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Roger and Angela

I 94 / DS-156 question

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This question referances the I 94 form you fill out on the palne when you go into America, there are a series of questions which are also on the DS 156 form we fill out in packet 3.

They are regaurding ones criminal history and ask have you ever been arrested, and in the same sentence been involved with prostitution or the procuring of prostitues. etc.,

I have been to America 10 times, most of those before I met my fiance. and I never checked yes to this question even though I had been arrested, mostly because it happened over 14 years ago and I did not even think about it.

Anyways, now I am admitting a criminal record because it will obvioulsy show up on the scotland yard reports and I have thought more about it since I decided to move to America.

The point is will they ask me at the interview why all those times I went on holiday I did not tick yes to that question, what should I say?

Thanks

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This question referances the I 94 form you fill out on the palne when you go into America, there are a series of questions which are also on the DS 156 form we fill out in packet 3.

They are regaurding ones criminal history and ask have you ever been arrested, and in the same sentence been involved with prostitution or the procuring of prostitues. etc.,

I have been to America 10 times, most of those before I met my fiance. and I never checked yes to this question even though I had been arrested, mostly because it happened over 14 years ago and I did not even think about it.

Anyways, now I am admitting a criminal record because it will obvioulsy show up on the scotland yard reports and I have thought more about it since I decided to move to America.

The point is will they ask me at the interview why all those times I went on holiday I did not tick yes to that question, what should I say?

Thanks

Roger and Angela,

In a word............ no they won't! I assume that you are applying for a K1 fiance visa? I, and I'm sure many others, did exactly the same thing everytime I entered the US on a VWP.

More than likely what will happen (depending on what the convictions were, when they were committed, and how many), you will attend an interview at your consulate and they will either accept your visa, or you will be able to file a waiver.......

I even applied for a B2 visa before my K1, said that I didn't have previous convictions, went to London and they gave me it!

so really there is no need to worry about this point

:thumbs:

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This question referances the I 94 form you fill out on the palne when you go into America, there are a series of questions which are also on the DS 156 form we fill out in packet 3.

They are regaurding ones criminal history and ask have you ever been arrested, and in the same sentence been involved with prostitution or the procuring of prostitues. etc.,

I have been to America 10 times, most of those before I met my fiance. and I never checked yes to this question even though I had been arrested, mostly because it happened over 14 years ago and I did not even think about it.

Anyways, now I am admitting a criminal record because it will obvioulsy show up on the scotland yard reports and I have thought more about it since I decided to move to America.

The point is will they ask me at the interview why all those times I went on holiday I did not tick yes to that question, what should I say?

Thanks

Roger and Angela,

In a word............ no they won't! I assume that you are applying for a K1 fiance visa? I, and I'm sure many others, did exactly the same thing everytime I entered the US on a VWP.

More than likely what will happen (depending on what the convictions were, when they were committed, and how many), you will attend an interview at your consulate and they will either accept your visa, or you will be able to file a waiver.......

I even applied for a B2 visa before my K1, said that I didn't have previous convictions, went to London and they gave me it!

so really there is no need to worry about this point

:thumbs:

Actually we were specifically asked about that at our interview (Tom had traveled to the usa three times) and although Tom explained that he had thought it was a spent crime under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and therefore it was not necessary to disclose, they quite sternly said that the USA does not recognize Britain's Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. At the time of the arrest, when Tom was all upset being wrongly accused, the police said don't worry it's "nothing." At the time of the court date, when the court lawyer insisted Tom plead guilty, he too said it would be nothing more than a "slap on the wrist"... a small fine (he paid £100).. .nothing to worry about. He was told that if he pled not guilty he would probably have to go to trial and might be more severely punished. In retrospect now of course he wishes he had never agreed to that, as now it has become a life sentence for both of us in the respect that we can never live in the usa or even visit there together now. But because it was treated so lightly at the time, he honestly never thought he should be required to tick yes on that airplane form. The way that question reads on the form one would assume they are talking about very serious crimes and he certainly did not think that applied to him.

I had replied to the original posters question in pm (I am still sensitive to the fact that officials are said to read this site) and was asked what our circumstances were. I might as well answer that here now that I am posting.

Tom's "crime" was to be in car in which the car owner had a small amount of weed in his personal effects. I have written about this in detail a few times... I should have something that I can just copy and paste. I will try to summarize but its so complex.

