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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Trip to the UK and Ireland with unspent conviction

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I am planning a trip to the UK and Ireland in late October/early November part work and part tourist. The problem is I have an unspent criminal conviction from 1996 where I was sentenced to serve 4 years in prison for embezzlement of funds from an employer ( the amount was around $10,000). I have had a clean record since and have established myself who now has a family and owns a home along with a well paid job. The job i am traveling for i have been employed there for almost 4 years in a non money handling roll.

The question I have is I am going to apply for a Visa to enter, but what visa should I apply for and what are my chances of getting it approved.
My name isXXXXX and I am a Solicitor based in London. I'm happy to help with your question today.

Are you coming from the US?

What is the main purpose of your visit to the UK?

How long do you intend to stay?

Do you have any other convictions in the US or anywhere else?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am coming from the US. Main purpose is work. I will be in the UK 1 week. No other convictions anywhere.
OK thanks for the additional information.

As you probably know the general rule is that a tourist from the US does not require a visa to enter the UK for a short visit. However, an entry clearance visa is required if coming for any other purpose e.g. work, marriage or if the visitor has a criminal record. Therefore, in your case, because you have a criminal record, the general rule does not apply an your must apply for entry clearance before travelling. The application can be made at the nearest British Embassy.

But I have to advise you that under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 a sentence for a criminal offence exceeding 30 months (2.5 years) is never 'spent' and must be disclosed in the application for entry clearance. Unfortunately under Para.320 Immigration Rules, the presumption is in favour of refusal unless 10 years have passed since the end of the sentence. If refused you can ask for a review of there are compelling grounds but due to the nature of the offence and length of sentence imposed I have to tell you that the chances of gaining entry to the UK is very low indeed verging on negligible.

I'm sorry to be so negative, but I don't see any point in beating about the bush and telling your fairy tales. Its important that you know the problem you face.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
You said that unless 10 years has passed since the completion of the sentence has passed that they view the application to deny first, but it has been 13 years since my sentence has ended. Does that change anything?
I am very sorry but I've re-read your original question and can see that you said 1996. I was working on the assumption of 2006. Apologies.

OK so because the sentence is more than 2.5 years it has to be disclosed because it is not 'spent' under the 1974 Act. However, because more than 10 years have passed since the end of the sentence mandatory refusal under Para. 320 does not apply. But the immigration officer has a discretion to grant or refuse entry clearance based on an assessment of your character. As more than 13 years have passed since the end of the sentence and you have not committed further offences and your personal circumstances have changed there is a good chance of a visa being granted for a short visit.

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