VISA WAIVER PROGRAM TO USA

Flashback

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Oct 29, 2006
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Just thought I would add something else in here for anyone who is going through the same (lengthy, annoying...) process. Mine is only in the beginning stages so I'm not too worried, but those who have been waiting 20 weeks or so might find this useful. Copied and pasted from my other reply:

I have a friend who has recently been approved her visa waiver (after a 25 week wait). When she enquired as to the status of her visa (after a certain period), they provided her with a link to input her case/application number. When inputting your case number, it brings up whether you were A) approved, or B) refused. However, when her application status changed, it was noted on there (when she checked in from time to time).

Interesting thing to note is it appears they don't even LOOK AT your application until the 22-23 week mark. The whole process from when they updated her application status from 'Refused' (as mine is currently showing now) to the visa being issued in her passport and sent to her only took a week or so.

There were 0 updates prior to this. Now, you would think, if the process genuinely took 26 weeks there would be multiple reasons for this, and those reasons (updates?) would be reflected, no?

In the UK I had a visa took 6 months and the time lag is due to the shear number they have to process. Note that the people processing these may not necessarily do these only - they're probably quite low on the pile.
 

mattyb

Newbie
Joined
Jun 3, 2015
Posts
1
Hi all... long time lurker, first time poster.

I was granted a visa after being recommended for a waiver of ineligibility following my interview at the US consulate last September. Finally got the passport with the shiny visa in February.

Is there anything else I should be concerned about now? I have booked tickets to the US for August - very excited - but someone on another forum mentioned that I'd be taken away to be further interviewed when I arrive before being released. I am flying into LAX. Is this the case? Should I be concerned? Can't wait for my trip - first visit to the US! :)
 

Young88

Newbie
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Posts
1
I don't normally post info on forums however I found it very valuable in regards to this topic, so here is my story.
Much like everybody else, I was planning a trip to the US. All my friends told me that getting a visa was an easy process that takes about 5 minutes on the internet. However when the question asking if I had any convictions came up, I decided that honesty is the best policy and answered 'yes'. From here on it was all downhill, many times through this process I thought about cancelling my flights, hotels, etc... and spend my time and money in a country that welcomes me without interrogation. First I had to fill out the DS-160 form. Parts of this document become comical when they ask you questions like 'are you a terrorist'. After completing the form and uploading a passport photo I was able to submit it. Only then could I see the fee for NIV which was $208, once again only after paying the fee could I schedule an appointment at a consulate. I was due to fly out start of August and the earliest appointment was in mid-August. After tying to contact the Consulate for advice as to whether I could get an earlier appointment and following numerous prompts I finally spoke to quite possibly the rudest lady I have ever encountered. She was absolutely no help at all, the only thing she said was keep checking the schedule and hope that an earlier appointment becomes available through a cancellation. At this stage I started to regret being honest, I thought how would the US know that I was convicted for 'resist police' 17 years ago? It was also at this stage that I thought about cancelling the trip and holidaying in Europe. Given that there is three consulates in Australia I thought I would check Melbourne and Perth for an earlier appointment. To my surprise Melbourne had an opening a little over a week before I departed, so I took my chances and booked it in. Later that day I checked again and found an appointment available one week earlier. This gave me a week to get my supporting documentation ready for the interview and a glimmer of hope that I would get a visa in time to go. Things started to look up, I filled out an application for AFP police check to take to the interview as advised by the US visa website. I was a little worried as the AFP stated it could take up to 15 working days to receive, however the next day I received an email to say it was completed and being sent via the post. When it arrived I noted that it was the wrong form. I called the AFP helpline and they informed me that I needed an 'Immigration' check form (Code 33) not the 'Visa' check form (Code 35). I resubmitted the form and I am still waiting for it. Due to the delay in waiting for the AFP name check, I contacted the courts and asked if I could get a record of my conviction. This was a very easy process, cost $40 and received it within two days. Although they strongly advise that you should have a police check with 'full disclosure' I had ran out of time and had to take whatever I had. I took my Passport, photo, DS-160 confirm page, appointment confirmation, incorrect police check, court document of conviction, pay slips, bank statements, leave approvals...basically anything I thought I may require for the interview. I grabbed my stuff, jumped on an overnight bus and made the 8hr journey to Melbourne. At the consulate I was called up to the counter to give my passport and DS-160 confirm page. On the DS-160 I stated that I would be attending Sydney for my interview (I was hoping this wouldn't be a problem). The girl noticed it was for Sydney and said that she would need to request my information to be sent to her and this may take an hour. I left the consulate to grab a coffee and await their phone call to return once my info was obtained. No more than 5 minutes later I was called to return for my interview. The interviewer asked for my reason to travel, asked me to explain my conviction and asked what I did for a living and who was my employer. They took a photocopy of my name check and court document, informed me that my visa is approved and I would receive my passport within five days from a courier. Three days later I had my passport and visa back in my hands. It's a little bit of a long winded story but my advice at the end of the day is do the right thing! With a month before I was due to fly out I started this process. I was pretty sure that I would get a visa as my conviction was 17 years ago and it was the only one. What I was worried about was the amount of time it would take, a lot of stories on the net stated people waiting months for visa approvals. If you are short on time I would advise you to, make sure you have all the documents to support your case, if you have a conviction and not much time to waste get documents from the courts (it takes days not weeks). I had about 40 pages of stuff and all they needed was two of them, however if they needed other stuff to support my case I would have had it there ready to go, hence not delaying the process. It is also worth mentioning that the US consulate and employees were helpful, polite, professional and friendly...unlike a lot of the comments I have read about them on various forums. If you have everything ready this process is quick and easy. Turns out Honesty is the best policy!
 

