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esta tourist visa & cannabis fine?

(13 Posts)
JohnniesBitch Sat 13-Aug-11 18:32:18

Anyone know if you would be granted a visa for tourism into America with a caution/fine for cannabis? My brother who is now 30 was arrested and cautioned whilst smoking cannabis in the car park when he was 18. His girlfriend now wants to visit Florida in September but my brother not sure if he would get a visa. We've googled but can't find a clear answer. He wants to know before laying out a couple of grand on a holiday he might not be able to go on!

Does anyone know? Thanks

scurryfunge Sat 13-Aug-11 18:35:37

In theory he could be refused entry but I think in practice there is no agreement to disclose convictions to the Americans.

Snorbs Sat 13-Aug-11 18:49:17

I'd call the American Embassy and ask.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 13-Aug-11 19:10:42

The ESTA is quite specific in terms of asking about any previous convictions.

My understanding is that if he was arrested and or charged he will need to have an interview at the US Embassy to apply for a visa. This could easily be denied.

scurryfunge Sat 13-Aug-11 19:25:35

Yes, I am not advocating lying but there is no agreement to share the info if you see what I mean.

JohnniesBitch Sat 13-Aug-11 19:30:55

Yes I see what you mean not sure if he would want to risk being refused admission on arrival when he turns up with his gf and gf's family though!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 13-Aug-11 19:35:51

Completing the ESTA form online is not in itself a complete guarantee of admittance into the US; that final decision is made by the Immigration officer on arrival.

As it stands he will need to apply for a visa because of his previous arrest even though it was 12 years ago. He is not eligible to use their online ESTA visa waiver programme.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 13-Aug-11 19:43:55

The UK passes on a lot of information to the Americans due to counter terrorism measures. Your brother cannot and should not also risk being deported on arrival. He needs to apply in person at the US Embassy for an interview re a visa application.

suzikettles Sat 13-Aug-11 19:43:56

The issue as I see it, is that he may well get into the US if he lies on the ESTA form - I don't think the US routinely has access to UK criminal records.

However, if this situation changed in the future I can't see them ever letting him into the US again if he'd lied on the form this time, whereas if he is up front now, they may give him a visa.

He'll also have to count on not getting nervous in front of immigration if he's knowingly lied. I found them incredibly intimidating and I have nothing to hide.

mummymeister Sat 13-Aug-11 22:33:55

My friends partner was in exactly the same position having been fined and cautioned (and therefore found guilty of the offence) he flew to Boston earlier this year and was sent home on the next plane as he thought they wouldnt find out. All very embarassing for everyone. The US line is very clear. they will not take you in if found guilty of a drug offence. would suggest you do not allow him to lie on the ESTA form this is a US offence and he flies in with lies on the form then he can be arrested. get him to go in person to the embassy and talk it through with them directly. Imo though he isnt going to be allowed in.

JohnniesBitch Sun 14-Aug-11 08:48:17

He's filled out an online application for a non immigration visa as advises on the us embassy website so I guess it's just wait and see now.

timeforamoan Thu 18-Aug-11 08:33:09

If they let Cheryl Cole in to work considering her previous 'criminal' background then I am sure you're brother will be eligble to go there for a holiday. My partner had a minor conviction from years ago (at least 30) I made an enquiry with the US embassy if he needed visa and that was it, there was no way out my letter meant he had to apply for a visa, it is a costly and rather humiliating process so I have been told. He wishes I had not said anything (so do I) he knows people who have previous convictions/cautions and have gone to the USA without a visa, so it is a gamble what you decide. If they refuse him a visa it is their stupid loss, and to be honest if they treat holidaymakers like this why give them your money.

Snorbs Thu 18-Aug-11 10:04:17

The US is particularly sensitive about drugs convictions as a consequence of their War On (some) Drugs.
US immigration is notoriously lacking a sense of humour though. I have seen people turned back for quite trivial reasons so, personally, I wouldn't risk trying to blag my way through.

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