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USA with a criminal record

14 replies

worriedmama16 · 05/02/2020 13:41

Hi, I'm hoping to travel to New York with my mother and daughter.
I'm 40 now but when I was 23 I was caught with cannabis twice and went to court. Also I was arrested on suspicion of drink driving but wasn't charged.
Do anyone know if this will affect my chances of going?
I should say I've been to America a few times about 10-12 years ago on an esta without declaring my record, but I believe it's a bit different now?
Anybody know how it works?
Thank you

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worriedmama16 · 05/02/2020 15:52

Anyone????

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katzenellenbogen · 05/02/2020 17:22

I think the questions on the ESTA form only relate to offences which involved violence against another person, but you would be best to just have a look at the form and see what they ask.

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Mads123 · 05/02/2020 18:15

You can ring the American embassy and they will tell you if you need a Visa, they will probably tell you do. It will be about 120 pounds and you'll have to go to the embassy to get it. It's not the easiest thing but also not that bad. You could chance it but I wouldn't.

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BG2015 · 05/02/2020 19:02

I think with drug convictions it's very difficult to get into the US. But that's only what I've heard - don't know any one whose tried it.

You could ask on Trip Advisor maybe on one of the forums. I filled in the ESTAs for my parents recent cruise and I can't remember it asking about criminal history or convictions but they can always check up I suppose.

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itshotterthanthesun · 05/02/2020 19:05

A friend of mine had cannabis possession and something else like criminal damage from her teen days. She had to go to the US embassy for an interview and fill in forms plus obtain UK police records to show and pay some admin fee but all was fine and she got the clearance - took a good few months to go through it all.

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Kirkman · 05/02/2020 19:07

So my brother was in a similar position.

Not drugs related. He needed a Visa and had to go to the embassy.

He recieved a 5 year ban when they realised he had been travelling there without declaring the conviction (which has since been overturned). After that he applied for another Visa and got it. But he has been told he will always need a visa and can not go, just under the estate scheme. Even though his conviction was overturned and he record is clear.

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Kirkman · 05/02/2020 19:16

Esta not estate Blush

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worriedmama16 · 05/02/2020 19:47

Thank you, I think I'll contact the embassy. I have a different passport now and haven't travelled to the us on my current one. Don't know if that makes any difference.

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AnchorDownDeepBreath · 05/02/2020 20:13

You’ll need a visa because of the drugs offences. They were a long time ago so the interview shouldn’t be too bad and you’re probably fairly likely to get the visa, although don’t book anything non-refundable until you’ve got it, just incase.

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Kirkman · 05/02/2020 20:57

It's a total guess wether they know. They can trace your old passport through your new one. They will have record of you going since the conviction.

Best bet is to apply, will mean a visit to the embassy (probably) but it's the only way you will know.

So much could impact it. The details of what happened etc

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BritWifeinUSA · 07/02/2020 04:44

The drugs convictions will pose a problem. Not necessarily a full denial but you may be sent for a medical evaluation. They are doing that a lot more now for tourist visa applicants with a history of drugs involvement.

Of course they will know! You will be fingerprinted at the embassy. Unless you have had a hand transplant since your last entry here they will see you have travelled before. And you likely will be asked about it. I hope you aren’t planning to lie? That gets you a lifetime ban.

Even if you are planning to go to a state like mine where cannabis is legal, it’s still illegal at a federal level and immigration is a federal matter.

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ivykaty44 · 09/02/2020 20:29

I used to work with court records, had many people over the years contacting for their records of conviction as they needed them for their US visa

What made me wonder was, we would then have to have a lot of information from them to check we were releasing the information to the person that it related to, so birth certificate passport etc.

These court records were in bound volumes, not electronic, digitised or the like. They’re not records for open access so actually no one from an embassy would have access as under GDPR it wouldn’t be allowed

It always struck me as bizarre

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Getoffmylilo · 09/02/2020 20:53

Whatever you decide to do it's worth noting that the USA does not have access to UK criminal records or the Police National Computer. A request would have to be made through Interpol to access your records, they'd need a reason to do that in the first place (like your name being on a wanted list with Interpol). US customs can just refuse anyone entry though, even if they have the correct visa, and also have the right to inspect the contents of mobile phones, lap tops etc.

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Biscuitsdisappear · 15/02/2020 19:37

If you contact the embassy their standard answer is for you to apply for a visa. They are not interested in drink driving. You have already been to the USA without any problems. Think before you ask any questions because you leave yourself open to getting an answer that you won't like. As has been said, they do not have access to our court records or police computers.

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