Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

2751. Posted by d7desmond (Budding Member 12 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Ooberj

Quoting d7desmond

Update:

I picked up my passport from the courier on 18/10/2019 and had been issued a 1 year multiple entry visa . You can find my previous posts on pages 190 (post 1893) and 269 (post 2688) respectively. Best of luck to everyone else still waiting to get a response.

Glad to hear you got approved.
My 1st waiver was 1 year single entry .( 12 years ago)
Recieved my 2nd waiver in August for 5 year multiple entry .

Great to know there is possibility to get a longer one when next I apply , thanks for the info.

2752. Posted by Travelhope (Budding Member 2 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I'm hoping you can give me some Insite please and thank you.

Today I had my visa interview and was given a letter to contact Acro to get more information as the form stated no live trace.

Shoplifting age 15 in 2006
Theft 2012 (lady at the till asked me if it was my purse I for some stupid reason said yes)

What do you think will happen? I got the information and emailed them back but just don't know what to expect, I'm now 28.

Hope you can help

Thanks

2753. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1003 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

>What do you think will happen?

No-one here or anywhere else can tell you for certain, not least because we don't have (and don't want!) all the details of your application. We can only give our best guesses.

I assume you were charged with and pleaded or were found guilty of theft on both occasions (shoplifting is theft)? Theft is a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude). People who are convicted of CIMTs need a 'waiver of ineligibility' before a visa can be granted.

It is the officer dealing with the case (and has all the details) who decides whether a waiver of ineligibility is needed and whether to recommend an individual for a waiver.

If you were charged with and convicted of theft on one or both occasions I think it's very likely that you'll need a waiver. The US doe not recognise 'spent' convictions from other jurisdictions. Assuming everything else is ok, I'd expect you to be recommended for a waiver and for that waiver to be granted....but there are no absolute guarantees.

The downside is that waivers of ineligibility take quite a long time to process. The London Embassy estimates 6-8 months, the Belfast Consulate 3-4 months, though how long processing takes depends, to some extent, on demand. It can sometimes be quicker than the minimum estimate but imo it's best to assume that you'll have to wait at least that long.

Don't make any non-refundable bookings until you have your visa.

Good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Nov-2019, 19:59 GMT by leics2 ]

2754. Posted by Travelhope (Budding Member 2 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Thank you, already made a booking before I even realised I needed one totally forgot its not like the eu

One was a reprimand and one a caution so I assume they class as convictions but I have no idea to be honest.

I'll wait and see what they say, trips not supposed to be till May so will try and cancel if they say about the 6 to 8 month thing.

Thanks again

2755. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1003 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

When you accept a caution you are making a legal admission of guilt, so it is likely to be treated as a conviction. But that decision...like the decision about whether you need a waiver....will be made by the border officials once they have all the details of your record.

If they do decide you need a waiver I very much doubt they'll give you any processing time other than the 6-8 month estimate which is given on the embassy website. If that happens, I suggest you don't cancel your trip until the latest date you can do so without losing money. There have been a couple of recent posts on this thread which suggest processing can sometimes be quicker so it's worth waiting a while if you can. May is still almost 6 months away. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Nov-2019, 21:15 GMT by leics2 ]

2756. Posted by TGee88 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Will I have an issue getting into the US with a few D&D’s (drunk and disorderly) on my record?

2757. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1003 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

>Will I have an issue getting into the US with a few D&D’s (drunk and disorderly) on my record?

No-one here or anywhere else can tell you for certain if you'll have any 'issues' getting into the US.

1. A conviction for a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude) automatically makes an individual ineligible for entry to the US without a waiver of ineligibility. A drunk and disorderly conviction is not a CIMT but the fact that you have 'a few' such convictions might raise eyebrows.

2. The relevant ESTA question asks:

>Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?

There is no fixed definition of 'serious' in the public domain. If you tick 'Yes' the ESTA will be denied.

3. But the US Embassy in London states:

>We do not recommend that travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, (or) have a criminal record....... attempt to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/additional-requirements/

It is your decision, based on those facts, whether you decide to get an ESTA or a visa.

The chances of you being taken for secondary (i.e. more detailed and thorough) questioning on entry to the US (with an ESTA or a visa) are very small (it can happen at random) and the chances of you being denied entry after being questioned are even smaller. But no-one can state with absolute certainty that neither will happen.

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Nov-2019, 17:00 GMT by leics2 ]

2758. Posted by kizzy241 (Budding Member 2 posts) 5d Star this if you like it!

Sooooo

I got an ESTA and then realised shoplifting was relevant to the question and I should get a visa. I’ve now applied for a visa and have an apt set for the Belfast US consulate. I’m really worried that having applied for an ESTA will go against me but it was just a genuine mistake :( I know I could have chanced travel with it being authorised but I couldn’t sleep with the worry - I have the worst luck in the world and if it was a 1 in 29482958202 chance of being picked believe me, it’d probably be me. I’m taking a relative who has some additional learning needs and having to try and explain being turned around doesn’t bear thinking about.

Does anyone think this will go against me at the visa appointment? I’m so worried :( I’m a civil servant with a mortgage and my caution was when I was aged 14 - 12 years ago. I just don’t want to be penalised for honesty when I’ve realised my mistake.

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Nov-2019, 23:34 GMT by kizzy241 ]

Post 2759 was removed by a moderator
2760. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1003 posts) 4d Star this if you like it!

Kizzy241

I applaud your honesty and am certain you made the right decision for you.

>Does anyone think this will go against me at the visa appointment?

No-one here or anywhere else can tell you for certain. but the fact that you realised your mistake, have not (I assume) travelled to the US on your ESTA and have taken immediate steps to rectify your mistake are all big pluses. Personally, I don't think you'll be penalised for that error (though if you'd actually travelled on the ESTA it might be different).

Shoplifting is theft, which is a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude). Generally, a 'waiver of ineligibility' is required for those convicted of CIMT.

But
you were a minor when you were convicted, it happened 12 years ago and (assuming this was one offence of simple low-value shoplifting) the maximum possible prison sentence is less than 12 months. Those factors, if accurate, may mean that the interviewing officer decides a waiver isn't required.....but no-one here or anywhere else can tell you for certain, not least because all the regulations, rules and guidelines under which border officers operate are not in the public domain. There are no absolute certainties.

Assuming everything else in your application is ok, best case scenario is that the interviewing officer grants a visa on the day.

Worst case scenario (I'm certain you won't be flatly refused!) is that the interviewing officer decides you do need a 'waiver of ineligibility' and recommends you for one. I have no doubt that you will be granted that waiver but the downside is that processing is slow. The US embassy in Belfast estimates 3 - 4 months.

I wish you the very best of luck with your interview (look smart, be courteous, be 100% honest). My personal opinion, based on the details you've given and the assumptions I made, is that you have a very good chance of not requiring a waiver and of getting a visa on the day.

Do please come back and let us know how you get on. All cases are dealt with on an individual basis but personal experiences can be helpful for other people. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Nov-2019, 08:35 GMT by leics2 ]