Travelling from the UK to the USA with a criminal record

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

  1. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    Just got back from Boston, nice city. You can defs smell weed is legal there these days. Standard Q&A fare still applies at the airports too, and my usual advice to all UK travelers to the US still applies regardless of convictions:

    Do not waffle on with unnecessary details about your holiday plans to the immigration official. None of them care if you're really looking forward to going to disneyland or whatever. Just answer them as simply and quickly as possible, because you're holding everyone up.
  2. nogojones

    nogojones Well-Known Member

    They're all typing from their hotel rooms/ US bars you notice.

    You don't get to hear from them when they're picked up and doing 20 in a supermax when trying to exit the US
  3. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    You are correct, you can not go with an ESTA for training or conferences (officially), you will need to apply for a B1 visa and will have to have an interview. Your problem is that one of the required documents when applying for a B1 visa is a police ACRO report (it may be called something else nowadays, but is basically a criminal records check). You may get away using a ESTA by saying you are visiting friends or on holiday, but at some point in the future it may be the company you work for that apply for your B1 and just tell you when the interview with the Embassy is, that could make things awkward for you.

    See US embassy documents required for B1 visa

    I should add that just because you have a conviction it doesn't mean you will automatically be denied a B1 visa, I used to go to conferences often in the US and met a number of people over the years who had convictions and were from the UK.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
    existentialist likes this.
  4. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    I go to conferences all the time in the US and have never needed a visa (although I do have one anyway), but virtually all my colleagues use an ESTA.

    I don't remember having to do a ACRO either when I applied for my B1.
  5. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    I am going by the advise from the US embassy website about documents for a B1, see my link in the above post
    Also if you check other pages on that site you see that it says you can not travel on a ESTA for training or to attend conferences, you should apply for a B1.

    This is what it says "B-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons traveling to the United States temporarily to engage in business activities such as the negotiation of contracts, consultation with business associates, litigation, and participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature". Here is the link for that text

    Edit to add links for people reading this in the future:
    Link to required documents
    Link that shows you need to attend for a face to face interview
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  6. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    Understood. Sorry I've read your post properly now.
    1%er likes this.
  7. existentialist

    existentialist Girly swot

    I think the thing here is that, if you think that you are ever likely to need to apply for a visa in future, it wouldn't do to lie on an ESTA form - because if they tie the ESTA form in with the visa application, they are quickly going to realise that you lied on the ESTA form, and that might in itself be grounds to refuse a visa.

    This is one of those bastard-tricky problems that randoms on the internet probably aren't in a position to answer: you're probably better off getting professional advice, on the basis that doing the wrong thing now could end up being quite costly to you down the line. A decent lawyer will probably be able to give you a reasonable steer on a) whether your conviction is likely to prevent you travelling soon, b) whether it would stop you getting a B1 visa at a later stage, and c) whether the lying-on-the-ESTA issue is likely to be a problem.
  8. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    The biggest problem with visa's is that it is people who make the decision, unlike the ESTA (which isn't a visa) where the decision is made by a computer algorithm. So whenever you have to apply face to face for a visa you have to deal with how the person issuing it perceives you, what kind of day they have had, what mood they are in etc.

    I agree with you that anyone who has to apply for anything other than an ESTA and believes they may have a problem should get proper advice from a professional who understands fully how the system works and also knows how to mitigate things that could cause a problem. Records are records and nowadays almost anything you do with officials/government agencies is recorded and easily accessible for people with access to look back on.
  9. I'd stick with the esta if i were you, once you've confessed to a drug conviction to the us embassy in order to apply for a visa you're fucked. They hate drug convictions with a passion and will almost 100% reject your request, plus as mentioned, they have you on file forever. You would have more chance of a visa if you'd been a murderer.
    keybored likes this.
  10. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    I've been for conferences on an ESTA as well and all the consultants I worked with always go on an ESTA and they are all technically doing business.
  11. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Same. As long as you don't get paid in the US I think you're fine, but that could well be wrong.
  12. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    It must be something to do with that yes.
  13. ScoobyRay

    ScoobyRay New Member

    Hi everyone,
    Not here for advice, I'm a good boy and never been in trouble, but I've read this thread numerous times since the first time I went to the states 3 years ago and have to say I have had much amusement in that time from the replies. I read a story recently about a north east couple and their 21 year old son that were arrested, thrown in jail and deported the next day as when they landed, the border officials said they hadnt declared a money laundering arrest from 11 years back (they say they were cleared of it). It got me thinking that has their been a change to the process now so records are checked (I know the US and UK dont share criminal records) but if thats the case, this couple wouldnt of got deported? The story says "They told us something had changed because of Donald Trump".

