Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

Travel Forums North America Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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1. Posted by jay-london (Budding Member 4 posts) 17y 2 Star this if you like it!

I have just won a weeks holiday to Las Vegas, but I have a criminal record for a minor offence in the UK three years ago. I would have to travel within the next two weeks, so will not be able to obtain all the appropriate papers. I also don't want my partner to know about this, as it is in the past and I have luckily moved on from there.

Will the US have direct access to my UK record, even if I am only coming in for a one week holiday?

Please don't judge me for having a record.


2. Posted by Windmill (Full Member 125 posts) 17y 2 Star this if you like it!

Not judging man, but I wouldn't risk it. I have posted on this subject quite a few times and I have always advised people not to go. In your case, you're going to be making things worse if you go because if you get found out then a) your girl will not be happy about getting to America to be told she has to go back home, b) she won't be chuffed that you didn't tell her/lied to her about this criminal record.

I personally think you should have been open with your girl, but I'm not here to preach on. If you get busted at customs it'll all come back at you.

This is just my advice, perhaps there are people on here who have done what you plan to do and had no hassle but if it were me I wouldn't want the risk of being hauled into customs, questioned and then told to go home.

3. Posted by Windmill (Full Member 125 posts) 17y 1 Star this if you like it!

Oh by the way, I immediately presumed your partner was female. My apologies if not!

4. Posted by jodib (Budding Member 32 posts) 17y 1 Star this if you like it!

^^^ what windmill said...especially since 911 customs and immigration is no joke,,,wouldnt wnat to spend your holiday time in a detention cell i don't imagine...sorry...and no judgements here...

5. Posted by Lugor79 (Inactive 74 posts) 17y 1 Star this if you like it!

Saw your question and was curious myself about the answer. Did some research. Check this out:
Homeland Security

Depending on how serious it was, might not even be an issue... Tell me what you find out.


6. Posted by jay-london (Budding Member 4 posts) 17y 1 Star this if you like it!

Hello All!

Thanks for all your replies.

I took the plunge and decided to go. Answered the forms on the plane with no (they do ask about drug related ore moral 'something' related offences, which I felt I could answer with a clear conscience) and when I got to customs, they mentioned nothing. The officer asked me twice if I had been to the US before, which I hadn't, I think he might have had my details (prints or so) on file, but there didn't seem to be any mention of my criminal record details and I was through customs in no time.

It was desperately nerve racking and I am not sure I would do it again, but it was worth it.

7. Posted by martymoose (First Time Poster 1 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Hi I know this might be an old thread but its something Im interested in also.
Can anyone tell me if the customs have direct access to your records?. can they access your uk police record from usa customs?
I dont personally see how they can but Im very interested in this.

Thanks for replies in advance

8. Posted by oslaue (Full Member 571 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

they have access to the following that i know of:
all financial activity within your bank accounts including all the transactions made, they have information where you have been travelling to and from and how long you were there for...normally through the recording of visas and passports been scanned.

however it varies from country of origin because some governments are not so keen in giving out such information...mainly because they are affraid that there citizens will get a lot of unnessary problems and the information could fall into the wrong hands because it is outside that other governments control.

they also do a check to see what religion you are. they can do this by seeing if you put in any special requests in terms of what kind of food are you going to eat on the plane.

they also record all visa information on there systems.

if its a drug offence and it happened a while back, depending on severity of crime and punishment then its possible to be allowed in the usa. but dont quote me on that. im told in that case you need to phone the usa embassy and they make an excemption for you.

organized crime, serious drugs, guns etc...will not allow you to enter the usa.

in general they can only go by that green form you write on in the plane, but caught lieing and they will most likely lock you up for a month in the usa before sending your ass packing!

THERE WAS A VERY FAMOUS CASE here in ireland not so long ago...some idiot went over to the usa and had a tatoo of IRA on his the airport he was arrested cos of the felt that he supported terrorism...they sent his ass into one of the most dangerous prisons in the states, he was there for 3 months before the irish government could get hold of him.

in terms of crime...i dont think they can check your records UNLESS they have suspect something...

in the UK sussex and Kent police dont communicate with each other and use different systems, id find it hard if the usa and the uk can exchange such information!

9. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 16y 1 Star this if you like it!

They should have an FAQ on this, because this question comes up so much. Or perhaps you blokes in the UK should stop breaking the law.

If you are coming to the USA from a Visa Waiver Country and have a previous conviction, you will most likely have to apply to get a visa to enter the country. It's a little more hassle, but unless your offense was pretty serious (in the eyes of the USA), doesn't mean that you can't come. If you are coming from a country that doesn't participate in the VWP (and isn't part of NAFTA), then you'll need to apply for a visa anyways, so no difference.

To be ineligible to recieve a visa, you would need to have committed a crime "involving moral turpitude" or related to "a controlled substance" (source: Ineligible for Visa), though if the crime was committed when you were under 18 years of age or the maximum penalty of the crime is less than 1 year or you didn't serve more than 6 months.

If you have multiple convictions, regardless of the offense, you are not allowed to obtain a USA Visa, and cannot visit the country.


10. Posted by kevandshan (Full Member 142 posts) 16y 1 Star this if you like it!

Customs only have criminal record info on their respective citizens. I cannot say exactly what info they see, but lets just say that if you are of interest they will catch you.

Do not carry large sums of cash and other obvious products/ substances.

If you are from another country...the chances are no, they do not know of your criminal record. However, these agencies share info with one another. If you get caught out, don't ever plan on going back--that is if you get outa jail!

Its a judgement call. If you were busted for smokin some puff then don't lose sleep on it--go for it. But if you earn your living from holdin up McDonalds (and who can blame you) then forget it--they will know about you before you land!!

They are looking for individuals that are violating the law. Not because you jacked a car 5 years ago. But if you are going in on a visa waiver, remember that you wave your right to appeal and will be deported immediately if caught.

The safest way is to apply for a visa.

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