Getting a visa to travel to the USA

Due to a conviction for assault a couple of years back, im now in the position to need a visa to travel to the States. Wondering if anyone else has needed to go down this route and how much hassle it was.

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Due to a conviction for assault a couple of years back, im now in the position to need a visa to travel to the States. Wondering if anyone else has needed to go down this route and how much hassle it was.

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What kind of visa?
 
Im led to believe a visa is required due to criminal record.

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Mac?

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The_Snail

ADC
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Arte_et_Marte

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Due to a conviction for assault a couple of years back, im now in the position to need a visa to travel to the States. Wondering if anyone else has needed to go down this route and how much hassle it was.

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Go to this site

http://london.usembassy.gov/dhs/esta_info.html

Use the 'ESTA' link for eligibility to travel. If you get red flagged you will then have to apply for a visa.

All the information you need is there.

A friend of mine was convicted of assault 3 years ago (not serious, but it still left him with a criminal record) and he had no problems at all in getting into the US on the Visa Waiver programme.

I have another mate who works for a visa/consular service in Slough. He has told me that some people are denied for ridiculous reasons and others fly through the system. It's not as cut and dried as they would like you to believe.

Edit to add: Damn. One fingered typing let me down again.
 

The_Snail

ADC
RIP
You got one on the day? Amazing. Well done the clerks on the ESTA desk!
It was about 0601hrs on the morning of travel. They weren't too busy!
 

cockwomble

Old-Salt
Esta normally comes through within a couple of hours, often within a few minutes, but you would be foolish to rely on it.
 
Holiday. I've been meaning to catch up with mates I worked with in Iraq.

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When you click yes on the ESTA question about ever having being arrested or convicted you will denied and told to apply for a B2 travel visa.
Someone more unscrupulous might say to click no for that question, there's no way the US can access your criminal record just for the fun of it. It's something you would have to decide, I know quite a few people who have just lied on that question and gone on holibobs. But if you are caught out somehow then you might be facing a lifetime ban from the US for misrepresentation.
Or if you ever consider moving or working over there you would probably get flagged up for that lie during the background checks and get refused.
If you want to do it the legal way then you go to the US embassy website and fill out form DS160 for a B2 visa, pay the visa fee (about £100) and schedule an appointment at the embassy.
Realistically as long as you've led a blameless life since your naughtiness then you shouldn't have any problems getting it.
The one obstacle everyone faces is known as section 214b of the immigration act. Basically US law presumes that EVERYONE applying for a visitors visa is planning to illegally immigrate so by default every visa is automatically denied unless you can prove to the consular officer that you have more reason to return home than to stay, guilty until proven innocent in other words.
That's the problem that's had me refused a visa 3 times so far.
Quite arrogant of the Yanks in my opinion, having a system that automatically assumes that everyone in the world wants to live there.
If your interview goes well then you'll get your passport back in about a week with the visa attached. Best case scenario would be a 10 year multiple entry B2, worst case could be a 1 year single entry good for only 1 trip.

Enjoy, and prepare to spend a lot of time in the embassy waiting room staring at a telly showing how ace the US is.
 
Honesty is the best way. Due to me having no idea where I might be working in future.

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wheel

LE
I will be traveling to Bolivia and Peru with flight connection in Miami. Do I have to apply through this ESTA ?. There is mention of it in pack that I have but it is not very clear.
 
I'll have a look on a US immigration forum I read occasionally but I think a recent change in policy says you need a valid ESTA approval even for a connecting flight.
I've seen it said on there a few times that they even demand ESTA/visas for flying through US airspace without even landing there. Just in case your flight has to make an unplanned landing.

The septics paranoia about foreigners is astounding sometimes!
 

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