Visa to USA

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  • Visa to USA
  • revs1972
    Member

    I am planning a trip to Vegas for my 40th.
    Have recently found out one of the party did some
    hard time in a UK prison (2 mths for ABH) about 10 years
    ago.
    Does anyone know if this has a bearing on whether they let him
    in to the country ? Would he need a Visa ?
    I have been previously and remember signing a bit of paper on the plane to gain entry , but cant remember if it asked if you have had criminal convictions.
    Want to book the trip soon, if he does need a visa , does anyone have an idea of how long it takes to get one, and the processes involved ?

    Premier Icon glenh
    Subscriber

    They might not let him in, full stop

    Premier Icon gary
    Subscriber

    Don’t you now have to apply in advance for the Visa Waiver Program (the form you fill in on the plane)? In which case you would hope you would find out in advance that way!

    https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

    ebygomm
    Member

    Everyone now has to apply in advance for the Visa Waiver program. If you have a criminal record you are not eligible to travel with just the visa waiver. You need to get a visa itself. No idea on the liklihood of getting one granted, but it will no doubt involve visiting the US embassy in London and standing in lots of different lines/queues.

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    Does the rehabilitation of offenders act come into this at all? If it was 10 years ago, that offence is considered lapsed and your mate is “rehabilitated” – he wouldn’t normally have to mention it on job applications etc (there are exceptions, obviously).

    Macgyver
    Member

    yep, it’s all on line now. be careful as there are plenty of websites that purport to be the real thing but are not and they charge you 50 quid or more for it. The US government used to do it for free but now charge 14 dollars i think.

    for the sake of 10 quid I’d get him to do it on line and see what comes back. If he’s rejected he’s probably going to have to speak to the embassy for clearance and you know where you stand.

    ebygomm
    Member

    Must never have been convicted of, or arrested for, an offense or crime involving moral turpitude (there is an exemption in some cases for a single offence committed before age 18 and the crime was committed (and the alien released from any confinement to a prison or correctional institution imposed for the crime) more than five years before the date of application for a visa, and also for a single instance if the maximum possible sentence in the U.S. is one year or less in jail, and less than six months was served. However these exceptions cannot be applied by the individual as the question on ESTA is specific) or a “controlled substance,” or (two or more) crimes with a maximum aggregate sentence of five years’ imprisonment or more, no matter how long ago. National regulations which normally expunge criminal records after a certain length of time (e.g. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 in the UK) do not apply.

    revs1972
    Member

    So is ABH classed as a crime involving moral turpitude ?
    This guy isnt the sharpest tool in the box so could quite easily not tick this box as he wouldn’t understand what this meant.
    (TBH until i google the term I would admit that im not entirely sure what it means)
    So if for example, he says no to that question, would his personal history flash up on a screen somewhere to say that he was not telling the truth etc

    ltheisinger
    Member

    Having recently traveled to the US with a couple of mates for some MTB action, one of party ended up not going for having an offense on his record (He didn’t do time). This wasn’t because they said no at the embassy – it was purely down to the time it would take to get it.

    Your mate will have to go to the embassy to apply for a visa and he is not eligible to apply for a visa waiver – Believe me… I spent a long time researching this on his behalf.

    He will need to get an appointment with the embassy, they will interview him and at that point they will either decide whether it’s a yes or no OR they will send the decision to (I think the term was) ‘the Secretary of State’ for a decision. This can take up to 16 weeks.

    So if you are going to get on to it, you’ll have to do it sooner rather than later.

    Premier Icon stevie750
    Subscriber

    Belfast has an american embassy as well and it is a lot quicker to be seen than the london one.
    Mate got a visa there, in and out in 40 minutes

    revs1972
    Member

    Your mate will have to go to the embassy to apply for a visa and he is not eligible to apply for a visa waiver – Believe me… I spent a long time researching this on his behalf

    Luckily, we dont go to mid may so should hopefully be able to sort it out by then……. so is the first step filling out the online form and going from there….or is there a more direct route to getting an embassy apointment ?

    thanks

    b r
    Member

    or you could go somewhere decent instead…

    ltheisinger
    Member

    revs1972 – Member

    so is the first step filling out the online form and going from there….or is there a more direct route to getting an embassy apointment ?

    I think he can apply for the visa waiver but it will probably get turned down as he will say he has had a criminal record. But, from the US Embassy website:

    is not ineligible to receive a visa under U.S. visa law. Travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.

    He can’t apply for the visa online – he needs to arrange an appointment with the embassy. He can do that direct by calling them. He needs a B2 visa.

    Tel: 09042-450-100 – But beware it costs £1.23 per min plus network extras.

    atlaz
    Member

    And yes, consider going somewhere other than London. Even Americans wait hours to get anything done there. Do they still make you leave your stuff with the enterprising chap down the road or are bags allowed in now?

    revs1972
    Member

    Thanks for the advice…
    Have looked at the embassy website. So if he arranges appointment with them, presumably if he is there at the time / date arranged he will get seen , or is just an appointment to get into the building to wait ?

    Someone did say to me it would be easier to get him to Mexico and sneak him over the border than get a visa !!! sounds like that might be the case

    konabunny
    Member

    If you have a criminal record you are not eligible to travel with just the visa waiver.

    There is an interesting ambiguity on this – the law doesn’t say that but the US Embassy in London interprets in that way: http://london.usembassy.gov/add_req.html

    TBH until i google the term I would admit that im not entirely sure what it means)

    It is vague (perhaps intentionally because the concept changes over time and is very context-specific) – there are guidance notes on the State Dept website.

    My personal opinion – which is valueless to you/your mate – is that ABH wouldn’t be a crime of moral turpitude (assuming it was just a “normal” assault e.g. two blokes having a punchup outside a pub, and not him bashing a granny in her home for her pension money or something). NB also that ABH has a maximum five year sentence and that’s relevant too.

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