Can My Friend Travel To America?

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LouiseAmy | 17:39 Mon 29th Apr 2019 | Travel
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My friend was sentenced to 3 years in prison for gbh with intent, will he be able to travel to America when released? If so what’s the time frame and what would he have to apply for?


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Unlikely - 'Moral turpitude ' and all that

Buenchico or others will be along to give you the heads up
Unlikely. He'd have to apply for a visa because he couldn't travel under the Visa Waiver Programme and that alone can take months, but with that sort of conviction I doubt it'll be a yes.
The rehabilitation of Offenders does not apply to this, I'm afraid x
The USA doesn't recognise the UK's Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and has no corresponding legislation of its own, so there are no fixed time periods for offences to become 'spent' under US law. (Indeed, US law doesn't recognise the concept of 'spent' offences at all. Offenders are stuck with them for life).

"Assault with intent to commit serious bodily harm" (which is the wording used in the USA) is classed as 'moral turpitude' by the US authorities. Under the USA's Immigration and Nationality Act, anyone who has committed an offence involving 'moral turpitude' is automatically banned for life from entering the USA but it's possible to apply for a 'waiver of inadmissibility'.

So, in the first instance, your friend would need to apply for a US visa (providing an official copy of his police record and attending an interview at the US Embassy in London). That procedure alone can be lengthy and expensive (particularly if he has to take time off work to attend the interview and then travel from the other side of the country). The US Embassy staff will then automatically refuse to issue him with a visa. (They have no discretion. Their Immigration and Nationality Act forces them to do so). They will then offer to refer the matter to Washington though, as an application for a 'waiver of inadmissibility'.

The processing of an application for a waiver is extremely lengthy, taking at least six months and usually over a year. One AB member reported that her husband had to wait 15 months before having his waiver application refused (and he only had two convictions for driving without insurance).

As I stated at the start of my post, there are no fixed time periods before offences can be 'ignored', with the US authorities responding to questions by just (unhelpfully) saying that every application is considered individually upon its own merits.

However, based upon what I've seen written on AB and elsewhere, I doubt that there'd be any point in your friend trying to enter the USA until at least 10 years after his release from prison. Given that he might have to wait a month or two to get an interview at the US Embassy, and then wait possibly 15 months or more for his waiver application to be considered by the authorities in Washington (and, obviously, that he wouldn't want to book any travel until he knew if he'd got a visa) he'd need to commence the visa application process around two years before his planned date of travel.

Even after a ten year wait though (followed by two years for the processing of his visa application) it's probably still unlikely that he'd be allowed to enter the USA.
Just a general note as well:

As your friend is serving a 3 year sentence, he will probably be released after 18 months. However he'll still be 'on licence' and it's normally a standard licence condition that the offender can't travel abroad. So he won't be able to take any overseas holiday (not even to France, Spain or wherever, yet alone the USA), or even go on a day trip to Calais, until the 18-month licence period has come to an end.
no chance, the old septics are big on what they call "moral turpitude" .
My understanding is that anyone who has ever been sentenced to over 6 months in prison is premanently excluded from travel to the USA ! So your friend can NEVER visit the USA ! Also no one with a conviction for a 'crime of violence' can get a visa to the USA ! So your friend can NEVER go to the USA ! They are disqualified on 2 counts !
I had a friend who served a year in prison for drug related offences. He went to America for his honeymoon, he simply didn't declare his conviction.
Yeh Sterling advice... just break the Law and end up in Prison again for Immigration offences
Nailit, yes they do not have access to UK criminal records so yes that can work but very risky.
//just break the Law and end up in Prison again for Immigration offences//
But he didn't end up in prison again, he enjoyed his honeymoon.
Not saying that he wasn't taking a chance doing so (or that it was right to do so) just that it was possible.
Exactly 3T.
Question Author
Sorry I must add it was conspiracy to commit gbh with intent I don’t know if that changes anything.
"Taking part in a conspiracy (or attempting to take part in a conspiracy) to commit a crime involving moral turpitude" does, in itself, count as 'moral turpitude' (as defined by the United States Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual), so everything in my post above still holds true.
PS: If it changes anything at all, it might make it even less likely that your friend could gain admission to the United States.

The officials reviewing his case might be prepared to accept that 'GBH with intent' can arise (say) out of a sudden flare-up in a pub (with the offender normally being a law-abiding citizen) but anything which implies that there was actually pre-planning to commit GBH with intent would seem to suggest that the offender has a particularly nasty streak in him.
To sum up ! Your friends chance of EVER getting a visa for the USA is ZERO!!!
//To sum up ! Your friends chance of EVER getting a visa for the USA is ZERO!!! //

Unless he doesn't declare his conviction and takes a chance.

The example of my friend happened some years ago and would be interested to know if the law has changed in anyway since then.
quite right chico, sounds like a wrong un.
Question Author
I don’t think it’s worth the risk not declaring his conviction. It only takes someone to check and he will be sent straight back and probably be in a lot of trouble.
//It only takes someone to check and he will be sent straight back//
And who will check?
As TTT posted //they do not have access to UK criminal records//

Not advocating breaking any laws here but laws arnt always so black and white!
Its not something that I would attempt admittedly!

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