Travelling to US with a criminal record in the UK

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

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2762. Posted by kizzy241 (Budding Member 2 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2


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.

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. :-)

thank you that’s reassuring. I’ve been quite lucky and I’ve got an apt in less than a month. It’s definitely a one off and it was less than £20, it may be two counts but Certainly committed the same day. A very silly error relating to makeup and I won’t bore you with the woe me backstory albeit they might find it relevant when they ask. I’m expecting my ACRO in the next few days but it’s definitely ‘stepped down’ as it doesn’t even show on my enhanced DBS - which believe me I need for work, albeit they know anyway.

I’ll be sure to update:)

2763. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1028 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

>I won’t bore you with the woe me backstory albeit they might find it relevant when they ask.

The interviewing officer will almost certainly ask for some details of the offence but answer his/her questions honestly. Resist the temptation to talk about e.g. 'silly errors' or misunderstandings (even if that's what happened). They're looking for you to a) to be fully aware that what you did was wrong (regardless of the circumstances or motivation) b) are remorseful and c) have learned your lesson.

Assuming everything else is ok, I have my fingers crossed that the combination of your age at the time of the offence, how long ago it was and that the max possible sentence is unlikely to be more than 12 months will be sufficient for the officer to decide that your crime won't be considered a CIMT.

Good luck! :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Nov-2019, 13:33 GMT by leics2 ]

2764. Posted by Sid1990 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hi, I am an Indian national and am hoping someone can clarify my situation for me.

I lived in the US for 7 years as I did my undergrad and grad school there. Clean criminal record. I also lived in the U.K. from 2012 to 2015 and in 2014, I received a caution for “pursuing a course of conduct that amounted to harassment”. My caution was stepped down earlier this year and now my police certificate states “no live trace”.

Given my nationality, I have always required a visa for US. My first US visa (student) was from 08 to 2013. In 2015, I applied for my second US visa (visit) and got a 5 year one approved. In 2016, I applied for my Second student visa which was also approved. Unfortunately, both times, I unintentionally did not disclose my caution on my app thinking that it was just a formal warning and didn’t equate arrest or conviction. I had assumed arrested meant conviction. I should have ordered my police certificate and checked this before applying....

I am deeply gutted. I recently applied for my Canadian PR and visit visa, and disclosed my caution on the app. I came to know of it as I had to order my UK police report and found out that the caution does show up on the record...I am going to be applying in a few months for my next US visa and will disclose this “stepped down” caution....I am very worried that I may never be able to enter the Us again as it may be considered a willful misrepresentation...can someone pls chime in on my case and provide me advice? I was thinking of just emailing US visa authority before applying, letting them know and apologizing sincerely for the oversight...I work in a top tier profession, attended great schools and would not want this mistake to ruin my chances of entering the US again...please share input. Thx!

2765. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1028 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

When you accept a UK police caution you are legally admitting your guilt for the offence with which you were charged. If you had not accepted the caution you would have been taken to court:

It is up to the US authorities to decide whether a UK caution for x offence equates to a US criminal conviction. Harassment is not generally considered a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude), though decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and depend on the individual circumstances. We do not have...and do not want...the exact details of your offence so there is no point in speculating here.

>I was thinking of just emailing US visa authority before applying,

I see no point in doing that and suspect it would be of no use anyway. You can...and will be expected to...explain everything at your visa interview.

>I should have ordered my police certificate and checked this before applying.

Yes, you should have. But you didn't (though you did for Canada?) so you'll have to explain why. The US and Canada share a great deal of information about those who enter either country so I'd advise don't be tempted to avoid mentioning your caution when you apply for your US visa.

No-one here or anywhere else can tell you what will happen. My advice is to apply, to get the required UK ACRO and to be 100% honest in your interview.

Good luck!

Post 2766 was removed by a moderator
2767. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1028 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

> What will the outcome be?

I'm afraid no-one here or anywhere else can answer that question.

You 'believe' you were arrested and you say you were definitely charged, even though the charges were later dropped (which does not prove you weren't guilty of the crime with which you were charged). You haven't specified the crime with which you were charged so no-one can tell you if the US authorities would class it as a CIMT (crime involving moral turpitude).

'No trace' on an ACRO means >There are no convictions, cautions, reprimands/warnings or conditional discharges< It does not mean you have not been arrested or charged.

Assuming your charge wasn't drug-related, I believe the relevant visa question wording is >Have you ever been arrested or convicted for any offence or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty, or other similar action?< (my underscore).

At your interview you can either explain to the officer that you may have made an error (perhaps using the wording of the question to explain your confusion) or you can just stick with your answers as they stand. The choice can only be yours and no-one here or anywhere else can tell you with certainty what the consequences of either option might be.

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Nov-2019, 18:41 GMT by leics2 ]

2768. Posted by Mariahl (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4d Star this if you like it!

Strongly doubt it, the USA is extremely paranoid regarding criminal offences. You can get rejected if they even suspect you committed any form of semi-serious crime. And they don't even need to tell you why they rejected you, either. They'll just tell you you didn't get it, and you're left wondering.

2769. Posted by 1461trean (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3d Star this if you like it!

Hello guys first post my apologies if that has been asked

I recently applied for a US Visa due to my travel history I was unable to get an ESTA from the UK

In my DS 160 I declared I had been arrested this was a false accusations of assault from an ex in attempt to win custody of our daughter

I was charged but charges were later dropped when she admitted I did not commit the alleged act

I have never been arrested other than over this

This was 5 years ago

I have got no acro back and says "no trace"

Will this effect my visa

What advice can you give me for the interview?

Alot has been said about admitting mistakes and taking responsibility but in this case I had done nothing wrong.

The visa is for a 14 day trip to the US with my wife and kids

Thanks in advance

2770. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1028 posts) 3d Star this if you like it!

>Will this effect my visa

No-one here or anywhere else can give you a definite answer. That decision lies entirely with the interviewing officer and his/her superiors, based on all the details of your present & past circumstances plus the way you present yourself at interview and how you answer the interviewing officer's questions (your manner as well as what you actually say).

>What advice can you give me for the interview?

Dress appropriately and be courteous throughout. Answer all the interviewing officer's questions honestly. If you're asked to explain the circumstances surrounding the charges and around their withdrawal, do so calmly and clearly. Resist the temptation to show anger or bitterness towards your ex, even though you feel she was fully in the wrong. Show that you understand cases like yours are highly emotional and that everyone can say and/or do things in the heat of the moment that they would not otherwise say or do. Remember that if charges are withdrawn it does not automatically mean you were innocent of the offence/s. People often withdraw domestic assault charges purely because they are afraid of further consequences. The interviewing officer will know that and you do not want to give the him/her the idea that it happened in your case.

I wish you the best of luck with your application. Please come back and tell us how things's useful for others.

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