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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

1841. Posted by Sarahharp1990 (Budding Member 4 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Hi, does anyone know of anyone who has been stopped and sent back?
I heard they ask everyone questions as to why your there and if they’re not happy with your answers you go to a secondary screening or something? Am
I right? Do they automatically call up for your record at this point or is it if they ask you questions again in the secondary screening and aren’t happy with why yours there?
Thanks

1842. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 294 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

> I heard they ask everyone questions as to why your there and if they’re not happy with your answers you go to a secondary screening or something?

Yes, that is what can happen. Everyone is photographed, gives all 10 fingerprints and answers the questions the border officer decides to ask. If further questioning is thought necessary it takes place elsewhere in the building.

Questions are also asked at the UK check-in for US flights (not just for security purposes) and, again, secondary screening can take place.

You may remember a couple of fairly recent high-profile cases where UK citizens (a teacher from Wales and a family from London) were refused entry at the departure airport.

As I have never been taken aside for further questioning I cannot tell you what happens, what questions are asked, what enquiries are made....and neither can anyone else who has not had it happen to them (other than from TV programmes, media reports and suchlike). Even if it has, what happens will vary from individual to individual, from airport to airport and according to what regulations and guidelines are in place at the time.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2018, at 01:41 by leics2 ]

1843. Posted by Moralturptide (Budding Member 14 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Leics, I’m not attacking you, 97% of what you say is great. I just take respectful objection to the fact you always say to people that if they are honest to record every arrest and conviction on the ESTA.

Not only is this wrong, it actually doesn’t make sense. I have seen people get confused when you say that to them and the confusion is justified because nowhere in the VWP does it ask this. So people are wondering where to write it?

This is of course relating to the people who have Non drug related crime, because the VWP most certainly does ask that and your advice does hold true. However not everyone has a drug related offence.
Assault for instance would be A-Ok.

Do you see what I’m trying to say?

1844. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Sarahharp - I feel I need to clairify what Leic2 is saying again...

The initial questions the TSA ask are to make sure you are only visiting the USA, and not out-staying your Visa. If they are unhappy with your answers (I.e you hesitate with how long you’re staying, don’t know where you’re going etc) you will be put through to secondary screening.

Secondary screen does NOT involve a criminal record check as a matter of routine. There is NO automatic system to bring up your criminal record, and it can ONLY be requested through Interpol - which means there HAS to be evidence that you are either wanted, or committed or will commit a crime in the states.

There is also no secondary screening at UK airports when flying to the states as you’re not going through the entry process to another country...

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2018, at 05:14 by travelman99 ]

1845. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 294 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

>There is also no secondary screening at UK airports when flying to the states as you’re not going through the entry process to another country...

If that is the case then how is it possible that US-bound UK citizens can be and have been denied the flights to the US (by US authorities) at UK airports, in one case after a Reykjavik stopover?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/22/us-stops-british-muslim-family-flight-disneyland-david-cameron

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/20/british-muslim-teacher-denied-entry-to-us-on-school-trip

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2018, at 09:22 by leics2 ]

1846. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

FFS they are both TERROR related issues which have NOTHING to do with traveling with a police caution.

The first case was a well known story, where that particular person was on a US watch list due to his name. Which flagged up when he attempted to travel. The second issue I haven’t heard of, but was no doubt the same..

The only airport that I’m aware of near us that has US security on-site is Dublin, so you can essentially pass the US border screening before you reach the USA.

Stop fear mongering - I’ve told you before that people on this forum are edgy, and your crazy facts and stories aren’t helping.

1847. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 294 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Travelman, there is no need to be rude or to 'shout'. Doing so both undermines your own arguments and demeans you.

I did not and have never mentioned police cautions in relation to those incidents. I use them simply to show that UK citizens can be and have been denied entry to the US at the departure airport.....which you have said is not the case.....not by the airline and not by the UK authorities.

It is your assumption that the incidents were terror-related; the US authorities made no such comment. As far as I am aware no non-speculative explanation was or has been given for either incident so the assumption that the name was on a 'watch list' (which is of course possible) is simply an assumption.

My main point is, and always has been, simply this: it is factually incorrect to state that denial of entry to the US can only occur at the US border. On occasion denial can and does, on occasion, occur at the departure airport.

I do hope that clarifies. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2018, at 00:23 by leics2 ]

1848. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 211 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!
  • sigh* have it your way, readers will make up their own conclusions. You cannot be secondary screened by the TSA outside of the US (Dublin aside), however you can be screened by your *own* immigration force before you leave. I.e if you’re on a sex offender list, terror list, have a warrant open, are caught with prohibited items, on Interpol watch.

Providing clear Terror watch case studies isn’t relevant or needed in minor conviction/caution related ESTA questions.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2018, at 02:29 by travelman99 ]

1849. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 294 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

> Readers will make up their own conclusions

Exactly so. That's what internet forums are for, isn't it? :-)

The most important point here is that check-in pre-screening is has been in place for UK>US flights for several years and has been tightened under the current US administration ....and that people can and have been prevented from flying to the US.

You may not think that fact is relevant but, imo, it's always, always better to know exactly what to expect, as far as possible...and especially so when someone is already so iffy about their ESTA and/or criminal record that he/she posts on an internet forum.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2018, at 03:32 by leics2 ]

1850. Posted by Gwenna (Budding Member 16 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

I was part of this forum last year when asking advice about CIMT etc etc. If any of you remember my husbands visa did not arrive in time blah blah blah (old news now) BUT after going through the usual customs etc on our way to Orlando - we were queuing to board our Virgin flight at Gatwick when myself and my son in law were taken aside and they asked us questions ie about our visit, where we were staying, did we have relatives in the USA, but nothing about arrests. They searched our hand luggage and drug tested it, then thanked us and that wat it.
I don’t know if that is classified as a secondary screening or not.