Travel to US - Visa waiver programme

Discussion in 'Travel' started by rockape623, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. I`m going to Florida with the kids in a few weeks and was looking through some documents when I came across this waiver programme.
    Apparently if you have ever been arrested, never mind convicted, you have to go to the US embassy and apply for a visa for entry into the US.
    I was wondering just how the US Immigration people enforce this ruling. Do they have access to the Police computer in this country, which surely contravines the Data Protection Act, or is everyone`s criminal,proven or not, activities reported to the US authorities. Does the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act not apply here?
    It seems the Yanks, as usual, want everything their way.
    Have any Arrse members had problems getting into the US or had visas refused?
  2. Don't kid yourself that the Data Protection Act prevents the government from doing anything it likes with your details. Particularly if they can cite *security* as the reason.
  3. A guy I work with had to do the same for his trip to Hawaii, they are very strict about it
  4. Yeah, I appreciate that they are strict, but wondered from where they got their information.
  5. I dont know where thay get the information from but do you want to get to usa and get turned away.i have the same problem go to the embassy and que up get there early.the rehabilation of offenders doesnt count with usa.
  6. mate - I've got pulled by the old bill a couple of times for ummm, youthful indiscretions (20years ago). I fly in and out of the US all the time and have never been asked anything or prevented from entry. I think it is something to do with the serious of the case (e.g. a felony) but I might be wrong.

    Good luck
  7. engr172

    engr172 Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    Have to say, my youth was slightly colourful, and I have had no trouble getting access to the states. I suppose it could happen though
  8. Thanks for these guys. The stupid thing about this is, up untill December last year, I have been working for the US Government on the private security circuit, looking after a Major General fron their Corps of Engineers.
    When I got my DoD badge, I mentioned my minor indiscretions to the clerk doing the background checks on me. He said, if I got the badge, I wouldn`t need a passport to get into the US, this badge would be enough. It`s a powerful document he says.
    It`s my fault, should`ve checked earlier and remembered the age old advice,`Never believe anything anyone in uniform tells you.`
  9. Would this include arrested but not being charged with an offence, as opposed to not convicted?

    I'm a bit confused because saying that the Rehabilitation of Offenders does not apply in the US, surely that implies you at least have to be guilty of something to be rehabilitated or have actually offended?

    Confused =|
  10. Spanish_Dave

    Spanish_Dave LE Good Egg (charities)

    I had minor issues when younger and I have been in and out of the USA including Hawaai with no problems at all
  11. Colourful past , and have had no problems going to states, never been stopped or questioned , going dack to Florida in May.
  12. Excellent, great news. Thanks guys, you`ve set my mind at rest.
    Watch this space.
  13. I have been to USA many times, they don't have any access to our computers and files, the silliest tick box on the form is
    "Have you ever or is now involved in a Terrorist or subversive organsiation, Yes ( ) NO( ) "
    WTF , who is going to say "Yes" ?

    The immigration staff are looking mainly for "Mr International Terrorist" and Illegals, not small fries, all questions by them follows the same format

    whats your name ?
    where were you born, ?
    whats your job ?
    why are you here ?
    where are you going ?
    sometimes going back to the original question again once or twice.

    they are not really interested in your answers, they are looking for any hesitation in answering or getting it wrong that would get their attention, I get it all the time when I crossed from USA to Canada and back I must have crossed at least 7 times and Airports 10 times, same thing. same questions.

    you have nothing to worry about.
  14. Thanks for taking the time to reply,bud. As I said earlier, I would have been extremely hacked off after forking out a considerable sum of cash for the trip but I do also hold my hands up and admit that I should have checked before booking.

    Thanks again to all who have bothered to reply and put my mind at rest.
  15. Rockape,

    Here are links to government sites with information about the VWP. The first one outlines the main details:

    Visa Waiver Program

    And it links to this page, which has the classifications of criminal conviction that make a traveler ineligible for a visa:

    Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas

    From the second site, if anyone's interested, it basically says:

    I think it would be safe to assume that the restrictions on the second page also apply to the VWP, although it doesn't say so in so many words. A quick call to the American Embassy in London would probably sort it out. But youthful indiscretions seem to be OK as long as that's what they were. (No idea how they'd know if you were lying, though.)

    There's more, but I'm going to be charitable and assume most ARRSE members are not drug traffickers, prostitutes or terrorists. :D