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Applying for a US Visa with criminal convictions


Applying for a US Visa with criminal convictions

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Reformed06
Reformed06
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Dear all,

Just thought I'd share my experiences when applying for a tourist visa to the US for my upcoming stag. Having been convicted on multiple occassions for minor offences in the mid 2000s I knew getting I'd be ineligible to travel under the ESTA so applying for a visa was my only option. Now, you should know I have travelled to the US previously. A few years prior to this I had a stop over in New York on the way to see an I'll family member in a country not too far from mainland USA. Booking details and visa application we're handled by a third party who was unaware of my history and applied for an ESTA in my name and this came back to trouble me later. Anyway...

Throughout the whole process I was nervous and afraid that I wouldn't be able to get a visa due to all the stories on here and other sites. I applied for a visa through a lengthy online process and was honest about my history including my previous travel to the US. I was eventually invited to interview but told I needed a  my copy of my police certificate. I gathered all the relevant documents and prepared for my interview. 

My certificate had info about my court convictions and I prepared this and a series of other documents which support how I have reformed in character. Some of these documents included Uni degrees, references and evidence of strong links to the UK including children's birth certificates. Although during my actual interview they were not even looked at! 

After my application my interview was scheduled and I attended a few months later. Going to the embassy is intimidating but as long as you've been open and honest in your application form you should be okay. I was interviews firstly by a very stern officer who questioned me to the point I stumbled and couldn't find the right documents when she asked for it. She asked for appointment ticket and some other papers and sent me to wait for the actual interview on the opposite side of the waiting room. When you enter the waiting room floor, security will tell you where to sit. 

I attended second interview and to be fair I was treated with respect, dignity and compassion as the interviewer questioned me around my convictions. Questioning was thorough but fair and I explained what had happened on the past and how I've changed now. After some questioning about my convictions she decided she'd advise I was give a waiver of inadmissibility and she'd recommend me for the full five years. Over the moon I left and awaited instructions to send in my passport. 

After 3 months or so I recieved an email asking about the time I went to the us under the ESTA program. I replied immediately stating that it was booked under circumstances I had no control over whilst being as apologetic as humanly possible. I sent the email and awaited instructions. I waited a further 2 months before emailing for an update only to be informed that they had been trying to contact me to issue my Visa and needed my passport for the last 8 weeks! I instantly sent my passport in and collected in a few days later with a nice fresh us visa sticker in it. 

The moral of this story is always be up front and honest with your history. Throughout this whole ordeal I had people advising me to be dishonest on the application but to truly reform you must accept and acknowledge your past. Experiences like ours build character and we should always see that as a strength. Can't wait to go Vegas!!!
coco98
coco98
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Ah I’m pleased for you! I was refused the ESTA because I answered honestly online about being arrested and have started the Visa application and awaiting the subject access request from ACRO. It’s nice to hear they do issue them but I’ve also heard they refuse too and for minor things too. Well done and enjoy your stag
Misguided
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Hi all, this is my first time posting but I thought I'd tell you of my recent experience at the new embassy.

First a bit of history...

I'm in my mid fifties and in the early 90's I managed to get myself a hefty drug problem and long story short, I ended up getting myself a 5 year prison sentence for conspiracy to supply a class A drug. Going to prison saved my life and I managed to turn my back on that part of my life, got completely clean and have never been in any kind of trouble since. A few years later I then became a mother (late starter at 40).

Fast forward to 2017. myself, my partner and daughter all wanted to go to America to watch the total eclipse and travel the roads from Vegas to Yellowstone. First up, I needed to apply for a Visa - I researched everything I needed to know and was totally honest on my visa application. We went to the old embassy and saw a lovely man who fully understood that this episode just covered a couple of years of my life and fully understood that I was now an upstanding citizen. He supported my application and recommended that it be accepted. 6 months later, I got my visa!! We were so excited and off we went on our travels on what proved to be the best holiday ever.

Fast forward again to November 2019, we decided that we want to do a similar trip so off we went to the travel agents and booked an 18 day Vegas/ travelling trip for mid 2020. THEN applied for a visa. To my surprise there were no immediate spots open to go down for an interview and the first available were in January. That's cutting it fine I thought but was confident that we'd still get it back in time. Cut to January and we both booked a day off work to start the long journey down ot the other end of the country. We got to the new embassy in plenty of time but had to wait an age to get in as there had been problem with the IT system. Anyway got in to the first clerk who took my prints and asked me for my docs as a few basic questions, then went to wait for my interview. I waited about an hour then got called to a window and not a booth as I'd always gone into before. That's when my nightmare began. I didn't have an interview at all, this really rude American just asked me all the questions he already knew the answer to (in a really loud voice that everyone could hear). He asked what therapy I used to give up drugs, I said that prison was all the therapy I needed and that I used the sentence to change my life and as I'd never been a criminal before using drugs, it was easy for me to go back to my old 'clean' life. Well he wasn't having this at all and said that he didn't believe that I could just stop and therefore I must still be using!! I kept reminding him that this was over 20 years ago and it just wasn't my life any more. I told him that I'd already been given a visa with no problems just a couple of years before and he just kept saying that he didn't believe me!! The upshot of it was that he refused my visa under section 221(g) - basically that I wasn't suitable to be given a visa!! There was one spark of hope when he said that I could possibly get one if I went for a drug test - I said certainly, which way do I go - and he said that I'd have to make an appointment with a visa medical place in another area of London!! I was now panicking as I knew we'd have to go down to London again on another day. We'd spent £300 at this point for the visa, the police certificate and petrol. I went out to my partner and broke my heart, I never in a million years thought I'd be denied a visa after receiving one so easily the first time around. Anyway I phoned this medical place, then discovered that this examination costs £405 and tests for everything from TB to VD, with blood tests, chest x rays and urine tests and you need all your medical notes from your doctor - how bloody humiliating!! We  hummed and ahhd about whether to go and eventually cancelled our trip, losing our £300 deposit. We've now lost £600 and all our travel plans are in tatters. I'm so devastated and just wanted to warn other would be travellers so they don't make the same mistakes as I did.
JASB
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Misguided - 2 Mar 20 4:28 PM

Hi all, this is my first time posting but I thought I'd tell you of my recent experience at the new embassy.

