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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

1761. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 199 posts) 14w Star this if you like it!

Leic2 - what you say is true, but please don’t confuse secondary screening to an Interpol criminal record check. People on this forum are edgy about it so I’d suggest keep responses simple.

1762. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 233 posts) 14w Star this if you like it!

> please don’t confuse secondary screening to an Interpol criminal record check.

I have no such confusion and fail to see how you might have thought that I did. I mentioned the questioning at check-in because a) it happens and b) the OP, having not travelled UK>US before, almost certainly did not know that it happens. Much better to know in advance, don't you think?

> People on this forum are edgy about it so I’d suggest keep responses simple.

Thank you for your advice but, having 'worked' on travel forums for 15 years I'm happy with the way I reply. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jan-2018, at 12:17 by leics2 ]

1763. Posted by MaxFos (Budding Member 2 posts) 14w Star this if you like it!

Hi guys, new here, and here for a reason! Yes I have previous CC's, spent but.... They are all the same trial - affray, assault, crim damage x3 - about 15 years ago, fined and sentenced to 28 days inside, served 5 days released on appeal, given a conditional discharge. Thinking of going down the ESTA route as thinking they don't constitute CIMT and because can't see the visa succeeding if I go that way. So, 3 questions/points

1) whaddya think so far of my plan/chances?
2) not heard of the fingerprints issue before coming on here today; does everyone get that and should I be worried?
3) to minimise risk (can take paying £400 for flights and not getting in) was hoping to try the pre-clearance facility at Manchester Airport so if I'm denied, I'm denied here in the UK without having to go 8 hours and get turned round at JFK! Travelled from Mcr recently and there seemed to be staff at the gates for Delta flights but can't seem to clarify they were US Immigration Agents in the UK; does anyone know if they are - and what about this idea?

Would love to visit the US and sticks in my craw that foolishness in younger days could prevent this but there we have it. Thanks in advance.

1764. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 199 posts) 14w Star this if you like it!

Im going to assume you’re white British.

As said many times before, there is an extremely slim chance the US authorities would stop you, not be happy with your reasons to visit America, and then put you through secondary screening and then eventually request interpol to access your criminal record from the PNC. Even if they did, Interpol would not pursue it unless there was good evidence to prove you are a wanted criminal.

That said, nothing is ever certain, its a roll of the dice, no one can give you a definitive answer. My advice is (its a holiday) to just tick no and don’t worry about it.

The finger printing element is for border control use only, not as a match to the PNC. This would be against your right to privacy.

1765. Posted by MaxFos (Budding Member 2 posts) 14w Star this if you like it!

Wow such a quick reply! Thanks, you give me confidence to try! Just hope I can pull it off without giving my nerves away to the Immigration Guards! That said must be loads of people get off a plane looking nervous.

Anyone else know anything about pre-clearance?

1766. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 233 posts) 14w Star this if you like it!

First of all, affray, assault and criminal damage could (and imo would) all be considered CMT:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_turpitude

Everyone is fingerprinted on entry to the US (and also on each subsequent entry).

I agree that the chances of you being stopped after lying on an ESTA are very slim but denial of entry can happen (and consequences would obviously be exacerbated if you were found to have lied on the ESTA) so it's important that you are aware of the facts.

> Anyone else know anything about pre-clearance?

I'm not aware that Manchester is now offering pre-clearance and can find no information about any such facility, though I know there have been hopes that it could for some time. I'm pretty sure the staff you saw at Delta gates were not pre-clearance but for security: there is always a further security check before one enters a US gate area.

I went through pre-clearance in Dublin last summer (Dublin has had the facility for several years). Pre-clearance is a formal process staffed by US officers...in other words, the same people who staff US airport border control. Hand luggage is re-scanned, then you use a machine which IDs you against your ESTA/passport and asks questions about e.g. food you're taking. The machine provides a ticket with a photo which you take to the officer's desk where you identify your checked baggage (from a photo) and are asked the same type of questions as at US airport border control....where are you travelling, how long for, why etc...and more if the officer so desires. If all is ok you pass into a contained area which holds the gates for all US flights. On arrival in the US you do not go through border control but straight to baggage reclaim and then out, without the need to pass through Customs.

Unless Manchester now has the facility in place, there is no formal UK 'pre-clearance' as such though staff speak to and question each passenger as he/she queues at check-in. Questions vary, of course, but in my experience they include why you are travelling, where you are going and suchlike. If staff have any concerns they can flag you up to security staff and, I assume, you'd be pulled aside for more detailed questioning.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jan-2018, at 12:27 by leics2 ]

1767. Posted by Moralturptide (Budding Member 14 posts) 13w Star this if you like it!

For me, where I get confused is I have A common assault waived conviction in Australia.

No one was hurt and the ‘attack’ was an airswing and missed.

I have never ever had any intention of lying on any form as I may one day want to move to the USA.

If I click ‘no’ In the belief I am telling the truth that it isn’t a CIMT and is not ‘serious harm to a person’ am I indeed right?

Do ALL travellers need to do the VWP first?
I’ve always been so confused on this because people twll me to declare it and answechoemstjy but I feel I would be lying by clicking ‘yes’ to causing serious harm to another person! When I took an airseong and got a pardoned conviction for it

1768. Posted by travelman99 (Full Member 199 posts) 13w Star this if you like it!

Wait - are you saying you got convicted for swinging at someone and missing? In Australia!?

Anyway, no its not a CIMT, i’m surprised the police even investigated it... You answered the question correctly on the ESTA so you shouldn’t be worried.

1769. Posted by Moralturptide (Budding Member 14 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

Haha I know right?

I made the mistake of taking the swing in front of multiple witnesses and security colleagues, to a pih tga was next door to a police station. The security guard was goading me but then obviously wanted to win the tiff. Annoying. Yet it was a valuable lesson for me in life and how easy it is to break the law while drunk.rattled and I cannot stop thinking about how it mightscree me up in regatfa to travel, kept me up with anxiety so many nights. Lost my job because of the fatigue.
Also I didn’t outright MISS, he blocked the punch with his hand. As I did not want to actually hurt him I didn’t care take a second swing. I did it more out of reactionary anger about him insulting my family.

1770. Posted by RachelB17 (Budding Member 31 posts) 12w Star this if you like it!

You're lucky that you went without any issues.