Traveling in the UK with a Criminal History

With the pending “Royal Birth” craze there has been an increase in travel to England. A guest blog post today in which the author gives useful tips on how to travel in Europe if you have a criminal record.

How Countries Ascertain Past Crimes and Offenses

While it is obvious that no country welcomes criminals or those with criminal records. It is also important to note that the amount of criminal history and the passage of time that took place since the crime was committed are some considerations that each country takes note in determining whether to allow a tourist to visit.

Every country has unique legislative provisions that govern both travel and immigration, and the question is, how does one learn each country’s requirements? Many countries have had information related to the above in the following:

-The embassies, High Commissions and consulates.

-Various relevant immigration agencies’ websites
-The given relevant laws regarding immigration.

Factors Considered in Determining Past Criminal Convictions

There are a number of issues considered in a determination of the travel status for those with a criminal history. These factors vary depending on the country where one with such record intends to visit. The following are the general considerations:

1. Nature of the crime.

It has to be determined whether the crime was a crime of violence or a repeated criminal conviction. In most cases, those convicted of a violent crime or multiple crimes of a similar nature (such as petit theft, battery or drug charges) won’t be allowed to travel or visit England. In fairness, their own countries often won’t allow these criminals to travel to other countries. This is because in many European countries they are considered dangerous individuals who must be closely monitored by the criminal departments (such as probation).

2. Period of conviction.

It has to be determined how old the conviction is. The United Kingdom and some of her colonies has what is called “Spent” convictions. In England, a conviction is considered spent if it is more than 10 years since one was imprisoned, as the person is considered rehabilitated.

3. This prison times must have been within a period of 6 to 30 months (or less) to be considered as “spent”. However any conviction where the Defendant was sentenced to more than 30 months incarceration cannot ever be considered spent and would always count against the individual trying to visit England.

4. England tends not to be concerned about petty offenses (such as resisting arrest without violence or a driving while license is suspended charge). This is because there government believes minor offenses are normally corrected through a rehabilitation processes.

5. Where the crime had been committed. Criminal offenses which were committed in destination countries counts more than those committed in the outside country.

Issues to Consider Before Travelling with a Criminal History.

To avoid rejection of your travel application to the UK, it is important that the following information is followed:

1. Secure an interview with the British consulate to determine their view of the nature of the criminal charges and subsequent conviction.

2. Follow all provided UK travel policies to the letter (including the establishment of “spent” convictions) according to the UK provisions.

3. Establish your UK visa status, whether one is a visa or a non-visa national. There are different requirements for these two categories of travelers, but other factors must be also looked as a whole and not in isolation.

4. It is important ascertain the nature of the travel and subsequent requirements. This can be established from agencies like the UKBA which is responsible for visas, work permits, asylum requests, UK citizenship, among other things. It is advisable to use the ukba phone number or general email addresses for contact in case there is a specific questionthat needs an urgent response. regarding immigration matters.

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