First a bit of history...

I'm in my mid fifties and in the early 90's I managed to get myself a hefty drug problem and long story short, I ended up getting myself a 5 year prison sentence for conspiracy to supply a class A drug. Going to prison saved my life and I managed to turn my back on that part of my life, got completely clean and have never been in any kind of trouble since. A few years later I then became a mother (late starter at 40).

Fast forward to 2017. myself, my partner and daughter all wanted to go to America to watch the total eclipse and travel the roads from Vegas to Yellowstone. First up, I needed to apply for a Visa - I researched everything I needed to know and was totally honest on my visa application. We went to the old embassy and saw a lovely man who fully understood that this episode just covered a couple of years of my life and fully understood that I was now an upstanding citizen. He supported my application and recommended that it be accepted. 6 months later, I got my visa!! We were so excited and off we went on our travels on what proved to be the best holiday ever.

Fast forward again to November 2019, we decided that we want to do a similar trip so off we went to the travel agents and booked an 18 day Vegas/ travelling trip for mid 2020. THEN applied for a visa. To my surprise there were no immediate spots open to go down for an interview and the first available were in January. That's cutting it fine I thought but was confident that we'd still get it back in time. Cut to January and we both booked a day off work to start the long journey down ot the other end of the country. We got to the new embassy in plenty of time but had to wait an age to get in as there had been problem with the IT system. Anyway got in to the first clerk who took my prints and asked me for my docs as a few basic questions, then went to wait for my interview. I waited about an hour then got called to a window and not a booth as I'd always gone into before. That's when my nightmare began. I didn't have an interview at all, this really rude American just asked me all the questions he already knew the answer to (in a really loud voice that everyone could hear). He asked what therapy I used to give up drugs, I said that prison was all the therapy I needed and that I used the sentence to change my life and as I'd never been a criminal before using drugs, it was easy for me to go back to my old 'clean' life. Well he wasn't having this at all and said that he didn't believe that I could just stop and therefore I must still be using!! I kept reminding him that this was over 20 years ago and it just wasn't my life any more. I told him that I'd already been given a visa with no problems just a couple of years before and he just kept saying that he didn't believe me!! The upshot of it was that he refused my visa under section 221(g) - basically that I wasn't suitable to be given a visa!! There was one spark of hope when he said that I could possibly get one if I went for a drug test - I said certainly, which way do I go - and he said that I'd have to make an appointment with a visa medical place in another area of London!! I was now panicking as I knew we'd have to go down to London again on another day. We'd spent £300 at this point for the visa, the police certificate and petrol. I went out to my partner and broke my heart, I never in a million years thought I'd be denied a visa after receiving one so easily the first time around. Anyway I phoned this medical place, then discovered that this examination costs £405 and tests for everything from TB to VD, with blood tests, chest x rays and urine tests and you need all your medical notes from your doctor - how bloody humiliating!! We  hummed and ahhd about whether to go and eventually cancelled our trip, losing our £300 deposit. We've now lost £600 and all our travel plans are in tatters. I'm so devastated and just wanted to warn other would be travellers so they don't make the same mistakes as I did.

Hi
I am sorry to hear of the way you have been handled.
There is not much more to say but just advise you that there ARE more wonderful places to visit than the USA.


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope is for tomorrow else what is left if you remove a mans hope.
dennisOG
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JASB
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dennisOG - 20 Mar 20 11:10 AM
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Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope is for tomorrow else what is left if you remove a mans hope.
leeon1000
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I have just got a new job that will require me to travel to America (around once a year) the problem is I have a money laundering and fraud conviction from 2017. I got a 2 year suspended sentence and community service which is complete.

I wanted to know if it’s possible to get a visa to travel to the USA in any way possible?

I have turned my life around and this is my dream job now
Simon1983
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Hi leeon1000

well done on getting the new job,

a good link to look at is 

https://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-to-the-usa-the-esta-form-and-moral-turpitude/

this talks about travelling to the USA on an ESTA without disclosing your conviction.

in the end the choice is yours, the article makes good reading.

it is important to remember that the USA do not have access to the PNC and there is no information on your conviction on your passport.

if you do take this option then as the article talks about, if in the future you decided that you want to live or go and work over there full time and apply for a work or green card then the fact you traveled on an ESTA will come up as when you apply for a visa you will have to supply a police certificate. As the article talks about Unlock are aware of many many people that have convictions, and some far worse than money laundering, tick no convictions on the ESTA go to the USA for there travel then come home and have no issues.

if you decided that you can’t lie on the ESTA then take a look at these two links from unlock that will help you further 

https://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-us-need-visa/

https://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/travelling-to-america-usa-simple-guide/

if you want to talk to some one then why not what’s app unlock in the morning on 07824 113848 and they will be happy to help or email them advice@unlock.org.uk

they will be happy to talk to you and everything that is discussed is treated in confidence 

All the best in your new job 



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