Visa Waiver Program - Criminal record
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Jan 13, 2012 9:11 AM Last Post By: nutraxfornerves
Jan 13, 2012 1:58 AM
Visa Waiver Program - Criminal recordHi all,
I am travelling with a family member to Hawaii for 11 days, departing in less than a month. We are both Australian citizens and therefore qualify for the Visa Waiver Program.
My family member was convicted of shoplifting 25 years ago in Australia. It appears to no longer be on her record, though, as she has had to obtain police certificate checks several times in the past 10 years due to her working with children.
Normally, I would err on the side of caution by encouraging her to apply for a visa before we leave for Hawaii; however, at the time of her conviction she was not an Australian citizen, only a permanent resident. She has been an Australian citizen since 2004.
Would any of you have an idea of whether she would have any issues gaining entry to the U.S. upon arrival after applying for the Visa Waiver Program?
Any insights or knowledge would be most appreciated.
Jan 13, 2012 4:19 AM
Anyone who has been arrested is ineligible. Rehabilitiations, etc. don't matter.
From the embassy in London (because the Canberra embassy is too wishy-washy about it):
She needs a visa.
Jan 13, 2012 8:07 AM
2She should have no problem GETTING a visa though - the crime is long enough ago for a waiver of ineligibility to be virtually automatic I would have thought
The London Embassy are not quite right though - the arrest, etc, has to be for a crime involving moral turpitude (and a few others) - not ANY crime. Shop lifting is moral turpitude, though, so not a legal get out in this case. The illegal get out is to lie - with a very high chance of getting way with it, but still not recommended.
Jan 13, 2012 9:11 AM
3The US State Dept. says:
Nationals of VWP countries must meet the guidelines listed in the section above in order to seek admission to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers who do not meet these guidelines must apply for a visa.
A visa must be requested if the traveler:
[other stuff omitted]
Has a criminal record or other condition making them ineligible for a visa (see Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas).
Customs and Border Protection says this about ESTA denials
Unfortunately, "Theft (when it involves the intention of permanent taking)" is CIMT because it involves property. In the case of an ancient shoplifting arrest and a clean life thereafter, a consular official would probably make the judgement call that the person is eligible for a visa. If the person answers "yes" on the ESTA form, approval will probably be denied. There is no place on the ESTA application to enter informaitn about the arrest.
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