Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

2151. Posted by Andrew Mack (Respected Member 666 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Old Man At

Are there that many criminals in the UK? Suddenly Brexit seems like a great idea

The UK has plenty of it's own criminals like every country in Europe, so having the ability to stop criminals from other countries coming here was a strong sales point for Brexit. The USA is in a similar situation where they're fed up with criminals illegally entering their country, which is why a visa is required to enter.

2152. Posted by Dexter67 (Budding Member 7 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hello

I have followed this thread on and off for some time.

Anyway one of my colleagues announced that we have been asked to visit our office in the US in about 3 months.

My heart sank

I was hoping I could trouble the contributors to this thread with what you think my options are?

I’m well into my 40s

I have a conviction for actual bodily harm as a 16 year old which is classed as a juvenile in the U.K.

Then when I was 21 I have a conviction for damaging property.

I won’t bore you all with the back story.

These police report says no trace and the above is shown on the accompanying information

Pretty sure I can’t go the esta route,

Would I be likely to get a visa?

Thanks in advance

2153. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 547 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

>Pretty sure I can’t go the esta route,

The present ESTA question asks if you 'have ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person.....' Both of your offences fit that description. You can, of course, lie on the ESTA application (which can be a US criminal offence) but I'm pretty certain you won't want to do that. Lying on an ESTA will cause big problems if you want to apply for a US visa in future.

>Would I be likely to get a visa?

Both of the crimes you mention are 'crimes of moral turpitude' so I think it unlikely that you would be granted a visa on the day of interview. But, assuming all your other circumstances are ok, and that your last offence was when you were 21, I think you have a good chance of being recommended for...and eventually being granted...a 'waiver of ineligibility' which will allow a visa to be issued.

Unfortunately, it takes 6-8 months for a waiver to be processed via the London embassy (Belfast is a bit quicker). It's likely the US government shutdown is slowing the process even more.

No-one here or anywhere else can tell you for certain whether you'll be granted a visa in time for your work trip., though I personally think it's unlikely. You won't know for definite until you have made an appointment and attended your visa interview.

If you think this is going to cause problems at work imo it's best to be upfront about it as soon as you can. Your offences are long in the past but the US does not recognise any 'spent' convictions from another jurisdiction.

Good luck!

2154. Posted by Jovialgent ( 0 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hi don’t know if I’m posting this in the correct place as I’ve just found this site and am intrigued by what I’m reading so apologies in advance ...so here goes I went to the u.s in 1999 on a visa waiver I outstayed my welcome I committed no crimes in the u.s but had a criminal record in the Uk but didn’t declare it on the visa waiver I had a visa waiver removal and was removed from the u.s (I handed myself into immigration as I had no funds to get home) something I greatly regret now ...anyway I want to go back to see family who are American citizens.ive got a police acro report and I’m going for my interview very soon for a tourist non immigrant visa on my acro report I have a common assault which I got a community service order I was a juvenile at the time ,I’ve got a theft conviction which I served a 8 month custodial sentence in a young offenders institution and I’ve got a obtaining benefits dishonestly which I got a conditional discharge for all these date back 20 odd years,my question being am I flogging a dead horse do you think or is there a chance in your opinion I could get a visa ...opinions would be appreciated.many thanks .Btw I’m English and now have kids am employed and kept my nose clean for 2 decades.

2155. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 547 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

There are three issues here: a) your criminal record (your offences can all be considered crimes of moral turpitude) b) the fact that you didn't declare that record originally (which can be considered a criminal offence in the US) and c).......possibly the most serious.......you overstayed in the US (I think that's what you mean by 'outstayed my welcome'?) and were removed by and at the expense of the US.

> is there a chance in your opinion I could get a visa

No-one here or anywhere else can give you any certainty about what your chances are. The decision depends on all the details of your previous experience and of your present circumstances plus how you present yourself at interview. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by the interviewing officer.

My own opinion? I think your chances of being granted a visa on the day are tiny because of the three issues above...especially your previous overstay and removal. Your best hope is that the interviewing officer decides to recommend you for a 'waiver of ineligibility'. No-one here or anywhere else can tell you if that waiver will be granted but, if it is, you'll get a visa.

Waiver processing via London normally takes 6-8 months (Belfast is a bit quicker) but the US shutdown may well be slowing things down even more.

I wish you luck with your interview.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Jan-2019, at 00:50 by leics2 ]

2156. Posted by karenkaren (Budding Member 21 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Jovialgent

Hi don’t know if I’m posting this in the correct place as I’ve just found this site and am intrigued by what I’m reading so apologies in advance ...so here goes I went to the u.s in 1999 on a visa waiver I outstayed my welcome I committed no crimes in the u.s but had a criminal record in the Uk but didn’t declare it on the visa waiver I had a visa waiver removal and was removed from the u.s (I handed myself into immigration as I had no funds to get home) something I greatly regret now ...anyway I want to go back to see family who are American citizens.ive got a police acro report and I’m going for my interview very soon for a tourist non immigrant visa on my acro report I have a common assault which I got a community service order I was a juvenile at the time ,I’ve got a theft conviction which I served a 8 month custodial sentence in a young offenders institution and I’ve got a obtaining benefits dishonestly which I got a conditional discharge for all these date back 20 odd years,my question being am I flogging a dead horse do you think or is there a chance in your opinion I could get a visa ...opinions would be appreciated.many thanks .Btw I’m English and now have kids am employed and kept my nose clean for 2 decades.

