Travelling from the UK to the USA with a criminal record

Discussion in 'New York/US' started by slish66, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Razor-Lillith

    Razor-Lillith New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm new here but have gone through the thread and others on different sites but have always been ignored or given a stupid answer.

    I'm just looking for some reassurance and extra information or dvice in my paricular case.

    The story is that my girl came here from the USA and is going through the UK home office on medical grounds for Discretionary leave to remain.
    It is likely that she will be denied which will require us to go to the USA at short notice with limited funds in order to be together.

    I plan to gain entry with our cat and dog via ESTA, two way ticket and diary in possesion (To document and show commitments in the UK which I'd need to return).

    The trouble is that I have a criminal record.

    2015 - Theft By Housebreaking
    2011 ? - Wreckless Fire Raising
    Before then I've had Driving without license or insurance (When 17)
    And inbetween I've had many spot fines for open alcohol containers and a fine for shoplifting.
    The housebreaking was the last time I found myself in bother and the charges are not what they sound out to be, it was all through the head of alcohol sadly, although I've matured and left the bottle alone now.

    Once I do gain entry, I plan to marry my love who came all the way here for me just to go through our immigration process and all the stresses of it.

    I then plan to file for an Adjustment of Status and green card.

    I can prove my crimes were not of moral turpitude, it wa due to alcohol problems and mental health issues which are problems of the past and prove it through the mitigtion of the crimes in court.

    The problem is proving that to them and if taking our much loved pets with us will cause suspicion to CBP.

    I plan to do this in a timely manner and was wanting some advice if possible.

    I'm in a very unique situation in very unique circumstances.

    Also, I can provide plenty of evidence of hardships if I were to be removed also as I have everything documented and have a lawyer to provide the mitigation of the offences and convictions.

    I have tried to gauge my situation with the posts already made here and apologise if I have missed anything that would spell it all out to me.

    Thanks in advance

  2. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Whether you get in or not have you not considered that once you apply for a change of status the US authorities are going to want a lot more information? at which point it will show that you lied about previous convictions on esta and get you booted out anyway in all likelihood.
    Razor-Lillith likes this.
  3. nogojones

    nogojones Well-Known Member

    I reckon you'll be fine if you keep your mouth shut. Dunnno about applying for greeen cards or how any of that works though.

    Can I ask... did getting the nickname Razor have anything to do with your offences?
    Razor-Lillith likes this.
  4. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer

    Be aware that someone I know went to the states and married a US citizen, they left the country to go on holiday and when they tried to board the return flight to America he was unceremoniously deported to Britain (where he was stuck for 9mo trying to apply for the right visa). So get your adjustment of status sorted.

    Also I believe that they treat you differently if they think you planned the marriage before you arrived in the US.

    I would do a lot of Reading up and perhaps consult an immigration specialist, because if she has been refused a visa here, and you refused one there you will have problems.
  5. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    Hi all. I've read the thread but not sure my exact situation has been addressed so advice please.

    I've been working on the isle of Sheppey for the last week. Will I need a visa or esta to get a train to sittingbourne?
  6. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer

    Quarantine I suspect
  7. Razor-Lillith

    Razor-Lillith New Member

    Thanks for replying, Nogojones, its actually the name of my dog I rescued and Lillith being the cat lol.
    But thank you all for replying.

    I would be going over on the basis of assisting my girlfriend back to the US with the animals and for touring purposes for two weeks.

    There wont be no wedding dresses, rings or any talk of weddings or proposals to lead them to suspect anything.

    ESTA permits for 90 Days and read the best time to marry without being suspected of having premeditated intentions of marrying would be around the 70 day mark, which gives plenty of time to act upon filing for an adjustment of status.

    When all is in motion, I will be honest about all the nonsense I've been convicted of, I have never done jail time which is of a benefit I believe.

    The hardships are not exagerated and have them all documented from the current immigration process which is still going on.

    I can prove my convictions were not of evil intent and I know the little lie on ESTA can be waived.

    I can do all that but the thing is that will they be able to do all that for me or ship me back here at the drop of a hat.

