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Effect of youth reprimand on visa to America watch

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    Hello

    Just hoping someone can answer this query regarding the US visa waiver programme.

    Basically I was arrested age 14 (I'm now 24) for shoplifting, a silly dare of the kind I have never repeated, having never been in trouble with the law since. I was not convicted of anything, but given a youth reprimand which I was told would be wiped when I turned 18.

    I'm hoping to go to the states in late August, and because of the lack of any actual conviction assumed I would be eligible for the visa waiver scheme, but find now that they ask if you have ever been arrested whether or not it led to anything in court, and if so you have to apply for an actual visa which probably can't happen in time for the trip to America (which is of really quite life-changing importance, for reasons I needn't go into).

    My question is basically whether or not I can get away with omitting any mention of this incident on the questionnaire. Theoretically I should have no criminal record as of my 18th year, but I don't know whether in practice they will be able to find any record of the arrest or reprimand when they run a criminal background check, which they will do - there may be a distinction between the wording in records for someone who has a 'spent' offence and someone who has never had any involvment with the police at all, for example. If I am found to be leaving any information out, I will probably be barred from America for life, which is an unimaginably horrible prospect for me, as I find it a fascinating place more akin to a planet than a country.

    So, any information on this matter, however anecdotal, would be very, very gratefully received, and I can rep you if you want.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Edit: Also, if anyone knows whether this incident would jeopardise my chances of getting an actual visa I'd like to hear their views. Thankyou.
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    You're fine.
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    (Original post by Oven)
    You're fine.
    Thanks for responding, but do you mean I should say no to the question about arrest on the visa waiver, or just admit it and hope for a regular visa? Because even the UK police won't give me a straight answer as to whether those records are accessible, and I'm wracking my brains for ways they could find out
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    (Original post by Snore)
    Thanks for responding, but do you mean I should say no to the question about arrest on the visa waiver, or just admit it and hope for a regular visa? Because even the UK police won't give me a straight answer as to whether those records are accessible, and I'm wracking my brains for ways they could find out
    don't even mention it.
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    I wouldn't mention it either. You've had no conviction, so it won't be on your criminal record. They'll just use it as an excuse to not grant your application.
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    It should'nt appear on your criminal record so I would say you're fine.
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    (Original post by 123450)
    I wouldn't mention it either. You've had no conviction, so it won't be on your criminal record. They'll just use it as an excuse to not grant your application.
    That's the thing; it's not clear whether reprimands appear on criminal record checks, and the various agencies you'd think would be able to clarify either don't know or refuse to discuss it over the phone, requiring requests in writing which takes far too long to be of use. So you think a minor crime aged 14 would result in a visa refusal?
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    It's been well over seven years, which means it would be considered as "spent" and not show up on any searches. You'll be fine
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    (Original post by elfen)
    It's been well over seven years, which means it would be considered as "spent" and not show up on any searches. You'll be fine
    Apparently spent offences return a result of 'no live trace', whereas a lack of any arrest ever returns a result of 'no trace', but this can differ depending on your case.. which of course they wouldn't discuss with me. I just wish I could find out exactly what the US embassy's procedures and information privileges are for checking people's criminal backgrounds. Thanks for your response though - does it come from personal experience, may I ask?
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    Were you arrested?
    Were you charged?
    Or were you just given a reprimand?

    If you weren't charged/had fingerprints taken/went to court/formally issued with a caution, then it is probably off the records by now.
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    You are NOT eligible for the VWP. If you have EVER been arrested, for anything other than a minor traffic offence, you aren't eligible, even if the arrest didn't lead to a conviction.

    Most of the above people are right that nothing would probably happen as it simply wouldn't be on their records. BUT the consequences of lying are severe - being sent back home and being barred from the US.

    Apply for a visa before you go.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    You are NOT eligible for the VWP. If you have EVER been arrested, for anything other than a minor traffic offence, you aren't eligible, even if the arrest didn't lead to a conviction.

    Most of the above people are right that nothing would probably happen as it simply wouldn't be on their records. BUT the consequences of lying are severe - being sent back home and being barred from the US.

    Apply for a visa before you go.
    But what do you think are the chances of being granted a visa if I do apply? Surely stealing comes under 'moral turpitude', so mightn't they just say no out of hand and bar me forever if I do go for an appointment?
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    (Original post by Snore)
    But what do you think are the chances of being granted a visa if I do apply? Surely stealing comes under 'moral turpitude', so mightn't they just say no out of hand and bar me forever if I do go for an appointment?
    I don't know to be honest. I would doubt that a youth reprimand when you were 14 barred you from getting a visa.