I think considering the times scale of your discretions, u have a good chance of being recommended for a visa PENDING the approval of waiver of ineligibility to visit USA. As serious as an overstay is (and also depended when you overstayed less or more than 6 months),....the worst case scenario is a 10 year ban - which u have already adhered to. 20 years is a long time even by US immigration standards.

good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Jan-2019, at 21:41 by karenkaren ]

Post 2157 was removed by a moderator
2158. Posted by Worried930329 ( 0 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hi guys,
I’ve been reading this thread all night and it has somewhat settled my mind, however I’m a natural worrier, and travelling to the US on a family holiday just to be potentially turned around is a valid thing to be worried about!

In 2015 I was arrested and charged with a “drink driving offence” (DR10) and a “driving with no insurance” offence (IR10). I received a £180 fine and a 12 month ban for the drink driving offence and a £100 fine for the insurance offence. (Insurance offence punishment was so low as I did have a policy, it was just cancelled due to non-payment).

Also, in 2016 I was arrested for “drunk and disorderly” where I received a Penalty Notice which according to the Gov.uk website doesn’t appear on your criminal record. For this arrest I was fingerprinted.

My questions are:

1) When the CBP take your fingerprints, I know there isn’t a direct link to the PNC which flashes up your criminal record, but is there some kind of marker for them to ask probing questions? (I.e Have you ever been arrested?)

2) How common is it for the CBP officer to ask the question “Have you been arrested?” or “Do you have a criminal history?”

3) How likely is it someone with my record would be allowed in? Looking on the CBP website it states that a DUI in combination with other misdemeanours can be grounds to deny entry, but would a £100 fine for lapsed insurance and a fine for being ‘drunk and disorderly’ be grounds for refusal, especially when the ‘Drunk and Disorderly’ offence was dealt with my way of a Penalty Notice?

4) If I am asked the question “Have you been arrested?”/“Do you have a criminal conviction?” when I land in the US, Would it be better to just say “no” if they don’t have access to the PNC? If I say “no” what grounds would they have to follow it up with Interpol?

I find it hard to believe that absolutely anyone from VWP countries (who isn’t on a terrorist watchlist) can get into the US no questions asked. If the officer doesn’t ask questions at the border gate such as “Have you ever been arrested?” as standard surely there’s no way anyone could be caught!?

Many thanks for reading this, someone please put my mind at ease!

P.S Shoutout to travelman99 for his detailed and non-judgemental replies :)

2159. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

Hello - thanks for the shout out 🙂

Please see answers below;

1) They take fingerprints so they can identify you for any reason whilst in the USA. This could be during an arrest, or perhaps if you are hurt. Also if there are any Interpol biometric markers then these would also flag if of interest to the USA. Don’t worry, with your minor record Interpol won’t have flagged you

2) I’ve been in and out of the states a fair few times and the immigration officers have never asked me any else but where I’m staying and what im doing. There’s is a chance you can get pulled for secondary screening, but again this is just further checks into the detail of your visit.

3) Nothing is ever certain, but the US does not have access to the PNC. You could tick “No” on your ESTA and more then likely sail through. Infact, unless there were other mitigating circumstances around your DUI (drugs etc), it is not a CIMT, which means you are admissible anyway.

4) In the very unlikely event you are asked that question. Simply say no. Interpol channels can only be utilised if there is a reasonable belief, with evidence, that you are not who you say you are, or in America for criminal reasons.

To your final point - the whole declaring arrests things is a complete joke. You’re right, the US has no way of checking the millions of passengers that move through the country every day. The ESTA questions are mostly political. They even ask if you were a Nazi or have committed genocide. The fact is the US doesn’t really care about petty cautions/convictions of tourists, hence why the ESTA exists.

I should caveat... lying on your ESTA only becomes an issue if you A) get caught (highly unlikely) or B) ever want to live in the US.

Hope this helps.

2160. Posted by Worried930329 ( 0 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the quick reply!

Okay that’s definitely put my mind at ease about the fingerprints!

Just following on from what you’ve said about the mitigating circumstances, what would an example of mitigating circumstances be? The insurance and drink drive offenses were at the same time so i’m not sure if that would count or not as a “DUI in combination of with other misdemeanours (I was caught drink driving and it was discovered I didn’t have valid insurance).

The lying to the CBP officer about my arrest history if they ask worries me a bit however. If I get dragged into secondary screening and they do any digging into me then that’s a pretty much guaranteed expulsion and ban from entering the US if found out I lied to the officer from the first screening?