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Applying for a USA Tourist Visa - Advice please


Applying for a USA Tourist Visa - Advice please

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Jobe1287
Jobe1287
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Thank You all for your comments.

So, I returned to Manchester at 15:30

Walked behind my wife to the electronic gates she went first it halted half way through the passport official told her to raise her glasses and keep staring at the screen, it flashed a few times and she was through.

My turn, it scanned my passport, I could see my face on the screen , white light, I stood still, got nervous and looked a few inches higher, the white light moved with me, still saw myself on screen and then.......Pleasd seek assistance!!! damn.

I was directed to the desk, young official, she scanned my passport, I asked her why this passport had never passed the auto screen, was there something wrong with the chip?

No she says, the chip is fine, she was pleasant, joking and basically said that it was my fault for not using the gate properly!!!!

So, non the wiser, if I am to believe a young, bored, jokey official then my passsport is fine but I need to use the gates better...

I didn’t press the issue, she was really friendly, but I lost the nerve to ask if there were any flags on her screen, I only asked if I had a dodgy chip or was there something else wrong to which she replied, no, all is ok, the gates are sensitive sand haven’t recognised me sufficiently.

Jobe
Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
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Jobe1287 - 20 Jun 18 2:48 PM
So, as Ben forewarned every one on the flight took a minute to clear passport control. Passport was scanned took about 30 seconds during which time the young officer held full eye contact 😳Then a beep he looked at the screen said thank you and gave me my passport back. Like a whimp I had waited until I was almost the last in line and he did the same intense glare at all the men and half a glare with the ladies on the flight. But I am here, now a few days to let my heart rate settle and then the trauma of re-entry into Manchester.

Have a great holiday Jobe and try not to worry too much about the journey home.

Debs

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tedstriker
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Great news. Now have a beer and enjoy your holiday!

For future reference I have often had my wife go through before me and wait for me when returning to the UK. She can see the screen of the border agent (although not well enough to read it) and noted there is a red alert box if the passport flags something.
Jobe1287
Jobe1287
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So, as Ben forewarned every one on the flight took a minute to clear passport control.

Passport was scanned took about 30 seconds during which time the young officer held full eye contact 😳

Then a beep he looked at the screen said thank you and gave me my passport back.

Like a whimp I had waited until I was almost the last in line and he did the same intense glare at all the men and half a glare with the ladies on the flight.

But I am here, now a few days to let my heart rate settle and then the trauma of re-entry into Manchester.
Jobe1287
Jobe1287
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Just cleared security and check in at Manchester. Waiting for flight to krakow, should land at 2:25 will update on arrival 🙏
Jobe1287
Jobe1287
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Thank You Ben
BenS
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Jobe1287 - 29 May 18 9:50 AM
Morning BenThank you for your input. I presumed as much, the ESTA is slightly worthless in my opinion.The full and final test will always be the passport officer checking details on landing. I presume due to the delays I hear of all the time that the USA thoroughly scan all passengers passports on arrival?I did research the pre clearance at Dublin but in my naive mind I tend to think that if they are not as busy and on UK soil and working closely with UK border officials then the odd peek at our databases might happen without using the official channels!! So am more inclined to favour fronting it out at JFK or as originally thought, biting the bullet and applying for a visa waiver. Jobe

Dublin is not UK soil - Ireland is a foreign country just like Tajikistan is a foreign country. If the Americans did "peek" at anything (which I don't believe they are allowed to do without a formal Interpol request that must be justified by reasonable suspicion, not simply a random check), it would be in the Irish system.

I can only stress what has been said previously - people with unspent and far more serious convictions than you have travelled to the US on an ESTA and got in no problem. Plus, you can morally and truthfully tick "no" due to the rewording of the criminal question - no more "moral turpitude", which could be absolutely anything - now a narrower question about "causing damage to persons or property" or something like that.

Anyway, enjoy your trip to Poland and let us know how it goes with the automatic gates and any human interaction you have with border control :-)
AB2014
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Jobe1287 - 28 May 18 9:14 PM
Hi Square, thanks for your input. I understand your view / explanation especially regarding Nigella. I am a little concerned about the Irish woman though. She overstayed her visa some years previously so no doubt was immediately placed on a ‘no re entry’ kind of watch list, which I completely understand. She however, successfully applied for an ESTA! if my reasoning is correct the ESTA process should check known watch lists before granting permission to travel, so why didn’t that happen?Apart from a direct tip off at Dublin airport pre clearance I can’t think of why the official would ask for further checks? Any ideas? Jobe

I suspect the problem in this case might be that the ESTAs are issued by the State Department, but the border posts are staffed by Homeland Security. The two departments have different approaches to border control. It looks like the ESTA process does not include a check of lists, whereas DHS would probably be checking various immigration problem lists, and overstaying is probably a criminal offence, maybe even a federal offence, and could automatically lead to a 10-year ban from the US.
Jobe1287
Jobe1287
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Morning Ben

Thank you for your input.

I presumed as much, the ESTA is slightly worthless in my opinion.

The full and final test will always be the passport officer checking details on landing. I presume due to the delays I hear of all the time that the USA thoroughly scan all passengers passports on arrival?

I did research the pre clearance at Dublin but in my naive mind I tend to think that if they are not as busy and on UK soil and working closely with UK border officials then the odd peek at our databases might happen without using the official channels!! So am more inclined to favour fronting it out at JFK or as originally thought, biting the bullet and applying for a visa waiver.

Jobe

BenS
BenS
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Jobe1287 - 28 May 18 9:14 PM
I am a little concerned about the Irish woman though. She overstayed her visa some years previously so no doubt was immediately placed on a ‘no re entry’ kind of watch list, which I completely understand. She however, successfully applied for an ESTA! if my reasoning is correct the ESTA process should check known watch lists before granting permission to travel, so why didn’t that happen?

Hi Jobe - I would guess that a visa overstay is not a serious enough reason to be put on a watchlist, so would not be picked up during the automated ESTA check.

As most ESTA results come back within a few minutes, I would assume it's a quick, automatic check against vital watchlists, not an in-depth look at any tiny bit of information that the US has. It is written somewhere that having an ESTA approved does not guarantee you entry into the US - the final decision is with the border guard - this seems to confirm that they really don't check that hard when approving the ESTA, but the border guard would have the more detailed information about previous visas etc. upon scanning your passport in person.
Edited
6 Months Ago by BenS
GO


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