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Back from the states dont travel without visa waiver !

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DevilRed | 14:22 Fri 02nd Jul 2010 | Travel
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I posted a few weeks ago asking about being able to travel to the U.S with a criminal records . Here are a few things that I learned so take my advice .

- They now swipe your passport for your visa waiver in manchester .

- Once he scanned my passport he did know about my criminal record as he directly asked me about it .

- I had to a personal chat with border control where the decided I was no threat to the U.S and allowed me entry .

- I was told that it was now on record I must never travel to the U.S without a Visa again .

- I also sat in the room where several men off my flight were sent home .


Dont take the gamble they do have access to criminal records no matter what you read on the internet . But if you do decide to travel to the U.S without a record they can grant you access if your honest and your record isn't to serous .

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I have to say I'm astonished. Your record should not be encoded anywhere on your passport. I'll be interested to see what any other ABers have to say about this.

I'm nto quite clear what happened to you. When you say 'in Manchester', was your passport swiped by UK immigration as you left? Or was it just on arrival in the USA?
Question Author
Sorry having read it back myself it isnt clear enough is it . No they scan you for your ESTA in the U.K but you still fill out the green form on the plane . When I arrived at border control I had no intention on telling them I had a record until I was asked direct to my face at the booth . I was then told to leave my family for several minutes whilst I had a chat with a member of border control . Another thing I must warn people about is its best being honest I seen a fellow who persisted in his lie and I dont think he gained access . As it happened he allowed me access but warned me that I couldn't access again without the correct Visa .
For clarification:
Details of criminal records are NOT included on passports.

However the system used by UK Border Agency staff (and not by any overseas authorities) shows information stored by the UK authorities about anyone with the same name and date of birth as is on a traveller's passport.

I have to assume that DevilRed's offence was not classed as 'moral turpitude' since the US Immigration and Nationality Act specifically bars anyone who has committed an offence of moral turpitude from entering the USA unless they've been granted a 'waiver of ineligibility'. (i.e. US immigration staff should not have any discretionary powers to allow such an offender into their country).

Chris
you were asked? Everyone is asked!
i was asked if i intended to commit any acts of terrorism while i was there.
are you sure they knew or you just told them?
Question Author
He did know because I have two convictions and when I told him about my ABH charge he asked my about my other charge .

I promised I'd come back to help people out that are in the situation I was in and I have . My advice would be they do know they sent my wife and daughter away whilst we chatted why would they do that if they didnt have access . My crimes were commited as a minor and as I hadn't spent time in prison I gained access .
Hmm I wonder if he actually knew or was guessing?

A skilled interrogator can trick an admission out of you with no actual knowledge by just appearing to 'know'
No, everyone isn't asked. I've never been asked. Chris, how did they know?
Last time I flew into New York (November 2005) I was asked the purpose of my visit etc, but not whether I had any criminal convictions. Of course, that was before the inception of the VWP...
All airlines face big penalties if they convey passengers to destination countries without the requisite entry documents. It's possible that the airlines are working with UKBA to try to ensure that they notify the US authorities of anyone who might not be eligible for entry into the USA.

i.e. I'm suggesting that UKBA's inspection of DevilRed's passport linked his name and date of birth to a criminal record. UKBA might then have notified the airline that there was some doubt over his eligibility for travel. Then, to ensure that they weren't penalised by the US authorities, the airline passed that information on to the US immigration service.

NB: That's all entirely guesswork on my part but it remains a possible route for the information to have reached the US border staff.

Chris
< Of course, that was before the inception of the VWP... >

The VWP started in 1986.

Maybe you mean ESTA?
Apologies - that is correct.
Well I never - Mark Rae WRONG about something!
that sounds feasible, Chris; but it suggests a substantial change from the advice usually given in this section.
Personally I'm not convinced that DevilRed didn't simply put himself in a position where he became a person of interest.

I think it would be all over the web if indeed your passport was showing up your criminal record. I've read previously that up to 1 in 5 people in the UK have some sort of criminal record (I assume this also means police records for those with cautions). Think of the 1000's of people entering the US every day and then again the numbers who enter without declaring their record and you've got a hell of a lot of people going in when they're not really supposed to. It would have made enormous waves if they were all getting quesitoned like you.

A quick look at the number of times this issue comes up on AB supports the volumes.

The responses from devilred are a little vague.

"..My crimes were commited as a minor and as I hadn't spent time in prison I gained access..".

That's a new one. They're now letting you in just because you haven't been in prison? If thats the case why bother with the rest of the rigmoral.

Apologies devilred for the comments, etc but I simply don't think they have access to your record. Did you ask them directly?
(2-part post):

The rules on the US Embassy website state that anyone who ever been arrested or convicted of an offence is obliged to apply for a visa. The process is quite lengthy, involving getting hold of a copy of your police record from The Association of Chief Police Officers and attending an interview at the US Embassy in London. ACPO normally provide a Police Certificate within 10 working days. The current waiting time for appointments at the US Embassy is 15 days. The current processing time for visa applications is 4 days:

If US Embassy staff decide that your offence does not fall within the definition of 'moral turpitude' they have discretionary power to issue a visa. If your offence is classed as moral turpitude you will automatically be refused a visa. (Embassy staff have no choice in the matter. The US Immigration and Nationality Act bars you from entry). However you can then have your application passed to the United States Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection, as an application for a 'waiver of ineligibility'. The MINIMUM processing time for such an application is 16 weeks. (There have been reports, here on AB, of some applications taking over a year to be processed).

US Embassy page:
http://london.usembassy.gov/add_crime.html
Statutory definition of 'moral turpitude':
http://www.state.gov/...rganization/86942.pdf
Please ignore the post above. Wrong thread!

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