Nine years ago Tom and a friend were on their way to Ireland for a funeral and then a holiday. They were going to take the car on the ferry at Swansea. While waiting in a queue for the ferry they were sniffed out by a dog. Tom did not know his friend had a personal supply of weed on him. To this day he cannot figure out what the guy was thinking and because of this incident they are no longer friends. At first they only arrested the car owner. One customs official had searched Tom and his bags and found nothing and were letting him go when suddenly the second official came over and asked Tom where he had been sitting. When Tom told him the guy said they were arresting him as well. Apparently a bit of the stuff had fallen out of the other guys bag on to the floor of the car... on the side where Tom was sitting. It may have been knocked out by the dog that had been in the car or the car owner himself might have done it when he was getting taking his water bottle in and out of his bag all day (which had been on the floor between their seats).

They were taken to a police station, not in Swansea... Tom remembers a fairly long drive to some tiny place.. he doesn't know where exactly although I imagine the paperwork we have could identify the place. They were not jailed. As I said, Tom was upset and the police said not to worry, that it was "nothing." They were fingerprinted then driven back to Swansea where they got a hotel because they had missed the ferry. The next day they took the ferry to Ireland as originally planned.

A month later they had a court date back in Swansea. Tom went planning to plead innocent as he knew he was. When he got there, because he did not have a lawyer (he didn't know he needed one.. he had neveer had any dealings with police before in his life), they forced him to see the court lawyer. The court lawyer advised him to plead guilty. He told him that if he pled innocent and was not believed (and he had no proof he was innocent) that he might receive a harsh punishment. He was told that it would go to a higher court (this was the magistrates court) and that they would be annoyed with him for "wasting the courts time" and might give him a severe punishment. The lawyer said if he were to just plead guilty that day he would receive a small fine, a "slap on the wrist" and be done with it. He said it would be treated as personal possession and that it was such a small amount of cannibus that it was a trivial matter (more on that later).

So.. Tom went into the courtroom feeling a bit in shock.. having not expected to be pleading guilty. The judge asked guilty or innocent and he said guilty. The judge asked "personal" or "intent" and he said personal. Paid the £100 fine and went home feeling very upset about being intimidated into pleading guilty to something he didn't do. He had never been in a court before.

Flash forward a few years to the time we started the K1 process. We read a few things on the internet that caused us to begin to worry about that incident. We discovered that the breaking of ANY drug law makes one ineligible to enter the USA. We researched it and found that there is a waiver available for simple possession under 30 grams if its a one time offence. We were not happy at the idea of a waiver process adding more months to our wait. We were already in shock finding out that the process is long in any case. We naively thought we could just be together... that all we had to do was fill out some paper and file it and then just be together as soon as Tom could give notice at work. To this day most of the people I talk to in the states assume this is the case. In fact some said we should just get married and he would be able to stay. Anyway I was pretty certain we would have to file a waiver and I was worried about the hardship letter. I didn't think I had strong enough hardships.. it seemed that having minor children in the states was the only really good hardship. Tom believed we wouldnt have to file a waiver.. that when they heard the story they would see how "trivial" it was and would just give him the visa. We didn't even know if it would show up on his police report being that it was a spent crime.

Imagine his shock when the police report arrived and not only was the charge on it... it was listed as Drug Offence - Attempted Exporting!!!!! This arrived on his birthday in August 2005. We were in total shock but then I was certain the court reports would clear it up. He had been asked in court if it was personal.. and the court lawyer said it would be treated as personal. Now we understand why he said "treated as." Technically because it happened at customs it was seen as exporting! You could cross a border with one joint and you would be "exporting." What a nightmare. Last autumn is now a blur... dealing with this issue and the death of my beloved dog made for a very traumatic time.

When the court report came it also just said "exporting." Even worse, there was no amount listed... It just said "an amount." Tom wrote to the court asking for further clarification... surely there would be a court transcript of what was said in court... a record of the fact that he had pled guilty to personal possesion. We also hoped there would be a record of the amount. The fact that it was only a £100 fine should have indicated that the amount was small but we needed official documentation of that. The court wrote back that they had no further records. Nothing. No record of the amount. No record of what was said in court.

Tom went to a lawyer and was told that we should withdraw our application for the K1.. that we should not attend the interview. He was told that if we were denied at the interview (and that we would be and that we would not be given the opportunity to file a waiver) he would never be able to travel to the states ever again because this visa denial would be on his record. He said that if we withdrew, that eventually he might be able to at least get a travel visa.

