Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

2371. Posted by Andy Muir9 (Budding Member 4 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Hi all, I’ve read through nearly all your stories and really can’t tell if I’m going to get my b2 visa Il break down my conviction history to see your thoughts

08/2008 - common assault - caution

05/2009 - common assault - 60 hours unpaid work

07/2009 - Pursued a course of conduct which amounted to harassment - restraining order and 40 hours unpaid work

08/2009 - breach of community order - additional 20 hours unpaid work

08/2009 - driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol - fine and 12 month disqualification

10/2011 - criminal damage - conditional discharge 18 months and fine.

All silly mistakes, the harrsement charge was frustrating as I was only trying to get my own belongings back but hey ho.

As it’s been 8 years I hoping I should be ok.

I’m a home owner, partner of 7 years, little girl of 1 year and good job.

Ibe booked to go to New York in November for a week.

I have my interview on Friday, fingers crossed !

2372. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 284 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

None of them look like CIMTs and you have no jail time. So should be fine.

Best of luck!

2373. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 724 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Agree that most of your convictions aren't CIMTs, as long as the interviewing officer considers the assaults to be 'simple'. The assaults, harassment and breach of community order may be of particular interest and there are also quite a lot of offences over three years, not so very long ago.

For those reasons it will be down to the interviewing officer to decide (as it always is) whether your record warrants a visa on the spot or a waiver is required. I wouldn't like to speculate on the chances of you being granted a visa on the day (we can all only speculate) but if the officer does decide a waiver is necessary I think the chances of it being granted are pretty good. Whether it will be granted in time for your trip is another matter: processing time via London is 6-8 months.

I do wish you the best of luck with your interview. Perhaps you could come back and tell us how it went?

2374. Posted by Andy Muir9 (Budding Member 4 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Both assaults were self defence, single punches.

The harassment was literally trying to get my belongings back from an ex-girlfriends.

As I had no receipts to prove the goods were mine the police warned me to stay away and I was daft enough to still try and get it back.

The breach of community order was missing an unpaid work session.

Yes I will let you know how I got on, is 8 years passing not seemed as a lot of time ?

2375. Posted by travelman99 (Respected Member 284 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

According to Google harassment isn’t considered a CIMT. I couldn’t find anything on the community order. That said, leic2 is absolutely right, it’s down to the interviewing officer to make the ultimate decision.

I’ve read different things on what the US seen a suitable “rehabilitation period”. Some say 5 years, others 15 years. However I’d probably guess it depends on the crime, and punishment served. What is an absolute fact is that the US has no rehabilitation of offenders act, which means unless pardoned, you are considered a criminal for life.

2376. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 882 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

If anyone hasn't seen it already, the table on here looks quite useful;
I know it's only wiki so it's probably incorrect in some way, but it seems a decent...

2377. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 724 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Like 'serious' criminal offences referred to in the ESTA application, CIMT is not well-defined in the public domain and is not formally defined in US statute law. When it comes to visas that (essential) lack of concrete legal definition and the exact circumstances of a particular crime are particularly relevant because different jurisdictions have different crimes, differing names for charges relating to those crimes and vastly differing sentences. Deciding whether or not a particular crime involves moral turpitude can sometimes require detailed legal analysis.

The Hub website is run by Unlock, a charity which assists those with convictions and provides information about employment, housing, travel etc. Their suggestion of what may constitute CIMT is here:

Assault and criminal damage might or might not be considered CIMT, depending on circumstances. Harassment is defined by state (rather than federal) laws and they, of course, vary from state to state. Harassment can be a misdemeanour or a felony, depending on the state and the circumstances, so falls into a grey area of CIMT.

Just having a number of convictions, some of which may or may not be deemed CIMT, may result in the interviewing officer (who is not a legal professional) deciding that the decision whether to grant a visa is more appropriately taken by the authority which processes waivers of ineligibility (which includes legal professionals). Being recommended for a waiver is an indication that the interviewing officer thinks it very likely the waiver will be granted but is not an absolute guarantee that it will be.

As Travelman says, when it comes to US visas there is no official rehabilitation period and no official 'spent' convictions. How long ago a crime or crimes were committed is not really relevant to the interviewing officer when deciding whether to grant a visa or recommend a waiver of ineligibility. It is the authority which processes waivers which may consider how long ago the crimes were committed and take that into account when making its decision.

Visa decisions are always made on an individual basis, taking into account all the individual's circumstances (not just the criminal record) and how the individual performs during the interview.

AndyMuir9: I do hope you get your visa on the day and wish you the very best of luck.

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Apr-2019, at 23:55 by leics2 ]

2378. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1581 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Andy Muir9

Ibe booked to go to New York in November for a week.

You've had some useful replies but I didn't notice anyone pick up on the timescale. As leics says the waiver wait time is advised to be 6-8 months, so if you end up being sent down the route of a recommendation for a waiver of ineligibility, that is very tight timing indeed for your November trip, and I don't think you'll get to know when it will arrive until it drops on your doomat.

When you say "booked" are your accommodation and flights just reservations that you could cancel without losing money? Often hotels are reservation only but flights you have to pay up front. You could end up losing your money, or stressing out your partner or whoever you're travelling with.

After Friday you will know more, but if they put you forward for a waiver of ineligibility then I'd be asking the airline nicely if you can amend your booking to a later date.

2379. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 724 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

AndyF, I mentioned the timescale in my first reply but perhaps should have been clearer. You're absolutely right: when it comes to US visas, criminal records and waivers imo it's never a good idea to book a trip before the visa is granted.

If the interviewing officer does decide a waiver is required there is a chance that it won't be processed by the time of the trip. There's no way or tracking the waiver via London. There's no way of knowing when a decision is likely to be made: it's a matter of just waiting for the email with the decision and request for the passport to be sent to the embassy.

It's impossible to guess what the processing timescale for any one individual might be. Processing speed depends on how many waiver applications are made (not just in the UK), how quickly staff are getting through them and the complexity of the individual application. November is 6 clear months away but the UK embassy website suggests a processing time of at least 6 months.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Apr-2019, at 01:50 by leics2 ]

2380. Posted by Andy Muir9 (Budding Member 4 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Suppose I may have a bit of a problem on my hands.

I’m going with a few friends and it’s already booked through virgin to depart on 1st November. Cancellation is pretty much out of the equation so might have to miss out.

Fingers crossed I nail the interview.