    I'm very nervous about losing my girl and being returned here.
  8. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    Razor-Lillith Having read you post I think you need to be very careful, when you apply to adjust your status after the marriage, you will need to provide a CRO check from the country that issued your passport and any other country you have lived in that you tell them about. In your post 1711 above you mention a number of crimes and I think your criminal record will make you inadmissible and you are likely to be denied the right to stay. Also being untruthful on the ESTA is considered very serious and I think it is highly unlikely it will just be waived.

    If I had more time I'd be able to give a better answer but I need to go out and if I remember I'll give a more detailed answer when I return.
  9. existentialist

    existentialist Apprentice bachelor

    I'm in no position to speak from any authority beyond what I've read on this thread, but it seems to me that the basic premises are these:

    The US does not have routine access to foreign police forces' crime databases. Therefore, unless your offence was extremely serious, or you're on some kind of watch list, if you don't tell the US about your criminal record, they won't know, at least as far as turning up at the airport with a clean ESTA. BUT, if you tell the US authorities about any convictions, they will then know about them, and (I presume) record them. Likewise if you make a statement to them denying you have convictions, and they later discover otherwise, they have a record of your claim to have no criminal record, and will be able to see that you did not tell the truth.

    From what I gather, lying on an official form counts quite seriously. I suspect if they find someone has lied, they're going to ask "what else hasn't he told us the truth about?", and it's going to get in the way of your entry to the country, or right to remain (and a conveniently-timed wedding might arouse even more suspicion).

    I imagine that the background checks for an immigration application are going to be a lot more in-depth than those for a short-term visa, so you can probably expect some kind of DBS-style check (the vetting process used for people in high-risk jobs), which will be likely to reveal all: the enhanced check shows even lapsed convictions.

    I can see the temptation to just fill in the ESTA "no convictions", but you do need to have a care about how things are going to go in the future. If you do that, you will have the short-term gratification of being able to go to your girlfriend's homeland. But the price you will pay is that, if there is any question of your applying for any other status, it's going to come back and bite you. If you know that you are planning on applying for leave to remain, you really can't afford to risk being caught lying on the ESTA.

    The US seem to have something of a "deport first, ask questions later" approach to things, so you need to ask yourself whether you're prepared to risk that outcome. Remember that immigration stuff isn't like the criminal law, where you're generally presumed innocent until proven guilty; this is "remove them", and that's about it. So it won't be much fun.

    And you'd be looking over your shoulder for years to come, wondering if this was the day your past caught up with you.

    I think you have to have a good look - probably with legal help - at how you can sort this out before you do something that completely scuppers the whole thing. And that probably includes travelling to the USA :(.
    wiskey likes this.
  10. Before you take this course of action speak (and pay for) an immigration lawyer. My gut instinct is they’ll kick you out and won’t let you back in, but no one on this thread is an immigration lawyer, so can’t recommend speaking with one enough.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  11. SparkiJasper91

    SparkiJasper91 New Member

    Hello everyone!

    Really good thread with loads of information which has sort of put my mind at ease! I think I know the advice/choice I should make but wanted to post my situation anyway - feel free to reply d**khead read the post! I have read quite a lot but I’m a bit of an over thinker and over worrier!

    I was cautioned back in September last year for possession with intent to supply a class A drug. Not one of my proudest moments or something I’ve shouted about obviously but I’m due to visit New York in a couple of months - am I right in thinking say no to all via the ESTA process and on the plane and act normal at border control? Queue: d**ckhead read the post replies...

    The caution sounds much worse than the situation, I’m not a drug trafficker or master mind of a drug empire! I was lucky to get the caution and the Police were on my side as much as they could be really. Still mortified about it all though as the reality of the situation most people at the time were probably doing the same thing!