We considered all this and agreed that we needed closure. We needed to go to the interview and have them deny us to our face. Also, a tiny part of us still believed we might be able to file a waiver.. that surely they would see how unfair this was. They grant waivers to people who commit assault, burglarly etc. They would refuse someone who had a little bit of weed? Never mind that it wasn't his. If it had been, who exactly would that have hurt? Anyway, we didn't want to always wonder "what if?" so we decided to follow through to the end no matter where that led.

So, in November 2005 I arrived in the Uk in hopes that we would have an interview date soon. I planned to stay 12 weeks. The plan was we would go to the interview, get denied, and then find a place for us to live together in the UK (Tom was in a two room flat in Brixton at this time) and then I would go back to the states to sell my house and get rid of as many belongings as I could. A couple of days after I arrived we were given an interview date (I had emailed them a few days earlier and said I was going to be there and hoped that we would have a date).

When we went to the interview they were very nice to us and they really liked Tom and they understood the situation. They wanted to offer us the waiver but they needed first to clear it with supervisors. So we waited an extra couple of hours and then were called back to the window where the guy said they could see it was not exporting and that it would be treated as personal possession and we could file the waiver application. They felt we had an excellent chance of being approved. At that time the London waivers were taking 6- 8 weeks so we expected a decision before I would be leaving the UK. Shortly after this the waiver times increased dramatically and we ended up waiting 13 weeks. I had to extend my stay because I was not going back to the states without knowing if I was meant to prepare for Tom to join me there or if I was meant to sell my house and arrange to move to the UK. Also, if I was to move to the Uk we would want to find a big enough place to live before my departure so I would have a home to return to in the UK.

All during February 2006 we waited each morning for the phone to ring .. waiting for the call to tell us we were approved (they were telephoning the approvals at that time). Finally on March 3rd, we received a letter... we were denied :( We were denied on the basis that the charge was unwaiverable... because the charge was exporting instead of personal possession. Our hardship letters were not even considered. They said Tom was a threat to the safety, security and well being of the USA :( Somehow they lost track of the fact that it was supposed to be handled as personal possesssion. In that case we should not have been allowed to even file the waiver. The whole point of letting us file the waiver application was that the charge would be treated as personal possession.

There were instructions for filing an appeal but it had to be done quickly and we would have to have something addition to give them. We decided it was pointless. Also, we had read that appeals can take years and we had already had enough time stolen from us. We are not young.. we won't have 50 years together.

We were numb and devastated but somehow we managed to find a house to rent and we moved into it at the end of March. In mid May I returned to the states and began a very difficult process. I had to liquidate my belongings and sell the home I had lived in for 30 years. There was an incredible amount of sorting to be done. Packrats had lived there.. for too long...

At this point most of that time is a blur in my mind. It was exhausting, stressful and traumatic. Somehow I managed to sell the house and alot of the contents. Alot got left to the new owners as I ran out of time to sell and sort things. I arrived in the UK on Sept 2nd with a fiance visa for settling in the UK. Gradually I am coming to terms with the fact that we will not be part of my grandkids lives, that we will never again go to the places that we enjoyed together there, that we will never have a house the size of the one we had there (and it was morgage free). It's going to take time. It's going to be more of an adjustment for me than I anticipated. (Tom says he knew it would be). I was very happy here all last winter and I hated to leave in May but the goodbyes I had to say there three weeks ago were heartwrenching. Tom is working very long hours at the moment because they are shorthanded at work. I am very lonely because I don't have any friends here yet and I have been told it is very difficult here to find friends later in life. Because it is so expensive to live in London we couldnt rent a house in Brixton where Tom had lived for 20 years. We rented a three bedroom house in Gravesend in Kent county for not much more than he was paying for a tiny two room flat in Brixton. This means though that he is new to the area as well.. so we really don't have a social network. I am used to having friends to do things with and I am used to seeing my kids and grandkids. So, while I am very happy to be back with Tom (that feels so right and we will be married on October 9th) I still grieve for the life we wanted to share in the USA. The whole reason we planned it that way to begin with was because Tom felt that would be best for me as I had kids there (and at the time I also had pets.)

I honestly feel that my government has let me down.. that they didn't care about me and that the laws that are in place that could cause us to be in this situation are ridiculous. They have protected the USA from nothing.

mary

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