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Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

Canada
6 posts
Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

I plan on visiting the United Kingdom (West Midlands only) in February 2009 and I need to know if I will be permitted entry or denied entry due to my criminal record in Canada. My record is for minor charges between 1988 and 1995 and I have never been incarcerated for more than 45 days. I contacted the British High Commission in Ottawa Canada with my question and the switchboard immediately referred me to a website that would answer my question. The website is:

http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/ecg/chapter...

I was directed to click the Entry Clearnace Guidance link on the bottom left and then read Chapter 26.12 (Refusal on grounds of criminal conviction)

26.12 states:

Refusal on grounds of criminal conviction [Updated 11 August 2008]

Paragraph 320(18) of the Rules states that an application should normally be refused if that person has been convicted of an offence in any country, which would be punishable with imprisonment for a term of 12 months or more if the offence had occurred in the UK,. ECOs should not refuse under 320(18) if the conviction is considered “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (see Annex 26.3). Paragraph 320(18) will not apply where an applicant has been cautioned.

It clearly states that an APPLICANT with spent convictions should not be refused (VISA) however I do need need a visa as I am a Canadian citizen (Non-visa national), and I only plan to visit for 12 days (not over the 6 months allowed to visit).

Chapter 320.18 of the UK Immigration Rules states:

http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/policya...

(18) save where the Immigration Officer is satisfied that admission would be justified for strong compassionate reasons, conviction in any country including the United Kingdom of an offence which, if committed in the United Kingdom, is punishable with imprisonment for a term of 12 months or any greater punishment or, if committed outside the United Kingdom, would be so punishable if the conduct constituting the offence had occurred in the United Kingdom;

This paragraph says nothing about not being refused entry due to a conviction/s being spent

According to the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act guidelines my convictions are considered spent in the UK.

I am very confused about this and I am getting absolutely no help from anyone. I have called the UK Border agency and they referred me to a 1-900 number/$3.50 a min visa inquiry department (I dont need a Visa), I have recontacted the UK High Commission in Ottawa and they have no idea what to tell me.

I have alot of $$ riding on this trip and I need answers as soon as possible.

Can anyone give me some answers?

Best regards!

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
3,412 posts
12 reviews
1. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

I believe normal practise at this end for folks with a record is an interview with the British Embassy. It's an old record but a record nonetheless, I think the nature of the crime(s) would have some bearing. Quite incredible that the High Commission in Ottawa have no idea what to tell you.....maybe you should consider phoning through to the British Embassy in London?

Canada
6 posts
2. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

Ive called the British High Commission as well as the UK Border Agency. Everyone is telling me that they are stumped and perhaps I should contact the Visa people and ask them. What people are not understanding is that I do not require a Visa. I am a Non-Visa National, Canadian citien and I am only visiting the UK. I have no intentions of staying more than 12 days nor do I wish to work or study. It bafffles me that the UK Border Agency cannot answer my question yet it is the UK Border Agencies guidelines that have me confused. Im thinking that I should simply take a shot in the dark, make the flight and hope for the best. If im declined entry at least ill be able to get 1-2 pictures of the airport...providing im not detained in a cell waiting to be deported haha

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
3,412 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

Yes I'm aware you don't need a visa - I just meant ringing them for clarification purposes. Quite bizarre that nobody knows anything, I thought that was part of their job ;) Well, you've done your best haven't you? Take along a copy of your phone bill as proof of that. I don't think you'd be looking at deportation, an interview with the Customs people perhaps......though I really just guessing.

Cotswolds
Level Contributor
11,394 posts
4. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

If you are arriving as a tourist they won't know about your criminal record and they won't ask. They aren't interested. This isn't the US you know.

It's only if you need a visa that it is at all relevant.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
97,617 posts
17 reviews
5. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

I would agree with dzug1. As an Australian citizen, I also do not require a visa for tourist visits to UK.

In four entries to UK in past 10 years, I have never been asked about convictions. It's not an issue if you are just visiting.

Canada
6 posts
6. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

Perhaps then I am making much more of this than I shuld be. I was denied entry into the USA just a week ago and went through hell at the border with a very ignorant and overbearing Entry Officer and my emotions are still running high because of the ordeal. From what ive heard a fine for spitting on the side walk could potentially be reason for a denial into the US though.

Thanks for your responses everyone :)

Canada
6 posts
7. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

bump

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,474 posts
1,111 reviews
8. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

>>From what ive heard a fine for spitting on the side walk could potentially be reason for a denial into the US though.<<

Whoa! With that attitude I don't doubt you had a poor experience with whom you claim was "very ignorant and overbearing Entry Officer".

Why were you denied entry into the US?

Do you not have a valid Canadian passport?

I tend to agree with the two previous posters that as long as your passport is in order, who at the UK entry point will know about your criminal past?

Yorkshire
Level Contributor
346 posts
28 reviews
9. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

On entry to the Uk there are NO checks made by UKBA about your criminal past - they have very limited access to the UK databases concerning previous convictions of UK subjects nevermind those from Canada. Your pasport will be checked to see if it is in date, not stolen and that you have had no previous problems with UKBA (Immigration). If you have never been to the UK before there is no likely hood that you wil be recorded on any UK database. There are police officers at all airports but they are looking for other types of travellers.

Canada
6 posts
10. Re: Visiting The UK With Old Criminal Record

I was denied entry in the US due to a criminal record from the 1990's. Canadians do not need a passport to enter the US via roadway until 2009. A passport is only needed if we are flying in. The officer was overbearing and ignorant because he was trying to push me to the limit by making accusations such as "lets check your criminal record to see if you have any sexual offenses in your past. Thats a really cute picture of your little boy on your cell phone. Have any sexual offenses we should know about?"

The guy was a complete jerk