Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

1971. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

If your case has been reviewed by the embassy and a waiver has been agreed, then its very unlikely you would be denied entry at the border. They may ask you questions, but they also know it has been reviewed by officials and would give you entry.

Anony - if you’re in the police and you don’t know basic information around ACRO certificates then i’d suggest you ask for further training.

1972. Posted by Travelmotion1 (Budding Member 2 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I have trawled through a lot of this forum and am just looking for a second opinion.

I have family in San Fran who i wish to visit, however my travel partner has 2 drug driving charges
The most recent conviction was in october 2017 so is fairly recent.

Having looked at the ESTA questions i can see Q3 states: Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?
Pretty sure that the convictions would constitute to a yes answer, the FAQ section states any Qs answered yes are most likely to result in ESTA application being denied.

Assuming they would therefore need to apply for a visa (please correct me if i am wrong). My query is about the fact that the conviction and subsequent ban were recent- would this automatically be reason for a visa decline ad i have heard its advisable to wait a minimum of 1year before apllying. Both convictions resulted in driving bans and i believe nominal fines. Appreciate that we may only know by applying for visa but i have read this can be both costly and long- so an indication would be helpful as it may just be best to travel alone for the first time!

Thank you in advance.

1973. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

5 years is the usual sweet spot, but I know of people that have been given waivers 1 or 2 years after. It also depends when you are going, waiting times are up to 8 months, so timings may not workout.

My advice if you’re going to go down the waiver route, wait a while.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Jun-2018, at 07:22 by travelman99 ]

1974. Posted by EastwoodAlive11 (Budding Member 5 posts) 18w Star this if you like it!

I'd consult a law professional on these matters to have a clear idea on what you have to do, or you can also talk with immigration authorities.

1975. Posted by Travelmotion1 (Budding Member 2 posts) 18w 1 Star this if you like it!

Thank you for your replies! Currently just looking at options at this stage as neither of us has travelled to the US for quite some time so figured i would check the ESTA and travel criteria before proceeding.

I read an abundance of drink drive forums (where i was very suprised to see so many people not declare anything on their ESTA and try their luck, i think i would spend the entire holiday anxious travelling with someone who did this!) I struggled to find much information on drug driving- so a big thanks for your suggestions!

1976. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 17w Star this if you like it!

Travelmotion - most people on these forums tick no on the ESTA and I haven’t heard of a single issue. I’m not saying people don’t get caught, but statistically the probabilities are next to zero.

1977. Posted by dewaynwwayne (Budding Member 2 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

You were right. I had no problem entering the UK at all. But, I only have a minor record in the US, nothing real serious. London is a beautiful city. Paris was ok.....

Thanks for responding.

Quoting travelman99

Dewayn. Not hard at all.

You can get access to the Uk unless the candidate:

- is currently the subject of a deportation order; or

- has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 4 years; or

- has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 12 months but less than 4 years, unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence; or

- has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of 5 years has passed since the end of the sentence.

SO basically as long as you haven’t been to jail for 12 months or more, or if you have, some time has passed. Your okay.

No where near as tough as getting into the USA where they will not let you in for a police warning which results in no jail time, or a fine.

[ Edit: Edited on 02-Jul-2018, at 07:53 by dewaynwwayne ]

1978. Posted by blrock (Budding Member 2 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Hi,

I am a UK citizen with a spent conviction and have recently reconnected with my father who moved to the US when I was 8 years old. I have not seen him since then, and now 30 years later am desperate to see him and my 2 brothers (whom i have never met) he is 86 and too ill to travel.

The issue i have is that my crime (committed in 2010) resulted in an 8 month suspended sentence for fraud by misrepresentation. At the time I was stupidly in love with someone who was extremely high maintenance and kept asking for money in an escalating series of emergencies. I used my skills on the computer to create fake tickets, then sold them for events to wealthy bankers etc. I would then inform the individual that the tickets i had obtained from a third party i had discovered were not genuine, and that i would pay them back when i returned (from an imaginary trip abroad). I would then delay payment until i could afford it and then pay them back. This worked ok for a while, since the victims were not fooled into trying to use the tickets, they had enough money so were not even too bothered most of the time. It was only when i sold some to someone pretending to be a legitimate buyer, who was actually a ticket 'tout' looking to sell it on for even more profit, that they alerted the authorities. As this was the build up to the 2012 london olympics, the police made an example of me, and i appeared before the crown court.

