No problem. SInce my conviction almost 10 years ago, I have read extensively about the travelling issues, as I travel several times a year so like to know what might be expected.
In response to your comments:"As you advised in your first post it may be prudent for me to arrange a trial run (USA is not an option for me) maybe a visit to a European country perhaps France, sometime this year and test it all out again before making a final decision of Visa or ESTA.. Do you think that would yield any useful information?"
It would be an interesting test to go to France to see if your passport fails in the automatic gates and/or you are asked any questions by the passport agent, but it has no validity in terms of being denied entry, as you cannot legally be denied entry to an EU country. They can ask you questions but they must
let you through afterwards, unless you have a serious contagious disease or they have credible proof that you are a treat to their national security. The mere presence of a criminal conviction is not
sufficient to deny EU citizens entry into other EU countries. On the other hand, the US can arbitrarily deny entry to foreigners at their discretion (but having a valid visa protects against this).
---With regards to those travels, IF there was a green notice on my passport would you believe an officer at passport control would have stopped me or questioned me in any way seeing as there are no Visa requirements?
Usually, but not guaranteed. It depends on how busy they are, if you are travelling with anyone else, if they can be bothered, etc. A green notice is not related to the lack of visa requirements. Although they can't deny you entry, they have every right to ask you basic questions in a discreet manner before letting you through. In the last 6-12 months, they have unfortunately stepped up in this regard, with the amendment to the Schengen Borders Code which makes "glancing at your passport and waving you through" a thing of the past - now they have to scan everyone's passport and check it against various databases - on both entry to and exit from the Schengen area! An EU citizen with a green notice will likely be asked basic extra questions but then be let through.
---I am certain that my local force would not have asked for any restriction or notice to be on my passport unless it was a mandatory requirement, but do not know if green notices are a mandatory requirement or not.
There is some debate around this, which you can see on other threads on this forum. Many people seem to say that it is up to the police's discretion as to whether or not they issue a green notice. But it seems that some forces blanketly issue it for everyone, even people they trust. You are very unlikely to get a direct answer if you ask your local force about a green notice.
---I understand your point with Debs advising I might make contact with my local force, would you happen to have any idea how this is done and if they are obliged to respond to me, as far as I know it might not come under Freedom of Information Act as it would be classed as Police Information, but I might be wrong. Would you know if they are obliged to check and answer the question of whether my passport has any notices placed upon it?
You can submit a Subject Access Request to your local force to request all the information they have on you. But, as you correctly inferred, they are allowed to restrict what they reveal, under the law enforcement exemption (S.2(31) of the Freedom of Information Act) or a similar exemption. They probably wouldn't tell you if you have a green notice, but no harm trying. Good news: a Subject Access Request used to be £10, but will soon be free, in line with the new GDPR: https://www.acro.police.uk/subject_access.aspx
So if you wait until 25 May to do it, it's free. You can find information on how to submit a SAR on the website of your local police force.
--- IF I apply for a Visa and it is granted, the visa then goes into my passport and every time I travel anywhere the passport officer would see that i had NEEDED to apply for a US Visa and that in its self is a mark on my passport that may alert suspicion? Or am I over thinking things?
I think you're overthinking it. There are myriad reasons why people from ESTA-eligible countries who have no criminal convictions need a US visa:
- They live there
- They work there
- They are on holiday there for more than the 3 months permitted under ESTA
- They have travelled to certain high-risk countries in recent years (e.g. a charity worker who has been to Syria will need a US visa even if they are a national of ESTA-eligible country)
- They have dual nationality with a country that the US doesn't like (Iran, Somalia, etc.), in which case you need a visa even if your other nationality is ESTA-eligible
- Certain people travelling on business (but not actually employed in the US) need a visa even if they are ESTA-eligible citizens, e.g. journalists