Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

2181. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 541 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Freedomflyer:

Andy is correct that I assumed you were a UK citizen. The length of time taken for waiver processing varies from embassy to embassy though I think you are generally looking at a period of months rather than weeks. I can't find any specific info on the US embassy in NZ website but note that they say their wait times for visa appointments are longer than normal so I think you can assume waiver processing time is also longer:

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

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Feb-2019, at 10:37 by leics2 ]

2182. Posted by Freedomflyer ( 0 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Omg yes!!!! If you can let us know ASAP that would be so amazing! Also are you travelling with family and your kids?

2183. Posted by Worried930329 ( 0 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Freedom Flyer:

I’ll remember as much as possible and post the whole process on here. Yeah there’s 5 of us going! Giving me serious sleepless nights now, honestly if they don’t let me in it would be awful, but at least I’ll know and I can stop obsessing over it!

2184. Posted by dhad1955 ( 0 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi Guys, thought id share my experiences on here to help those.

In 2015 I was convicted (Arrested, took to court and fined) for threats to kill (Long story with my neighbour)

Since then I have visited new york and las vegas twice by ticking no on the esta and had no issues

new york - mar 2015
las vegas - nov 2015
Las vegas - apr 2016
new york - jan 2018

Since then I have however been given a class A drug caution in august 2018 and have an upcoming trip to vegas in august 2019 so have been a bit anxious on how that will affect me. I've ticked no again but not sure how it will pan out this time.

A little bit worried after reading that story in the paper of the guys who were arrested for money laundering being turned down, so i'm skeptical, the visa route is obviously not an option so guess i will take my chances again.

I've tweeted ACRO who regulates the PNC and asked them if they routinely share access with us authorities and they said no, also applied for freedom of information request.

Hope this helps
Warm regards

2185. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 230 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Dhad - thanks for your message, as you have said, the US has no regular access to the PNC. Unless they take an active interest in your case and use Interpol routes to gain access to your local record you are very likely to be fine ticking “no”.

That said, it’s a roll of the dice. If it makes you feel better, plenty of people with severe records have ticked “no” on this forum and have sailed through customs.

The US do not care about tourists with petty charges, they want your money - other wise they wouldn’t have an ESTA system. What the US objects too is anyone with a record moving to the US permanently.

2186. Posted by Worried930329 ( 0 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi dhad1955,

During all those times you went through immigration, were you ever asked the question

“Do you have a criminal record/Have you ever been arrested?”

If so, I’m assuming you said no? I can’t decide whether to be honest if they ask me (as I haven’t lied on my ESTA, my crimes haven’t been what they deem as serious) so that I’ll be let in in the future if I decide to apply for a Visa. All it depends on is if they ask me that one question!

2187. Posted by r3idjimmy ( 0 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Hi All,

I have read lots of the stories, and its good to hear some of the successes!

I am a UK citizen and have 1 conviction for possession of a class A substance (2 ecstasy pills) 7-8 years ago where I received a fine. It was a one off stupid mistake which I have totally regretted.

I am hoping to go to USA for a holiday next year and thinking of starting the visa/embassy process.

I understand lots of people lie and go the ESTA route, however, even putting the fact this is offence aside, it would also cause major issues in the future if...

  • - UK relax the rules of sharing criminal records with the USA.
  • - I needed a work visa.
  • - I wanted to live in the USA.

(I don't have any plans for this, however who knows what the future holds)

7-8 years on from my conviction I have had good career (even had a job with a large USA defense firm during this time), bought a house, got married and now have a daughter.

I understand I would need to visit the embassy where they would most likely deny the visa due to the nature of the drug offence.

My questions are:

- What is the the likelihood of the embassy official recommending I am put forward for a waiver of ineligibility?

- What do you feel the likelihood of being offered a B2 Visa after going through this process is?

Thank you.

[ Edit: -- ]

2188. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 541 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

I absolutely agree with you that no-one knows what the future holds with regard to sharing information, other than it is pretty certain that, as technology progresses, more information will be shared rather than less.

The same applies the ESTA. There is no cast-iron guarantee that the ESTA will continue to be available for all or any one of the citizenships to which it presently applies, nor that ESTA rules and/or process will not be tightened ditto.

>I understand I would need to visit the embassy where they would most likely deny the visa due to the nature of the drug offence.

Yes, you will have to make an appointment for and attend an interview. As your offence is drug-related imo the chances of being granted a visa on the day are miniscule to none.

>What is the the likelihood of the embassy official recommending I am put forward for a waiver of ineligibility?

That decision depends on the details of your offence, the details of your present & past circumstances, how you present at interview (not your clothes, though it makes sense not to look scruffy). None of us are privy to all the details of your offence and life so no-one here or anywhere else can tell you the likelihood with any certainty. They can only speculate.

My own opinion is that if everything else is ok, and you present yourself well at interview, your chances are pretty good, though the fact that the offence took place relatively recently may be a stumbling block.

> What do you feel the likelihood of being offered a B2 Visa after going through this process is?

Again, any opinion about this can only be speculation. If an individual is recommended for a waiver (as opposed to being flatly refused interview) it is obvious that the interviewing officer must feel the chances of the waiver being granted are reasonable to good. That does not, however, mean it's a done deal.

My own opinion is that if the officer feels an individual meets the internal criteria for a waiver....and further negative information does not come to light..... then the chances of that waiver being granted are pretty good.

But the only way to find out for certain is to go through the whole process yourself. I wish you the best of luck! :-)

2189. Posted by dhad1955 ( 0 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

Quoting Worried930329

Hi dhad1955,

During all those times you went through immigration, were you ever asked the question

“Do you have a criminal record/Have you ever been arrested?”

If so, I’m assuming you said no? I can’t decide whether to be honest if they ask me (as I haven’t lied on my ESTA, my crimes haven’t been what they deem as serious) so that I’ll be let in in the future if I decide to apply for a Visa. All it depends on is if they ask me that one question!

No. They just ask where you are staying, purpose of trip and how long

2190. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 541 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

>They just ask where you are staying, purpose of trip and how long

US border officers ask those questions of everyone who is entering the US (not US citizens, obviously).

No-one, whether here or anywhere else, can say for certain what questions might be asked if someone is taken for secondary screening. Even those who have experienced secondary screening can only speak about the questions they were asked. Anything more is pure speculation.

Questions will obviously vary according to the individual, the officers themselves, the reason the individual was taken for secondary screening, internal guidelines and regulations, any relevant dictats from government etc etc etc