Steady

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Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Posts
8,624
Welcome aboard Young88 - an informative first post - now you have started posting please done stop!
 

RooFlyer

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Nov 12, 2012
Posts
19,635
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Welcome to AFF Young88 :) and thanks for that info. You might want to head over to this thread to see if you can offer any useful advice to other in similar situations.

(ps Throwing in a 'return' or several while typing any such story would be useful for us :p )
 

Flashback

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Posts
11,868
I don't normally post info on forums however I found it very valuable in regards to this topic, so here is my story.

Much like everybody else, I was planning a trip to the US. All my friends told me that getting a visa was an easy process that takes about 5 minutes on the internet.

However when the question asking if I had any convictions came up, I decided that honesty is the best policy and answered 'yes'.

From here on it was all downhill, many times through this process I thought about cancelling my flights, hotels, etc... and spend my time and money in a country that welcomes me without interrogation.

First I had to fill out the DS-160 form. Parts of this document become comical when they ask you questions like 'are you a terrorist'. After completing the form and uploading a passport photo I was able to submit it. Only then could I see the fee for NIV which was $208, once again only after paying the fee could I schedule an appointment at a consulate.

I was due to fly out start of August and the earliest appointment was in mid-August. After tying to contact the Consulate for advice as to whether I could get an earlier appointment and following numerous prompts I finally spoke to quite possibly the rudest lady I have ever encountered. She was absolutely no help at all, the only thing she said was keep checking the schedule and hope that an earlier appointment becomes available through a cancellation.

At this stage I started to regret being honest, I thought how would the US know that I was convicted for 'resist police' 17 years ago? It was also at this stage that I thought about cancelling the trip and holidaying in Europe. Given that there is three consulates in Australia I thought I would check Melbourne and Perth for an earlier appointment.

To my surprise Melbourne had an opening a little over a week before I departed, so I took my chances and booked it in. Later that day I checked again and found an appointment available one week earlier. This gave me a week to get my supporting documentation ready for the interview and a glimmer of hope that I would get a visa in time to go.

Things started to look up, I filled out an application for AFP police check to take to the interview as advised by the US visa website. I was a little worried as the AFP stated it could take up to 15 working days to receive, however the next day I received an email to say it was completed and being sent via the post.

When it arrived I noted that it was the wrong form. I called the AFP helpline and they informed me that I needed an 'Immigration' check form (Code 33) not the 'Visa' check form (Code 35). I resubmitted the form and I am still waiting for it. Due to the delay in waiting for the AFP name check, I contacted the courts and asked if I could get a record of my conviction.

This was a very easy process, cost $40 and received it within two days. Although they strongly advise that you should have a police check with 'full disclosure' I had ran out of time and had to take whatever I had.

I took my Passport, photo, DS-160 confirm page, appointment confirmation, incorrect police check, court document of conviction, pay slips, bank statements, leave approvals...basically anything I thought I may require for the interview. I grabbed my stuff, jumped on an overnight bus and made the 8hr journey to Melbourne.