    I'd advise you to speak to the US Embassy in London - they will know what the deal is
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    From anecdotal evidence I am VERY sure you would be granted a visa if you applied - I have heard of people who had minor charges that got a J1 or whatever the 'cultural exchange' visa is called. Why not phone the embassy and ask if you are eligible for the visa waiver? The phone call costs a bomb but it's worth it if you don't have to travel to get a visa.
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    (Original post by hollo)
    From anecdotal evidence I am VERY sure you would be granted a visa if you applied - I have heard of people who had minor charges that got a J1 or whatever the 'cultural exchange' visa is called. Why not phone the embassy and ask if you are eligible for the visa waiver? The phone call costs a bomb but it's worth it if you don't have to travel to get a visa.
    May I ask the circumstances of your experience? I know I'm not eligible for the waiver on account of the arrest, but I'm unable to get a clear picture about whether shoplifting is the sort of thing that would keep me out should I admit to it and apply for a visa. The people on the embassy helpline refuse point plank to speculate on whether a shoplifting arrest/admission as a minor would be likely to preclude me from admission, or to relate to me any past results of similar scenarios - they tell me to just make an appointment, which is expensive, slow (considering going to consulate in Belfast to get an earlier appointment) and may end in failure. I'd be very glad to hear any stories you have on this kind of thing.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    You are NOT eligible for the VWP. If you have EVER been arrested, for anything other than a minor traffic offence, you aren't eligible, even if the arrest didn't lead to a conviction.

    Most of the above people are right that nothing would probably happen as it simply wouldn't be on their records. BUT the consequences of lying are severe - being sent back home and being barred from the US.

    Apply for a visa before you go.
    Errr, no. You can be arrested as a mistake and released without charge. A police error obviously won't affect your visa.

    OP: you can call the embassy and ask anonymously I think. I dont remember giving my name when Ive ever had questions. I dont think its likely to be a problem, however.
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    (Original post by ice_cube)
    Errr, no. You can be arrested as a mistake and released without charge. A police error obviously won't affect your visa.

    OP: you can call the embassy and ask anonymously I think. I dont remember giving my name when Ive ever had questions. I dont think its likely to be a problem, however.
    I agree with the logic of that. But its not what the US Embassy website actually says - you mistake USCIS for an agency which gives a damn!!! :woo: There is no way to get around that by claiming the police acted wrongfully or something similar - you are still placed in a "high risk" category by USCIS, which means you need a visa - USCIS are simply unconcerned with individual rights.

    If I were you Op, I would just go. I'm sure there would be no problems if you used the VWP - though there is always a tiny risk.
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    (Original post by Snore)
    May I ask the circumstances of your experience? I know I'm not eligible for the waiver on account of the arrest, but I'm unable to get a clear picture about whether shoplifting is the sort of thing that would keep me out should I admit to it and apply for a visa. The people on the embassy helpline refuse point plank to speculate on whether a shoplifting arrest/admission as a minor would be likely to preclude me from admission, or to relate to me any past results of similar scenarios - they tell me to just make an appointment, which is expensive, slow (considering going to consulate in Belfast to get an earlier appointment) and may end in failure. I'd be very glad to hear any stories you have on this kind of thing.
    I'm sure it was on the Camp America forum, though it may have been somewhere similar. A guy said that he had a drunk and disorderly and still got in. I'll try to find a link... Personally I can't see it being a major problem as it was so long ago, spent, minor and not involving drugs or anything. Best of luck!
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    Ive been having the same dilemma with you.

    Ive been given a REPRIMAND for a minor assault in December last year for a little scrap with a friend. He started it but one came out black and blue, so his mother decided to call the police because she was scared I would do it again. The police only called my parents to inform them what happened and booked a date for me to go to the police station. The police that interviewed me said I wasnt arrested and only reprimanded due to the fact that the assualt only gave him a hairline fracture which is considered a more minor offense than theft (ironic). But on the visa waiver program form thing I dont no whether to put yes or no. Dilemma. Im leaving on the 23rd of august aswell. Dont no whta to do? I guess i can put no because I wasnt arrest or convicted at all logicaly but im scared the rep[rimand might red flag me when they eye scan and finger print scan me when i enter the border lol How its going for you anyways atm?
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    VWP all the way.
 
 
 
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