    Backstory: I was at at NYE party with a small amount of stuff I’d bought, that was shared with 3 other people which they put toward. One of the people at the party past away a week later, it was not the drugs (coroners report proved that) it turned out they were extremely unwell and had known a year there time was coming up - massive shock. They collapsed (no warning) and were admitted to hospital, when this happened we obviously told them about NYE shenanigans as we needed them to do all they could! That then involved Police obviously and statements were taken. Sh**ty time overall really, lost an amazing person and whilst trying to grieve had the Police side of it all overhanging for 9 months! Didn’t have to explain this but have already so yep! Hoping to get a positive response, or d**ckhead is also fine! :)
  12. MadeInBedlam

    MadeInBedlam Arm the mentally ill

    equationgirl and pogofish like this.
  13. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer


    ... Having said that a drugs conviction/caution is a drugs conviction/caution, you might have been unlucky in the grand scheme of things but nobody in customs is going to care about how hard done by you have been.... (sorry about your mate though).

  14. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer

    Weird isn't it, I can't think of a single reason I'd want to go to the USA. I really don't get the attraction.
  15. SparkiJasper91

    SparkiJasper91 New Member

    Sorry MadeInBedlam - posted as saw there had been some recent activity. I pretty much knew the answer I was going to get but posted as I’m an over thinker and over worrier!

    Thanks wiskey - it was only a caution, I didn’t get convicted (not that it makes it any better obviously). I was told I was under arrest whilst giving my statement but also told I was free to leave at anytime, I told the truth as I had enough on at the time and to be honest!

    I’ve tried to forget that part of my life as much possible - it wasn’t great. When I saw the question on the ESTA it brought it all back and boom - PANIC! Then the googling began! When I recieved my caution my DNA, finger prints and mugshots were taken, I was told they’d be held in the PNC and I had to sign to agree to my caution.
  16. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer

    Yes but the PNC is not visible to the USA, remember that
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  17. SparkiJasper91

    SparkiJasper91 New Member

    Yeah read that earlier too - cool, thanks again! I will update how I get on.
    wiskey likes this.
  18. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Dickhead. Read the thread.
  19. OwentheBo

    OwentheBo New Member

    100% know the answer, but a lot of knowledgeable people on here so I'd appreciate confirmation.

    Wife is American, daughter is dual citizen. They live in the US and I live in the UK as I was convicted in 2010 for fraud.

    Spent a couple of years in prison and now I'm looking to join them.

    I'm assuming if I declare they'll never let me in so the best option is to Esta and lie and fingers crossed?

    According to a US lawyer once I'm in he can take it from them and bury them in human rights appeals if they try and send me back one day.

    That's my thoughts but any knowledge I'd appreciate it.
  20. joustmaster

    joustmaster offcumdun

    why do you think that?
    MadeInBedlam likes this.
  21. TruXta

    TruXta tired

  22. existentialist

    existentialist Apprentice bachelor

    You're very fortunate - you won't even have to read the whole thread, as there has been a discussion in just the last few pages of a broadly similar situation.

    You might be slightly better off than him - perhaps, assuming you don't do anything crass like lie on an ESTA form, the immigration system has some mechanism whereby you can legally join your wife and daughter. But if you lie on the form, and it then transpires that you're planning to settle, you're probably screwed.

    Immigration lawyer time, I would have thought.
    equationgirl and 1%er like this.
  23. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    SparkiJasper91 If you are really concerned about being rejected at the boarder fly from Ireland as you will be able to clear immigration at the airport before you leave, if you get past immigration in Ireland you will not have to face them again in the US

    OwentheBo You are looking to join them and stay in the US not just visit, so much of the advise on this thread is no good for you. Once you apply to change your status in the US you will need to provide a criminal records check, so your lie on the ESTA will come to light. As you have already spoken to a lawyer, I'd ask them if being untruthful on your ESTA will be held against you. It is important that people understand that an ESTA is not a visa, it is just permission to travel.

    I know a number of people who have been able to live with their family in the USA who also have criminal convictions, don't compound your problem and see if your lawyer can find a better way.
  24. OwentheBo

    OwentheBo New Member

    Thank you to all who have replied. I don't know if this is casual pub talk bollocks, but someone told me because my daughter is American she has a human right to see her father and cannot be punished for my mistakes and as it's not drugs or firearms I should have a good case.