    Hopefully they were just unlucky but thought you guys would like to know..
  14. 1%er

    1%er Well-Known Member

    The UK still don't share records of convictions/arrests with the US (as a matter of course) unless a special request is made to the Home office and then sometimes records are shared. You can be sure that ICE, TSA and Boarder control sometimes do random checks on ESTA traffic. A search on Google could bring up information on people if a court case was in the newspapers for example. There are a number of ways that US agencies could research individuals that have applied for an ESTA,so I'm sure there are many other stories like the one you mention.

    ESTA or B1 visa
    On the point about "getting in" to go to a conferences or seminar using a ESTA, I'm sure many people have including myself if I use my UK passport (I have a ten year visa in my Brazilian passport but depending on where I am traveling after visiting the USA, I sometimes us my UK passport for easy entry into my destination when leaving the US).

    The point I was making above is clear if you read the post, the advise from the US embassy is on their website, it states "B-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons traveling to the United States temporarily to engage in business activities such as the negotiation of contracts, consultation with business associates, litigation, and participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature". Here is the link to that text. You only need to meet an immigration officer who is a stickler for the rules and you my find yourself being bounced right back to where you came from. Also if you apply for the correct visa and have a face to face meeting, it gives you the opportunity to be granted a longer visa if you intend to travel often, there are options for UK citizens to be granted a 2, 5 or 10 year visa meaning you don't keep needing to apply for an ESTA.
  15. You haven't read the previous two pages of this thread have you goody two shoes.
    pogofish and existentialist like this.
  16. ScoobyRay

    ScoobyRay New Member

    Blimey didn't even see that. Serves me right for being an old fart
    pogofish likes this.
  17. Jupiter212

    Jupiter212 New Member

    Well, what can I say? I read and read this thread from the very start to the end just before we went.
    My partner has an extensive criminal record, including 5 custodial, and over 40 arrests of which 28 went to court, all of which were about 10 years ago.
    Clicked no on ESTA, queues up with family at immigration, they asked where we worked where we were staying, even had a laugh with me as I work at a butchers and wondered if I got free meat, scary looking but polite and kind, fingerprints took, eyes scanned, stamped off ya go have a good holiday! As the very experienced people on here have been telling everyone, they know nothing if you don’t tell them! The feeling when you get through is amazing! It was so hard not just giving each other a high 5 haha. Roll the dice, we’ve just done 2 weeks at Florida! A couple of young lads before us got took away for more questioning but they were sweating and looked really on edge. Just keep cool, be confident and you will be fine!
    JimW, skyscraper101, pogofish and 6 others like this.
  18. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer

  19. Maltin

    Maltin Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure this advice is correct. The next page after the B1 Overview you link to says "Can I travel under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) & ESTA?" with this information:

    Clicking the Visa Waiver Program link says:

    Under the Who is eligible section it states that those eligible include citizens of the UK:

    Therefore, as long as you don't work there for longer than 90 days at a time, are not employed there and you are otherwise eligible, you can use the ESTA.
  20. TruXta

    TruXta tired


    the kind of poster this thread deserves :thumbs:
  21. Jupiter212

    Jupiter212 New Member

    do we know if access to uk records is set to change in the near future? I really thought something would come up on the computer, even a little something, but nothing at all, all those poor people going for a visa because of a caution.... don’t do it! Listen to the advice.
    JimW and ddraig like this.
  22. Mrs D

    Mrs D . Banned

    What a lengthy thread... no doubt after Brexit there will be even more questions such as whether to attempt a week in Magaluf with a conviction for affray.
  23. ScoobyRay

    ScoobyRay New Member

    If you listen to the worriers, after Brexit none of us will be able to afford to travel anywhere and will be getting food air-lifted in like we are refugees. Will be like The Purge, people killing each other for a bag of frozen peas :)
  24. Emjay23

    Emjay23 New Member

    Hi everyone, been reading this post since start of this year lots of information but thank you to everyone for your experiences, i have a caution for possession of cannabis on my official record but was arrested for possession with intent to supply a class b drug because of the amount i was carrying. Long story short i had to go to america in summer to be with my family who didnt know about the caution and i lied on my esta.. no problems all the way got to customs at orlando airport. Scanned finger and eyes had a quick chat with the guy about football as the world cup was on and that was it walked on through with a big grin on my face :D Like it has been said before many times dont declare anything and be confident as f**k and god willing you shouldnt have any problems.
  25. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    Stop fucking chit chatting with the border security officials. It's not a requirement. Just answer the questions quickly and look uninterested. You're holding everyone else up. Thanks.
  26. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Nah, a bit of chat is mandatory.
    keybored likes this.
  27. TruXta

    TruXta tired

  28. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    Needs to be bare minimum though. Extensive waffling about the world cup or the fringe benefits to being a butcher is not on the entry requirements. Nor is it getting everyone else waiting through any quicker.
  29. Yeah but we are British, we like to chat shit to total strangers.
    wiskey likes this.
  30. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    Don't I know it
    pogofish likes this.

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