Ray contacted our helpline for some advice regarding travel to the US.
In 2011 Ray had been convicted of 3 minor offences and having decided to visit the US for a holiday, he sought some advice from an immigration solicitor about whether he would be allowed to visit as he’d heard that anybody with a criminal record wouldn’t be able to go to the US. His solicitor told him that he would need to apply for a visa which he duly did and was given an appointment for an interview at the US Embassy.
However, in readiness for the interview Ray started doing further research and began to think that he had been given incorrect advice by his solicitor and that his offences would not be classed as crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT). On this basis, he applied for an ESTA and was approved.
Ray wanted to know whether he should go ahead and travel on the ESTA rather than attend the interview at the Embassy. He was concerned that US immigration would have access to the information he had disclosed on his DS-160 application and would refuse him entry when he arrived in the States or worse still, prosecute him for travelling without a visa.
We were unable to confirm whether there was any link between the ESTA and the visa process but we felt that it was entirely possible that this could be the case. From the information provided, we didn’t believe that his offences were crimes involving moral turpitude and it was therefore more than likely that he would be granted a visa if he attended an interview at the Embassy. If he was refused, there was an appeals process that he would be able to go through.
We provided Ray with some further information on what he should cover at the interview to improve his chances of success.
We followed up with Ray several months later who told us that he’d taken our advice and attended the interview at the Embassy. He’d explained to the Consular Officer that he didn’t believe his offences were crimes of moral turpitude but he thought it was important to be upfront and honest and wanted to go through the visa process to be sure that he was doing the right thing.
After consideration, Ray was granted a 10-year visa.
There is a lot of misleading information online about travelling abroad, especially to the US and unfortunately, the US Embassy don’t provide a definitive guide to who is likely to get a visa.
Ray’s case highlights how being upfront and honest and going through the visa process has paid off and has resulted in him being immediately granted a ten year visa.
- Practical information: Travelling to the US
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s Helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.