    I know you'll say lawyer time, but if I'm honest I've waited all this time because I know once I tell them there is no going back. They'll know and will probably fuck me over.
  25. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    I think that bit about your daughter's rights is bullshit unfortunately.
  26. existentialist

    existentialist Apprentice bachelor

    The thing is, you're dealing with a government's immigration policy here. Most Western governments make policy in the face of strong pressure from citizens to stop "them" coming in to "our" country. That's ridiculously general, often inaccurate ("they" can often be significant contributors, etc), and very unfair. But them's the rules. And the US is particularly and notoriously uptight about who they let in - even if the UK is doing its best to give them a run for their money.

    And one thing they absolutely can't stand is when "they" (non-citizens) tell lies to get in. From what I can tell reading around elsewhere, there is scope for restricted visas to be issued where people have a previous conviction, so all is not completely lost. It's a bit of a gamble, because once you've gone down the visa route, there's no chance of sneaking in.

    And, if you were talking about a 2 week trip to Disneyland, lots of people here would be saying "lie on the ESTA and take the (small) risk". But you're not - presumably, your plan is to settle with your wife and daughter. Which is going to mean filling in immigration forms and revealing all kinds of stuff about your history - which means it is highly unlikely that your conviction will escape notice. And if there's any whiff of anything dubious, given that you already have a conviction for fraud, of all things, I suspect that they'll just assume everything else you're telling them is bollocks, and slam the door shut on you. This is one of those situations where honesty really is the best policy.

    Your only real option is to square all that away before you go, and if you're refused, perhaps then you can appeal on compassionate grounds.

    Unless you're planning on getting in any old how, and staying there as an illegal alien, which means pretty much no access to anything legal - you'll be a non-person, in every sense of the word, probably including health insurance, etc - and a lifetime of looking over your shoulder to wonder if today's the day the immigration people catch up with you. You won't be able to get a proper job, because you won't have a social security number, so you'll be stuck with illegal employment on the black, with all the exploitation and insecurity that implies. Probably not an ideal model to be demonstrating to your daughter, either.
    equationgirl and 1%er like this.
  27. OwentheBo

    OwentheBo New Member

    Existentialist I think you've said it all there and have given me the slap in the face I need.

    Much appreciated.
    equationgirl and existentialist like this.
  28. It's a big,beautiful, mad and bad continent. The musical heritage, the wow factor... all that. Not to everyone's tast, obvs. Oh and family (for me).
  29. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    I was writing an answer but @existentialist has covered much of what I had written, so just a few facts.

    For sure it is just pub-talk about you having rights if your child is a US Citizen, if it were true the millions of people deported every year who have children that are US citizens would be allowed to stay.

    You say in post 1729 that you were convicted of fraud in 2010, fraud is covered as a crime of "moral turpitude" so you are more than likely to be ineligible for the ESTA program (but there are exceptions and it depends on what type of fraud) and you need to be fully aware that it is a criminal offense to provide false information for the purposes of obtaining a ESTA, it is also a crime to lie to a federal officer, so you would be committing two serious crimes, as well as on the ESTA you would also have to lie to the immigration offices at the point of entry, you must think about how that could effect any future application.

    Again as existentialist mentions above living in the US as an illegal isn't a great option, if you are caught you may well be banned from re-entry for 10 years, as is often the case. It only takes a traffic stop or any small interaction with the police there for them to find you are illegal, there computer systems are well linked, unlike in the UK where people can work on a temporary NI number for 20 years.

    All is not lost, I know people who have be able to move to live with their family in the US who have had criminal convictions, but you really do need to speak with an immigration lawyer who will be able to give you the full picture and explain your options.

    Good luck I hope you find a way to move there
  30. The daughter thing kind of works for someone wishing to settle in the EU, the US has no such ruling though.

    Fraud is much better than drugs or terrorism though; generally they will tolerate you if you are a risk to an individual, drugs & terror are seen as risks to society as a whole and are therefore frowned upon much harder.

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