I had no other criminal record and was judged to be of 'good character' even by the parole officer. I have a respectable job and work as a professional and according to British law my conviction has now been 'spent' and i no longer need to declare it. however the news articles and media hyped this up and those articles will never go away. I am ashamed of what i did and do have a good record in all other areas of my life (contribute time and money to charities and so on...)

I am about to apply for a US visa, but am worried that if i do so i may be rejected and forever on the US system, effectively preventing me from ever seeing my Dad again. But I also can't risk being caught if i don't declare it.

How can I determine the best chance of getting in to the USA? I have limited funds for a solicitor but maybe this is the safest option?

Any advice would be welcome. Thank you

1979. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 403 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

> I have limited funds for a solicitor but maybe this is the safest option?

I really don't think paying out for a solicitor will make any difference at all, sorry. Like all UK (or other) citizens, you simply don't have the right to a US (or any other) visa, regardless of your personal circumstances. Trying to legally challenge a refusal would be both prohibitively expensive and highly unlikely to be successful.

The US does not recognise any convictions as 'spent', regardless of when they occurred, what they were for or under which jurisdiction the crimes place.

>I am about to apply for a US visa

The crime of which you were convicted is considered to be a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude) and thus it is very unlikely that you will be granted a visa on the spot, especially as your crime took place only 8 years ago. However, the officer who interviews you may....may...recommend you to apply for a 'waiver of ineligibility' which, if granted, means you get a visa. Whether the officer decides to recommend you for such a waiver (or not) depends entirely on the details of your crime, your past and present circumstances, how you present yourself at interview and how you answer his/her questions.

https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/ineligibilities-and-waivers-2/

If you are recommended to apply for a waiver the officer concerned will give you all the information you need about gathering and submitting the required documentation. Once this is done your case will be considered. The waiver process can take a long time (the London US Embassy site suggests 6-8 months, though there is no definite time limit).

How can I determine the best chance of getting in to the USA?

You can't 'determine the best chance' because everything depends on individual circumstances, on the officer who deals with you on the day of your embassy interview and on the answers you give to his/her questions.

I strongly advise you to be absolutely honest. You should of course give details when they are asked for but don't try to make excuses for your actions. That really isn't a good idea. Don't say that the police 'made an example' of you because of the Olympics or that the media 'hyped up' what happened. You were charged, tried and found guilt of and sentenced for a criminal offence under UK law. Your aim, in the interview, should be to convince the officer that you know your behaviour was unacceptable, that you fully accept both the conviction and the penalty you received and that you have no intention of breaking the law in future....not to make excuses for your past actions.

I hope the officer who interviews you will decide to recommend you to apply for a waiver of ineligibility. If he/she does not, there is nothing you can do except wait for a while...I'd suggest for at least a couple of years.....and then re-apply.

>i may be rejected and forever on the US system, effectively preventing me from ever seeing my Dad again.

Your details will of course be on the system but that does not mean you can never apply again and will never be granted a visa. Many, many UK citizens with criminal records have been granted visas, once their waivers of ineligibility have been processed.

Good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Aug-2018, at 14:40 by leics2 ]

1980. Posted by blrock (Budding Member 2 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Thank you for your advice, I had not heard about the waiver of ineligibility which sounds like my best chance right now.

But this also sounds as though I will not get to be there for his Birthday in a few months (or my 40th) as I had hoped...

I appreciate what you are saying about being honest and not making up excuses. I guess it might be worth bringing evidence of my good deeds to the interview... just in case. It seems like the interview is almost like going through the trial again... I wonder what type of background these interviewers have...?

Anyway, I thank you for your time.