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Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

1541. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi mate

Thanks for your question!

15 months may as well be yesterday in terms of US law. Anyway, - answers below;

1 - No, the embassy make that decision. You're likely to initially get a year

2 - No 6 - 12 months

3 - you can only use the VISA for its specific purpose, you can't travel on a holiday on a business Visa.


1542. Posted by tags89 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for responding mate.

You say likely I'll get a year, but do you think it is likely that I'll be granted a visa? would love to hear from some people who have had business visas as well.

6-12 months?!? thats much longer that I was expecting?? is it really that long? Has anyone else had one take that long?

So If i get a work visa that lasts 1 year for example, and whilst that visa is ok, I decide to go on holiday to the US then I would need to get another visa?

thanks for taking to time to respond :)

1543. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi mate

It's so soon to getting your caution so it's difficult to say. They also look at your ties to the UK, job, finances and general character. My opinion (and it's an opinion only) is that you have a better than 50% chance. I would however suggest waiting another year, possibly two.

Yep 6-12. They are woefully understaffed and their draconian immigration policy means they are constantly swamped. If you visit the British Expats forum (where they are violently opposed to lying on ESTAs) it's full of people quoting 8 - 10 month wait.

To your last point - correct, although I believe you can apply for a B1/2 together.

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Nov-2016, at 08:10 by travelman99 ]

1544. Posted by pedantic.guy (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hello All,

Thought I would share my experience, least I could do after reading nearly all these pages.

I am a British white male. Extensive criminal record, albeit most crimes are over 8-9 years ago, however only sorted out the issues a few years back after a life on the run.

The way the new ESTA questions are asked I firstly could say I was answering honestly to the questions asked, so I applied and passed straight away no issues.

But then lingered in the back of my mind the criminal record, and I knew it was a big risk.

Like most of you on here, I spent weeks working myself up over this!! No one has the answer though, only you can answer if you want to risk it.

A very expensive holiday for 7 people was a big risk! However all was a success (no thanks on my part) my hand was visibly shaking as I gave my fingerprints on the scanner, that was the only thing I couldn't control. However me and the family went through fine.

My advice of what could be done better to make it a little better for you all, go to the doctor first for people flying you can easily get prescribed beta blockers which calms you right down and keeps you relaxed! Secondly fly Aer Lingus from Dublin, do yourself the favour, if worst case anything flagged which I couldn't imagine with me passing it ever would, but at least you'd still be in the UK, part of me getting worked up was almost after 10 hours the possibility of being held and turned back around after that long!

Hope this is someway will help.


[ Edit: Edited on 04-Dec-2016, at 17:18 by pedantic.guy ]

1545. Posted by nocluewhattodo (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!


Situation small family need to book holiday to USA .

Family don't know what I was in trouble for before.

Violence / misrepresentation, white British male, all happened about 9 years ago.


Thank you!

1546. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

What does "trouble" mean - please be more specific.

1547. Posted by nocluewhattodo (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Prison for 12 months, served 6 months and 6 months tag. No offence to pedantic guy above but sounds like he doesn't have a clue

1548. Posted by hinkyd (Budding Member 7 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Just an update. I got an email from the Embassy on 7 December (my appointment was 22 August) advising me to send my passport as "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has approved your application for a waiver of ineligibility". My passport was returned just before Christmas with a 5 year visa in it - happy days!

Thanks again to all who contribute to this forum, particularly the longstanding members like travelman99 and CheersT.


Quoting hinkyd

Hey all

Just thought I'd add my experience to the mix as I found this thread, and the regular contributors, very helpful.

10 years ago, when I was 20 I was convicted of possession of cannabis (1 spliff) and and an offensive weapon (a small Crocodile Dundee type knife as I was coming home from a fancy dress party). I toyed with the idea of ignoring these and going for an ESTA but decided I couldn't, as at some point I may need to study or work in the US and they'd see straight away I'd lied to get the ESTA, then I'd have no chance of ever getting in.

Filled the endless forms out for a London appointment as the website said a 16 day wait. They lied. It was more like 2.5 months! So then opted for Belfast for a much earlier appointment - about 3 weeks wait. I logged on several times a day after making the initial appointment and there were often much earlier ones available in mostly Belfast but occasionally London, where people had cancelled I guess. I changed my appointment time twice doing this.

And so I'm just back from Belfast and my Embassy appointment (flew there from Gatwick, cheap EasyJet and Jury's Inn hotel, busses everywhere). It was very quiet there, and very quick. In and out in 45 minutes I guess. In the actual interview (with a nice lady who said the US didn't want to stop people like me going there) all she was concerned about was my drug conviction and how much it was for. Nothing about my financial ability to go the States, about my intentions to return, about whether I was reformed. I was not eligible for a visa due to my drug conviction but that she was recommending me for a 5 year waiver of ineligibility (because it was a tiny amount and 10 years ago). There is a 3-4 month wait for this to be processed and she said the recommendations are hardly ever ignored.

So I'm relieved I've done it properly and know that I can (eventually) visit the States legally. I will always travel with the paperwork I prepared for the interview though, just in case I am questioned at length about any of it on arrival to the US.


1549. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hink - that's fantastic news, and its positive to see that they sorted this so quickly for you AND with a 5 year visa attached. Thanks a million for sharing your news with us.

No clue - this may answer your question. Your convictions are slightly different (moral turpitude) and it's true that the US are pretty leniant on cannabis convictions (they will usually waive those who have less than 30g on them when caught). However a good time has passed since your convictions, but it depends on the severity of your "violence" conviction - assualt isn't a crime of moral turpitude but ABH, GBH and assault with a weapon, are.

It's up to you how you want to proceed - if you're unlikely to ever want to move or work in America you might be better off, and save money, by just rolling the dice on the ESTA. Chances are you won't get caught, but if you are, be ready to feel the full force of the US border agency.

However, the angel on your shoulder might suggest that you learn your lesson from your "misrepresentation" conviction and be honest with your family and the embassy... but I will leave that down to you own moral compass.

1550. Posted by nocluewhattodo (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hey travelman,

It was abh on a police officer and giving out bad cheques to be specific.

The issue is I have a stable relationship and family and good job now, why risk it?

No I will never live there.

When you say the full force, you mean deportation?