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To not even book a trip to the USA because of spent convictions?

(292 Posts)
streetface Tue 25-Apr-17 09:15:28

We have been planning a large family holiday to USA but one of the party has spent criminal convictions for carrying a weapon, drugs and violence dating back to teens and twenties. In forties now, model citizen, hard working lovely family man but I have a feeling that all of that will be irrelevant and he will be denied entry?

I don't think it is worth taking the risk spending thousands on a holiday to be turfed away last minute. He won't get his money back either will he?

ihatethecold Tue 25-Apr-17 09:17:26

He would probably need an interview to get his ESTA

TeenAndTween Tue 25-Apr-17 09:17:35

I may be talking rubbish, but can't he apply for a visa rather than just use the visa waiver scheme? Then you'd know up front before booking?

MorrisZapp Tue 25-Apr-17 09:18:12

It's up to him surely to bear the risk? Would the whole lot of you miss out because of one family member? Unless it's your husband I'd crack on without him. He could research the facts before making a decision.

RusholmeRuffian Tue 25-Apr-17 09:18:23

What not get him to apply for the ESTA now and see if he gets approved?

PatriciaHolm Tue 25-Apr-17 09:19:12

What risk? Apply for the ESTA before booking the holiday.

mummymeister Tue 25-Apr-17 09:20:48

no one on here can second guess this one because it will come down to the nature of the case, were drugs involved and a whole load of other things. the best thing to do is apply for a visa and not an esta and for the family member to crack on and do it now.

only he can do it and he needs to realise that these things always take time.

whether or not they take him is a bit of a lottery but you wont know if you don't ask the people who make the decisions.

WildKiwi Tue 25-Apr-17 09:21:21

I doubt he'd get his money back if he's denied entry. Not the travel company or airlines fault and insurance would likely say it's not covered.

Not sure whether the US pre-flight checks would pick up on it before you left the UK, but if he did get as far as the US and was denied entry he'd have a rather unpleasant time being detained before being put on a flight back to the UK (not sure whether he'd get charged for the cost of that?)

I'd contact the US embassy to check what the situation is before booking anything. No point wasting your money and having the worry of whether he'll get in and stress if he's denied entry.

streetface Tue 25-Apr-17 09:22:03

I'm sorry I have never been to the USA before what is an ESTA and does that mean if he gets it then he will 100% be allowed to go?

It is to celebrate a 60th. It's a once in a lifetime holiday and we all want to go. Wouldn't be the same without him (wife and kids wouldn't go either then) so leaving him behind is not an option any of us would be happy with.

UppityHumpty Tue 25-Apr-17 09:23:25

He has to apply for a paper visa so a decision can be made manually. Visit the US Embassy website for more information.

streetface Tue 25-Apr-17 09:25:41

Thank you. If he gets a visa does that mean he can be sure to be allowed to go on holiday? Or could there still be a possibility they could change their minds at entry point?

Dowser Tue 25-Apr-17 09:27:03

If he declares it now...they ought to look at each individual case on their merit.

But in this crazy world...anything can happen.

My daughter is there now with her family. Luckily everything went smoothly. They didn't have any skeletons in the closet though :-)

UppityHumpty Tue 25-Apr-17 09:27:03

Not sure. I think if he gets the Visa he should be able to go in.

AppleMagic Tue 25-Apr-17 09:27:22

He's not entitled to an ESTA (visa waiver program) because of his criminal convictions. He could try for one but risks getting turned away at any stage (even after it's been approved if they discover it for some reason).
He might be able to get a visa from the embassy. It depends on the nature of the crimes.

KERALA1 Tue 25-Apr-17 09:27:53

An esta is a visa waiver. If u are a blameless Brit you apply online fill in online forms and homeland security or whoever email to confirm you don't need a visa. Cost about £10 or something not much. You should get these for all your party before booking anything.

If he doesn't get his esta he then needs to apply for a full visa which I think means going to us embassy in London.

Mil recently had her esta refused (baffling as blameless retired secretary) but is German. She took fright and didn't apply for a full visa. They didn't go on their cruise and lost thousands. Do everything in advance and get visas before paying for holiday.

Vanillaradio Tue 25-Apr-17 09:28:34

So esta is the thing you would all have to apply for on line before going. It is valid for a certain amount of time and lets you enter us for visit without visa. Asks you a few questions first one about conviction's. Tell him to do this first. Most likely it will turn him down and tell him to book appointment at embassy. He should then do that and see if they give him a visa. Get him to do all this first so you know if he can go.

Dowser Tue 25-Apr-17 09:28:37

He needs to speak to the embassy in London and will probably have to go for an interview.

streetface Tue 25-Apr-17 09:29:11

Oh no! I just got this off the embassy site:

A visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A visa entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission; it does not guarantee entry. An immigration official at the port of entry determines the visa holder’s eligibility for admission into the United States.

So we could spend thousands on a holiday, get a visa and he could be turfed away with no refund. It's just not worth the risk is it?

AppleMagic Tue 25-Apr-17 09:30:48

If he declares everything and is given a visa there shouldn't be any problems.
I expect that with more than one conviction for a crime of moral turpitude he may be "inadmissable" even for a paper visa.
You can get this overturned but you would probably need legal help. I doubt it would be worth it for a holiday if you have other options.

Magpiemagpie Tue 25-Apr-17 09:30:58

My brother in law has been to prison for drugs ( 5 years) in his twenties so gave a few other friends
Now forty and has been to the states many many times
Ive got convictions ( not for drugs) but stuff in my teens and ive just come back from America
My husband has got convictions for stuff in his teens but has also been to the states loads
We all do the two years ESTA for £10

They do not have access to UK fingerprints/ convictions
This comes up loads on trip advisor
They share with Canada for DUI and stuff my sons girlfriend overstayed her visa in Australia a few years ago and got removed by immigation took her fingerprints and photos
She's just come back from a holiday in Florida so def no sharing of info in that case

MorrisZapp Tue 25-Apr-17 09:31:42

From what you have said, it doesn't sound worth the risk.

AppleMagic Tue 25-Apr-17 09:33:02

No non-citizen is guaranteed entry to the US though. With a valid visa he'd have just as much chance as anyone else in the party.

Magpiemagpie Tue 25-Apr-17 09:33:17

Op where are you going in the states for the holiday

If you go the embassy way it's unlikely that they would give him a visa
It takes months and you have to get copies of police records

Vanillaradio Tue 25-Apr-17 09:33:26

I think it's worth making the appointment and discussing everything with the Embassy first. Then you know the situation and can make an informed decision. Depends on how much you are set on US for a holiday I guess, does it have to be there?

AppleMagic Tue 25-Apr-17 09:34:20

I do agree with magpie though that unless he's wanted by Interpol he'd probably get away with it.

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