming everything else is ok, obviously....I'm sure things will go well.

3. Posted by Bugz24 (Budding Member 13 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Although it is a very weak excuse, it is his genuine and honest excuse that we had no idea that a caution would affect him in such a way as he has no problems arise from his caution whatsoever.

I've seen on the unlock website that possession of a controlled substance or class A, B or C drug is not a CIMT? Unsure whether to take that website with a pinch of salt or not as others have referred to that website in other posts.

I appreciate your reply today 😀

4. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

>we had no idea that a caution would affect him in such a way as he has no problems arise from his caution whatsoever.

The Esta drug question is very straightforward, asking simply whether the applicant has ever violated any law related to drugs etc etc. Your husband accepted a caution.....a legal admission of guilt.... for exactly such a violation. Whether he thought US law was different, didn't realise the caution would affect him etc etc is irrelevant. The Esta question is simple and, in your husband's case, required a 'Yes' answer....and that's why I said that it's a very weak excuse. Your husband knows he's broken the law in relation to drugs and he knows he accepted a police caution.

>I've seen on the unlock website that possession of a controlled substance or class A, B or C drug is not a CIMT? Unsure whether to take that website with a pinch of salt or not

The Unlock website is pretty reliable and I often link it in this thread.

You are correct that simple possession of a small amount of a controlled drug offences is generally not a CIMT but the visa decision made by an interviewing officer (working within US law, internal regulations & guidelines and in consultation with superiors if necessary) is based on all the details of each individual applicant plus how he/she presents at interview. There is no one blanket rule and no absolute guarantees.

Personally...and assuming everything else is ok...I don't think your husband will encounter any major problems

[ Edit: Edited on 26 May 2024, 12:46 GMT by leics2 ]

5. Posted by Bugz24 (Budding Member 13 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thank you.

It was for a very small amount of cannabis but how do we go about taking proof of this?
Will this be on his SAR report or will he need to phone the local police station to get something in writing?

6. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I'm not sure whether the exact amount will be on the SAR but the very fact he only received a caution shows that it was a small smount for personal use. If the police had evidence that he was dealing or intended to deal they would have investigated further.

Don't overthink this. Cannabis is legal for personal use in 24 US states and interviewing officers are well-used to dealing with the many, many visa aapplicants who have received a past caution for cannabis.

7. Posted by Bugz24 (Budding Member 13 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thank you!

I see you've been advising on here for a few years!

Have you heard many success stories that are similar?

8. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

>I see you've been advising on here for a few years!

Yes indeed...and before that for many years on another travel forum (now sadly defunct, which is how I ended up here).

>Have you heard many success stories that are similar?

I don't expect you to wade back through the 3000+ posts on the other Esta/UK criminal record (it's been running for 18 years!) thread...and lots of people never come back to update on their visa outcome.. but yes, I have come across successful applications in similar circumstances. A caution for possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use is really not a big deal, especially when the caution was so long ago.

As I said, cannabis for personal use is legal in almost half of the US states so imo visa officers are not going to have a major issue with long-ago cautions for possession....though they may take a dimmer view of people who ticked 'No' then compounded the issue by actually using the Esta to visit the US (i.e. made a false declaration on the Esta, which is a US criminal offence and.. I believe..a CIMT).

[ Edit: Edited on 26 May 2024, 21:00 GMT by leics2 ]

9. Posted by Bugz24 (Budding Member 13 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Surely it will go in his favour that he has not attempted to travel using his ESTA and is trying to correct his mistake by going down the Visa route?

All depends how they see it and who you get on the day I suppose.

I have emailed the CBP to see if they can cancel his ESTA application based on all of this and his misunderstanding of the laws.

Should he take a copy of this email with him or will they disregard it?

10. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 6366 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

>All depends how they see it and who you get on the day I suppose.

It does depend on how US law and US visa authorities see it but not on which interviewer you get. All visa officers work to the same legal standards plus internal regulations & guidelines for very obvious reasons.

>I have emailed the CBP to see if they can cancel his ESTA application based on all of this and his misunderstanding of the laws.

Should he take a copy of this email with him or will they disregard it?

Imo it's a waste of time emailing the CBP (who may not reply for months, if at all) and there's no point in taking a copy of the email to the interview. Even if they cancel the Esta, CBP won't remove the application data (for obvious reasons).The visa officer will know that your husband applied for an Esta, ticked 'No' to the drug question and was approved. The fact that your husband has applied for a visa proves that he knows he did the wrong thing and wants to put matters right.....so what's the point in asking CBP to withdraw the Esta? If he had used the Esta before the visa interview the interviewing officer would know and once he has the visa he won't need an Esta to visit the US.

I think you're worrying far too much about this.

[ Edit: Edited on 27 May 2024, 06:27 GMT by leics2 ]