Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

1751. Posted by broxyburd (Budding Member 8 posts) 47w 1 Star this if you like it!

Currently in America, we rolled the dice got in no worries

And my partner had a CMT

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jan-2018, at 15:13 by broxyburd ]

1752. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Fab! Did you just sail straight through? What questions did they ask you when U was getting finger printed? My partner looks dead dodgy as it is so I’m quite worried

1753. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 448 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Of course people who lie on their ESTA get into the US with no problems....but please don't assume that means everyone who lies on an ESTA does. It is indeed a matter of 'rolling the dice' and must be the choice of the individual concerned....in this case, your partner.

It's also worth remembering that if he ever wants to apply for a full visa (e.g. if US policies change or if he wants to work there or stay longer in the US) having previously lied on an ESTA will be a major problem.

This link has more detailed information about visa versus lying on ESTAs (scroll down):

http://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-to-the-usa-the-esta-form-and-moral-turpitude/

I've visited the US on an ESTA many times over the past 7 years or so. The questions border officers ask vary from individual to individual, from border officer to border officer and from day to day but usually include why are you visiting, how long are you visiting for, where are you visiting, and possibly e.g. where are you staying, have you got a booked return flight......plus anything else the officer feels is appropriate. If the officer is not satisfied, more detailed questioning takes place away from the border control desk.

Fingerprints are taken electronically at the border control desk, after your photo is taken and before questions are asked.

The chances are that your partner will encounter no issues on entry but no-one can tell you for certain what will happen...and the experiences of others cannot tell you what will happen between your partner and the border officer who deals with him on the day. Only he can make the ESTA decision and, if he decides to lie then both of you have to accept the risk, however minimal it may seem......and the potential consequences.

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jan-2018, at 00:58 by leics2 ]

1754. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

I know it’s not certain he will be let in, but we no he won’t be able to obtain a visa or even a waiver because of his record.
We are just going to hope for the best and if he gets turned away at least he tried. Not getting our hopes up that he will be ok as were not very lucky at all and it’s just our luck he will be pulled to one side and questioned. But even then can you just calmly explain why your there and still be let through?

1755. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1286 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Jupiter212

We are just going to hope for the best and if he gets turned away at least he tried.

That sounds to me like you're risking a whole world of pain and aggravation, and for what? Why so desperate to go there? Is this a sunshine holiday in Florida? A citybreak in New York? Personally I'd go somewhere I didn't have to break the law to get in. Have a sunshine holiday in Cancun or Barbados. Have a citybreak in Toronto, Dubai or Hong Kong.

But even then can you just calmly explain why your there and still be let through?

I think that's wishful thinking and only listening to the advice you like. Look back at the track record of the people who've advised you in reply to your query. A couple of newbies have said ah yer'll be fine. And leics2 has given you some more detailed advice - with her track record I'd be giving that more weight. You're taking a risk, and it's not one I'd take.

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jan-2018, at 02:47 by Andyf ]

1756. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

It’s a once in a lifetime holiday to disneyworld with our kids. It’s already booked and we didn’t realise at the time of booking about estas and visas.
This is the first and last time he will be going to the USA so if he’s sent straight back home on the next flight and banned from entering again he doesn’t ever need to go again. We will leave him at he airport and go on holiday and he will just have to go home.

1757. Posted by Jupiter212 (Inactive 7 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

And I don’t know leics2 track record?

1758. Posted by Victoria43 (Budding Member 8 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Personally , I think you are less likely to get interrogated if you are travelling as a family with kids . That’s not to say they wouldn’t question you if they had good reasons to believe that person shouldn’t be in the country but they are more likely to pull someone scruffy and dodgy looking out for questioning than a family man who is clearly there on holiday .

When we went last year after my husband was arrested (but not charged), I was panicking in the queue to the extent that I gave the border officer his passport first just to get it over and done with (!!!) and it was very plain sailing . We went on to have a fantastic holiday !

US border officers do not have any access to the Police computer here so unless your husband looks or acts criminally deranged you should be fine.

It is nerve wracking even if you are squeaky clean but don’t lose sleep over it.

There is a lot of good advice on here but no one can tell although the likelihood is you will be fine.

1759. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 448 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

>we didn’t realise at the time of booking about estas and visas.

That does surprise me. All UK package holiday companies carry information about visa/visa waivers for the relevant country. The UK ESTA visa waiver requirement has been in place since 2009.

> But even then can you just calmly explain why your there and still be let through?

Again, you are asking for firm answers when no-one can give you any. In your partner's case, if he is found to have lied about his criminal record then the answer is obviously no: there would be no acceptable explanation for lying. But you and the children are highly unlikely to be denied entry just because your partner has been denied entry, so if you're happy to carry on without him, that's fine.

> unless your husband looks or acts criminally deranged you should be fine.

I'm afraid that's over-simplistic. It's not a matter of 'looking/acting criminally deranged'...it's a matter of who does the interview, what the requirements are at that particular time, whether there are orders to 'crack down'/double-check, whether there has been a directive that UK citizens entering for the first time should be more closely questioned, whether there is a generalised random check in place and so on and so forth. No-one knows for absolute certain. Sometimes I've been closely questioned, sometimes I haven't. It's all down to the individual and the officer who deals with that individual on that day.

By the way, it's not just at US border control where you may be questioned. It's happened to me (and all other passengers at that time) in UK>US check-in queues. If that happens it's obviously just as important to remain polite and pleasant whilst answering the questions honestly as it is when speaking to border control officers.

> I don’t know leics2 track record?

I don't think Andyf was suggesting that you should know, simply saying that he feels my advice is reliable (thank you, Andy).

But, for your info, my 'track record' is: UK citizen, regular visitor to the US, have visited 30+ other countries, spent 14 years answering forum questions on a very active travel website which Tripadvisor destroyed in early 2017 and was ranked number 1 in those forums for at least 10 of those years. So I do know of what I speak. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jan-2018, at 05:14 by leics2 ]

1760. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1286 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2

I don't think Andyf was suggesting that you should know, simply saying that he feels my advice is reliable (thank you, Andy).

You're welcome.

I meant that it's easy to go and look at a user's posts on here and weigh up whether they know their stuff. In so far as any of us want to trust random strangers on the internet. :-) But I didn't bother replying to Jupiter212 as she's now an "inactivated user" - presumably has got all the info she wants to hear from this forum and has closed her account. :-\

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jan-2018, at 05:28 by Andyf ]