Getting a US visa with criminal conviction

(21 Posts)
Fortitudine Sun 10-Jul-16 16:53:01

I am wanting to go to the US at the end of the year, and I need to apply for a visa at the US embassy as I have a criminal conviction which means I'm not eligible for the visa waiver scheme.

Twenty years ago I was convicted of drink driving and given a warning for possession of a small amount of cannabis. Does anyone know the chances of me being refused a visa? I have obtained the forms from the British police and nothing shows, but there is a marker there which means I do have a record. I have been filling in the form and they ask for a contact in the US but I don't know anyone there. I visited the States in the early 90s, but haven't been since my conviction.

I would appreciate nobody telling me that it's my fault because of my conviction - I realise that, but this is my only conviction ever, committed when I was bereaved and depressed. I am ashamed of it, and was punished for it (fine and driving ban). I don't even drink now.

I realise I will have to attend an interview at the American embassy in London, does anyone have any experience of this?

Thank you in advance.

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 16:54:37

I think if you have a drugs conviction you've got next to no chance of getting a visa.

Evergreen17 Sun 10-Jul-16 16:58:55

20 years ago? Shouldnt that have expired now?

Fortitudine Sun 10-Jul-16 17:02:53

Apparently nothing expires for US embassy purposes.

Fortitudine Sun 10-Jul-16 17:04:22

I wondered if the fact that I was given a warning (not even an actual caution or conviction) would be taken into consideration.

Iguessyourestuckwithme Sun 10-Jul-16 17:05:09

I don't think you'll be going. A friend is married to an American and can't fly over to see his in laws due to a 20 year old conviction much like yours.

LowDudgeon Sun 10-Jul-16 17:08:42

Does a warning count as a criminal record?

The drink driving thing doesn't matter afaik.

Batboobs Sun 10-Jul-16 17:10:49

Apparently you're now supposed to apply for a Visa even if you have only been arrested, with no charge. The whole thing is ridiculously strict.

LowDudgeon Sun 10-Jul-16 17:10:56

[[ forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4973777 this person has TWO & still got an ESTA ]]

LowDudgeon Sun 10-Jul-16 17:19:03

This is from 2011 & says it's being arrested that matters.

I think you need to ring the embassy confused

redhat Sun 10-Jul-16 17:23:25

DH had a US bench warrant out for his arrest and we have since been backwards and forwards to the US plenty of times. Call the embassy and they will help you out.

LowDudgeon Sun 10-Jul-16 17:30:02

this is the page the image I posted above is from

This was a person with an actual caution for cannabis possession but there are lots of helpful answers including one from a US Immigration lawyer

AyeAye Sun 10-Jul-16 17:32:38

If the drugs thing was just a verbal warning then it won't be recorded anywhere, you weren't arrested or cationed so forget it. Concentrate on the drink drive part - I ink plenty of people just get the esta with this.

SwedishEdith Sun 10-Jul-16 17:35:18

But doesn't Boy George travel to America and back? I'd see a lawyer - there's clearly some flexibility

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 18:07:38

I imagine boy George concerts bring in quite a lot of money for local economies. I'm not sure the op will have the same pull smile

DreamingofItaly Sun 10-Jul-16 18:14:24

The drink drive conviction doesn't matter. I have a friend who has that and he goes to the US all the time.

The warning for cannabis I don't know. I think if it's a verbal you're ok. It's arrests they care about. As PP have said though, give the embassy a call.

Good luck, I hope you can travel.

Roomba Sun 10-Jul-16 18:51:30

I would check with the embassy. A colleague of mine has a few drink driving convictions from about 15 years ago, plus a few drunk and disorderly convictions. He has visited the US several times in the last couple of years, so I imagine you'd be fine. But ask them - then you'll know for certain.

AyeAye Sun 10-Jul-16 19:08:41

I wouldn't ask the embassy. You will get a stock answer of 'you need a visa'. And then you will have flagged yourself to them. I would just do the esta. They're looking for terrorists, not people who were a bit daft in their youth. But they won't tell you that. Have a google, there are tons and tons of people asking about this on travel / Disney forums.

LowDudgeon Sun 10-Jul-16 19:34:05

But lots of forums say that if you go for the ESTA & they check you out over there & turn you back you will never get in again.

Surely it's possible to ring the embassy & get advice without giving your name?

"Asking for a friend" wink

Mycraneisfixed Sun 10-Jul-16 20:04:12

Attend the interview and tell the truth and how you've changed. There are no rigid rules, it's very arbitrary. Good luckflowers

TheDisillusionedAnarchist Sun 10-Jul-16 20:08:54

DH was arrested for cannabis possession aged 13. Needed a U.S. Visa, zero problems. They were perfectly friendly and professional and didn't consider it a major issue at all. Doubt you'll have a problem. He has a 10 year visa.

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