Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

1741. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 579 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I'm not sure who you mean when you say 'your case'?

Discussions on this thread (the first post was made 10 years ago!) are not related to who is admissable for entry to the USA.

They relate to who is eligible for an ESTA (the visa waiver for UK citizens).

If someone has been arrested for or convicted of a CIMT, regardless of sentence then they most certainly are not eligible for an ESTA.

The wording on the ESTA application form has changed several times over the past ten years. For most of that time...and until very recently indeed....the application form did not specify the type of crime. It simply asked if the applicant had ever been arrested or convicted. Saying 'yes' meant the applicant could not apply for an ESTA and had, instead, to apply for a US visa (more expensive + requiring a formal appointment).

Hence all the previous questions.

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Nov-2017, at 11:37 by leics2 ]

1742. Posted by Moralturptide (Budding Member 19 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

It never never never simply asked whether you had been arrested or not.
If that is true, what was the question when it did ? Only the immigration visa asked that flat question.

At the moment it asks only if you had been arrested for a serious crime.

Prior to October 2014, starting with its inception after 9/11 it asked for an arrest for a CIMT.

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Dec-2017, at 01:22 by Moralturptide ]

1743. Posted by twsh (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hello all,

Im looking for some advise and hope you all can help me. Here’s the situation. When I was 18 I had got myself into abit of a pickle. I was arrested for money laundering, i was on bail for 3 years then once it was brought to the courts in 2011 I served a custodial sentence of 3 years (do half) then I had POCA (Proceeds of crime) come after me for money and the Judge believed I had hidden assets. They gave me a confiscation order to pay a certain amount in 6 months or go back to prison for 20 months (10 months - do half). I had no choice but to go back to prison again as I don’t have the money, I was young, naive and lived for the moment. I’ve had to do 2 custodial sentences, one for the offence and the second for the money. If I could turn back time then I would, I wouldn’t wish the experience I’ve had on my worse enemy. I had so much going for me, ready to go to university and I made the worse mistake I could have ever made. The saying goes you do the crime you do the time. It’s definitely a lesson learnt.

Since my release from prison in 2014. I have never got myself back into trouble and I’m now 30 (turning 31 this year), retrained in something I enjoy, work and ready to get married this year. All is positive

Me and my partner want to get married in Las Vegas, We’ve both worked so hard to raise the funds and continuing to work hard to pay for the wedding. We’ve also set a date for this year. What I want to ask is cause of the money that’s involved to get married would you tell the truth or would you risk it and lie on the ESTA and put no on the criminal convictions? Plus I know it’s hard to say but if I went down the route of going to the embassy to be interviewed for a visa does anyone know roughly how long the process is?

Thanks and I look forward to your response

1744. Posted by James83 (Budding Member 6 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Just thought I would update on my recent trip to the USA.

Like many on this board I was very worried about going to the US for a laughable caution which in my mind does not constitute a criminal record. I was give a caution by the silly British police for streaking late at night in my uni days. I should add I was never arrested. Never regretted it as it was a dare. Anyway I ticked no to all the boxes on the ESTA which and went to the US and enjoyed 2 weeks in Hawaii. No problems.

My feelings are the US are not interested in minor petty crimes. Unless you have done something serious which warrants applying for a visa. Don't worry just go and enjoy your holiday. They are really not interested in someone that stole a bottle of coke when they were young and silly. It's such nonsense. I will certainly be going again and will not hesitate to go the ESTA route. Obviously many people will say it is the right thing to apply for a visa. If it gives you peace of mind then that's great but you open such an unnecessary can of worms.

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jan-2018, at 21:51 by James83 ]

1745. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I’ve not posted in a while but I wanted to reiterate a few things for those just finding this thread.

1) The US does not have regular access to the PNC. They can only request access for Interpol channels. They can only legally do this if they have strong evidence that you are going to commit a crime in the states. Interpol will also not give out details unless evidence is shown.

2) Only offences that involve sex crimes, drug/human trafficking, terrorism will flag when your passport is scanned.

3) Weed possession (under 30g) does not make you ineligable to travel and you won’t require a Visa Waiver.

4) Most minor convictions are not CIMT... assault for example is not a CIMT, and you won’t need a visa waiver. Be sure to research your crime first.

5) A caution is NOT a conviction to the US, so even if they did find out, they still have to prove you admitted guilt freely. Simply tell the officer you were scared/wasn’t aware of the ramifications of accepting it.

6) On the above point, they will never know you have a police caution UNLESS they requested your record via Interpol. This would only likely happen if you committed a crime in the US.

7) The American’s do not recognise the Rehabilitation of Offenders act... once a crim always a crim in their eyes.

8) If you have any requirement to move to the US, marry a US citizen, the go the VISA route. Lying on your ESTA is a federal offence, and will make it VERY a difficult to legitimately enter America in the future.

9) If youre going over for a holiday, a meeting, or just passing through and money/time is an issue. Tick no, you’ll be absolutely fine.


[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jan-2018, at 11:46 by travelman99 ]

1746. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi all
This thread has got to be one of the best on the internet.
We’re too late now to apply for a visa but I’m
Just wondering if you can tell me what sort of crimes flag up on Interpol?
My partner has 30 arrests, 4 custodial some fines other no further action and some suspended sentences. ranging from when he was 20yrs old to 36 years. He’s now 41.
I’m worried he will be on Interpol because of the amount of times he’s been arrested or something? Would just be our luck lol!

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jan-2018, at 10:06 by Jupiter212 ]

1747. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

Jupiter - things don’t just “flag up on Interpol”. Interpol is an organisation that, when people are wanted, they can share details with countries which said criminals to be flagged when they enter a country. This is usually reserved for criminals who haven’t yet been caught, or for people of special interest.

Were his crimes terror or sex related, did any involve major supply or drugs, kidnapping, trafficking or child exploitation?

If the answer is no, then his passport won’t flag...

1748. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

No he’s never been done for anything like that, the worst one is TWOC I think?
So it’s a case of just walk in confidently with no nerves and hope for the best I guess then

1749. Posted by Victoria43 (Budding Member 8 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

Not sure what TWOC is but assuming it’s nothing that is putting you on the watch list, stop panicking and go through on the Esta. Oh and also read the numerous pages on this thread !!!
Keep calm and enjoy the holiday !

1750. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

it’s taking without consent (car theft)
I need to try and start getting excited instead of panicking lol. Thank you