- Who is Eligible
- Criminal Records & Ineligibilties
- Transit under the Visa Waiver Program
We do not recommend that travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, have a criminal record, certain serious communicable illness, have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program, attempt to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to US visa law and spent convictions,regardless of when they occurred will have a bearing on a traveler’s eligibility for admission into the United States.
If you have a minor traffic offense which did not result in an arrest and/or conviction you may travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, provided you are otherwise qualified. If you are not sure whether or not you are eligible to travel visa free, the only way to resolve this question is to apply for a visa.
If the traffic offense occurred in the United States, and there is an outstanding fine against you, or you did not attend your court hearing, it is possible there may be a warrant out for your arrest, and you will experience problems when applying for admission into the United States. Therefore, you should resolve the issue before traveling by contacting the court where you were to appear. If you do not know the address of the court, the information is available from the Internet at www.uscourts.gov/links.html .
Can you advise me if my arrest, caution, conviction will prevent me from traveling visa free and registering under ESTA?
We cannot advise whether a traveler’s specific situation will have a bearing on their eligibility to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. Our advice is that if you have ever been arrested, cautioned or convicted you apply for a visa.
I applied for ESTA and my registration has been denied. What do I do?
If you have answered yes to any of the eligibility questions and your registration has been denied, you are required to apply for a visa. If you believe you answered a question incorrectly and as a result your application was denied, you should contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.