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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

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1851. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 187 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Gwenna, your experience is exactly why I mention that sort of questioning/secondary screening/whatever terminology one wants to use.

It is to be expected in the check-in queue and/or post-UK security when flying UK>US. You experienced a much more thorough examination than usual, possibly due to the 'tightening up' pre-flight required by the present US administration or maybe just because you fitted the right 'random' box on the day.

I'll stress again that at no point have I suggested that those who lie on their ESTAs and/or have criminal records are specifically targeted. I don't know how exactly how the process works and neither does anyone else. But imo it is something that everyone travelling UK>US should expect (albeit not usually to the extent of your examination) and should therefore be mentioned. Not everyone agrees with me, of course, but such is life. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2018, at 06:41 by leics2 ]

1852. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Respected Member 470 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Originally the secondary screening was (and probably should still be) random. The idea was that if you could not tell whether you would be more thoroughly screened then that would keep you from traveling if you were a terrorist. You should not be able to pick someone innocent looking to carry the bomb or smuggle the drugs or whatever. Also they wanted to avoid accusations of profiling.

So while it seems counter-intuitive to pick a 95 year old crippled woman for secondary screening rather than a bearded guy a long coat on a hot day, that's what secondary screening does.

Also, the screening is re-active rather than pro-active. Someone comes on board with something in his shoe, and how everyone has to remove their shoes - etc.

The screening at Heathrow is very exhaustive for us when changing planes there. I once had to go into a room and disrobe because I had my pills that I needed to take that night in a pouch inside my clothes and when they patted me down, the pills rattled. They wanted to see them and I was wearing a dress - I couldn't get the pouch out without taking the dress off. (Stupid of me, but whatever). My grandson who was traveling with me was very amused - he kept saying "Grandma had a cavity search". Which it wasn't, but I couldn't show them what was in the pouch without taking off my dress and I guess they didn't want everyone in the airport to be struck blind. ;) as I was not wearing a bra. So they took me into a private room.

I've not had a problem returning to the US. I did have the dog alert on my bum bag in Sydney (Australia) because I had a banana in there that I'd forgotten but that's about it.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2018, at 08:25 by greatgrandmaR ]

1853. Posted by Faux (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone, just thought I’d share my experience.
I just returned from a 3 week holiday in Hawaii. I have an extensive drug related criminal history, charged twice with sentences carry life imprisonment but let off on both occasions. Did 12months community service back in 2010 and spent a couple months in prison in 2016 before charges were dropped. Ticked no on the esta and sailed through. Rolled the dice as ppl call it on here. I was screened upon check in, got asked the usual q’s eg: why are you visiting the US, do you have a job...etc. They took photos and fingerprints at border security and that was it.
I’m Asian, tattooed all over with sleeves showing just for those wondering about appearances.
Good luck to those thinking about ticking no. It’s a risk but a minor one I think.

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