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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2821. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1855 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Quoting martinj88

what are the chances of being recommended for a waiver and being granted one....

We don't know and each case is treated individually, and of course the US authorities take a dim view on drug offences, BUT from long reading on here it seems that ten years seems to be the most usual dividing line.

I would hope a bloke who presented at interview as a decent family man with a clean record during the past 12 years would have a very good chance.

But I hasten to add that this is just amateur supposition and observation - I'm no expert.

2822. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1103 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

>what are the chances of being recommended for a waiver and being granted one....

I'm afraid no-one here or anywhere else can answer that question. Decisions are made on the specifics of an individual case within internal regulations and guidelines which are not in the public domain. The experiences of others have no real relevance to what might happen to any one individual applicant.

>Has anyone been recommended for a waiver and been declined?

Interviewing officers make waiver recommendations following the interview but it is DHS (Department of Homeland Security) officers who decide whether a waiver is granted. In most cases it is but there can be no 100% certainty.

If a waiver is granted there is no guarantee that the visa will be for the 'normal' 10 year period. Visas can be granted for any length of time and, when waivers are involved, they are often valid for much less than 10 years.

>Any advice would be appreciated.

The interviewing officer will want to be sure that your husband fully acknowledges his guilt, understands that what he did was wrong (not just illegal) and is very highly unlikely to commit further offences, especially in the US. For that reason it is very important that he doesn't try to minimise his offence by saying e.g. that it was a 'silly mistake' or that others made him do it. He received a 6 month prison sentence, which indicates the severity with which the court viewed his offence and it's important to show that he accepts that fact.

It's been 12 years since that offence and, from what you say, your husband has plenty of evidence to prove he is now a responsible, law-abiding citizen. That will certainly help his application.

I wish your husband the best of luck with his application. Even if the worst happens and he is refused this time, remember that he can re-apply in future. Being refused once does not automatically mean your 'little one' will never get to visit the US with both of his/her parents. :-)

Please do come back and let us know how things go on. It's useful for others.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2020, 10:11 GMT by leics2 ]

2823. Posted by martinj88 (Budding Member 2 posts) 4d Star this if you like it!

Thanks Leics2 & AndyF!

Answers are appreciated, he knows how serious it was and deeply regrets it. So hopefully the interviewing officer can see that.

Does anyone have any tips for additional documents to take that might help his case? He was going to ask his employer for a character reference...…
Also what sort of questions will they ask, do they ask for details etc. The acro police report only states the sentence and doesn't detail the quantity of class A, will the officer ask this information or will they just be concerned with the charge and sentence he received?

Also Desmond who was put forward for a waiver, (his update was on page 282) was it granted, cant see an updated post to say where it was granted or declined?

Thanks again all, we have booked the interview - 3 weeks time so will be sure to update on here to let everyone know how it went

2824. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1855 posts) 4d Star this if you like it!

Quoting martinj88

Also what sort of questions will they ask, do they ask for details etc. The acro police report only states the sentence and doesn't detail the quantity of class A, will the officer ask this information or will they just be concerned with the charge and sentence he received?

From reading the experiences of others, it seems common for the interviewing officer to ask an open "talk me through what happened?".

And that's the opportunity to say I was young and foolish, here's what happened, I accept responsibility for my actions back then and now I'm a responsible adult.

It appears the officers are often not interested in documents, but it cannot harm things to have them to hand just in case you're asked. In cases where there's an overstay / illegal immigrant risk that seems to be when they really want to see ties to the UK like mortgage, job, etc, but having them cannot harm, along with bank statement showing a healthy balance to back up the image of someone wanting to spend money on holiday in the USA rather than someone likely to be a problem eg illegal working.

I think the best approach is to go into it as calm and relaxed as possible, looking smart, armed with the documents even though unlikely to use them, and tell yourself there's nothing critical riding on it. As Leics has said you can always revisit this a few years down the line if need be, and meanwhile there's a lot of interesting world to see outwith the USA. This is a fairly minor hurdle in your life so give it a punt but don't get keyed up about it.

2825. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1103 posts) 4d Star this if you like it!

>Does anyone have any tips for additional documents to take that might help his case? He was going to ask his employer for a character reference...…

As Andy says, there's no harm in taking e.g bank statements, mortgage docs, employer character refs etc but don't expect them to be looked at.....and your husband shouldn't try and insist that they are. In your husband's case it's the criminal record which is the major stumbling block rather than concerns about potential overstays, illegal working etc.

>he knows how serious it was and deeply regrets it. So hopefully the interviewing officer can see that.

The interviewing officer will need to be convinced that his regret isn't primarily related to being unable to enter the USA.

>Also what sort of questions will they ask, do they ask for details etc.

There's no set list of questions in the public domain and, obviously, many of the officer's questions will relate to answers he/she has been given. Your husband can certainly expect to be asked about his offence (which is why I stressed the importance of taking responsibility for it). It's also important to understand that the exact quantity of drug involved isn't particularly important: it's the fact that he was found guilty of dealing (not just possession) and received quite a lengthy prison offence for what...from what you say..was his first serious criminal offence.

>Also Desmond who was put forward for a waiver, (his update was on page 282) was it granted, cant see an updated post to say where it was granted or declined?

Whether a poster chooses to update this thread with their experience is of course entirely up to them. More importantly, what happened to any other applicant should not be taken as any sort of indication of what might happen with your husband. Decisions are always made on an individual basis and the details of one person's crime, lifestyle, past & present circumstances plus how he/she performs at interview will never be the same as any other person's. So, tempting though I know it is, don't allow the experiences of others to give you false hope.

As Andy says, if there is no recommendation made or the waiver isn't granted it isn't the end of the world. The US is only one country and there are many, many wonderful countries to visit with your 'little one'. If the worst comes to the worst, just leave it for a few years and then apply again.

And if it's only Disneyland you're desperate to take your little one to....there's always the one near Paris! :-)

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