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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

1771. Posted by Sarahharp1990 (Budding Member 4 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Why did you run into some issues rachelB17?

1772. Posted by loveitbeauty (Budding Member 11 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Can someone please help
We are New Zealand citizens and travelling to Hawaii from NZ with our kids and our friends and their kids in 3 weeks, the problem is our friend applied for an ESTA in Nov (assuming all would be ok) and was denied, he ticked no on the form for no convictions as he hasn’t had any since he was around 18 (almost 20years ago) and qualifies for the clean slate program here (maybe the wrong decision) anyway, so he flew straight up to the embassy for an interview. He was recommended for a visa waiver and handed his passport in but he hasn’t heard anything back. Is there anything we can do to find out the progress as we’re getting slightly nervous now and he’d at least like his passport back as we’re flying via Australia so would at least like to go there if he’s denied entry to the US.
Thanks and sorry for the novel :)

1773. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 188 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

No need for apologies.....interesting that your friend was denied an ESTA. I'm a bit confused that you say he was recommended for a visa waiver because that's the ESTA. Perhaps you mean he was recommended for a visa?

The only way to find out the progress of his application is for him to contact the Embassy. The website makes it clear (under 'Contact Us' on the link below) that progress information can't be given by phone. It has to be requested by email.

https://nz.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jan-2018, at 14:04 by leics2 ]

1774. Posted by Sarahharp1990 (Budding Member 4 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Maybe waiver of ineligibility?
Very surprised the ESTA denied straight away with out answering yes to any of the questions? Has anyone heard of This before?

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jan-2018, at 14:20 by Sarahharp1990 ]

1775. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 188 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

A waiver of ineligibility does make sense (the US doesn't recognise the 'clean slate' processes of other countries).

But it may not have been the yes/no questions that triggered the ESTA denial (though did he double-check before he submitted the form.....or after he was denied...that he hadn't accidentally ticked a 'yes' to any of them?). It could have been any of the info supplied.

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jan-2018, at 14:27 by leics2 ]

1776. Posted by loveitbeauty (Budding Member 11 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Sorry I meant a waiver of ineligibility. He definitely answered no to all questions that could’ve held him up so assumed it was all smooth sailing but nope!
I thought it might be because he has a very common name, which might be red flagged on Interpol somewhere?

1777. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 188 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I very much doubt that it was because he had a common name. Even if the name were the same as a 'flagged' criminal the other ESTA details would not match. And if common names were a problem then being denied an ESTA would be the norm. It simply isn't other than for certain citizenships, having visited certain countries (e.g. Syria, Iraq) in the past or ticking a 'yes' box.

There really isn't any point in speculating about the 'why'. No-one here or anywhere else can possibly tell you for certain. The only person who might have explained the reason would be the official who dealt with your friend at interview. Did your friend ask him/her?

I'm afraid that processing a waiver of ineligibility application can take several months:

https://nz.usembassy.gov/visas/criminal-convictions/

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jan-2018, at 23:49 by leics2 ]

1778. Posted by Moralturptide (Budding Member 13 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Rachelb17,
Was your comment In response to my post?

Loveitbeauty/leics,
I agree that the common name flag isn’t the reason. I have heard Estes getting denied before, because of data input error.

I don’t know 100 percent but if I had to bet, your husband screwed up one of the questions in the esta, that was nothing to do with the crim Q.
We won’t know until it’s pointed out at the interview, happened to a friend of mine.
I just ran an esta for myself out of curiosity and mind passed ok. Of course I clicked no to the crime question, I answered honestly to the question asked, but that was to my own definition of ‘serious harm’.

1779. Posted by Moralturptide (Budding Member 13 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Sorry not your husband, your friend.

1780. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 188 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

The visa interview has already taken place so the friend will know why he has been recommended for a waiver of visa ineligibility (which may or may not be related to the ESTA denial). Of course, he may not wish to share that reason with his friends.

There are numerous reasons why a waiver of ineligibility might be required, though past criminal convictions are the most common:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/waivers.html#waivers