At the consulate I was called up to the counter to give my passport and DS-160 confirm page. On the DS-160 I stated that I would be attending Sydney for my interview (I was hoping this wouldn't be a problem). The girl noticed it was for Sydney and said that she would need to request my information to be sent to her and this may take an hour.

I left the consulate to grab a coffee and await their phone call to return once my info was obtained. No more than 5 minutes later I was called to return for my interview. The interviewer asked for my reason to travel, asked me to explain my conviction and asked what I did for a living and who was my employer.

They took a photocopy of my name check and court document, informed me that my visa is approved and I would receive my passport within five days from a courier.

Three days later I had my passport and visa back in my hands.

It's a little bit of a long winded story but my advice at the end of the day is do the right thing! With a month before I was due to fly out I started this process. I was pretty sure that I would get a visa as my conviction was 17 years ago and it was the only one.

What I was worried about was the amount of time it would take, a lot of stories on the net stated people waiting months for visa approvals. If you are short on time I would advise you to, make sure you have all the documents to support your case, if you have a conviction and not much time to waste get documents from the courts (it takes days not weeks).

I had about 40 pages of stuff and all they needed was two of them, however if they needed other stuff to support my case I would have had it there ready to go, hence not delaying the process. It is also worth mentioning that the US consulate and employees were helpful, polite, professional and friendly...unlike a lot of the comments I have read about them on various forums. If you have everything ready this process is quick and easy.

Turns out Honesty is the best policy!

Perhaps the crime of 'resisting police' (arrest??) is not considered to be one of moral turpitude as per https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86942.pdf which might explain why it was so quick and easy?
 
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Skyring

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Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Posts
2,790
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Those that have visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past 5 years are not eligible to enter the US under this program:

US Visa Waiver Changes Coming | LoyaltyLobby
Thanks! I saw that. I'm planning to visit Iran next year, and this will be a major bugger for me.

We bought some Persian carpets recently, and were impressed by the guy selling them. His knowledge, sense of humour, ability to say "Himalayas" correctly. He was just a delight.

And he runs tours to Iran, has been doing this for some time and built up a devoted following. So we decided to combine a trip to Athens next year with a week in Iran, maybe do the full 19 day tour later on. I've always heard that Iran is a beautiful place, full of history, so I'm looking forward to it a lot.

I can understand why the Seppos are doing this, but geez, one more brick in the wall of inconvenience. Heaven help them if Trump gets a guernsey; he'll ban foreigners entirely or something.
 

james_kaye

Newbie
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Posts
2
This is my first post.

I have just came across the site after trying to find out whether i am eligible for a VWP or not.

My situation is that I had an argument with someone and there was some push and shove about a year ago.

The next day i was shocked to have the police knocking on my door and arrested me for assault.

Was taken to the police station, finger print and interview. I told the police exactly what had happen which was just some push and shove and was stopped by other friends.
I told the police that I am shocked to see he called the police for something so minor. There was no punching or kicking involved.
I told police that there are several witnesses and the police can go and interview them as witness.

I was then release with no charge but a temporary AVO was put on me while they are investigating the incident. I was also given a date to attend a court.

The police had interviewed those witnesses and found that there was nothing in it and subsequently i was not charge at all but i was told that i still have to attend the court for my AVO to be revoked.

I attended the court and the judge said that my case will be dismiss since the police didn't even charge me and so the AVO was revoked.

Earlier I have applied for ESTA online and it was approved but i am now worried after reading online that even if i was arrested with no conviction i do need a visa.

So i filled the DS160 and stated that i have been arrested but no charge or conviction. I have made an appointment for the interview.
Silly me, i don't have my criminal record to show the officer for the interview on time.

I can't reschedule the interview date to another day because i have change it twice already. So i did not attend my interview because i haven't got my crminal record yet.

I am now waiting for my Criminal Record to arrive which i am very confident that it is all clear.

Can someone please advice me whether I should still take the risk and wing it when i have received my criminal record and bring it with me.

Or should i change my flight ot later this year after i applied and received my visa.

I have already paid for some show in Vegas and hotel that is non refundable.

Thank you very much in advance for any advice.
 

mayhemdiva

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
16
No this doesnt count so
dont even mention it...it is for people with convictions or pending cases. Yours was merely an investigation that went nowhere and was dropped essentially. DONT mention it as they really have no way of finding out your story..enjoy your trip.
Retired police office and regular world traveller
 

mayhemdiva

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
16
Sorry I misread..you already have mentioned it...oh well you will have to go thru the process..we made our trip and my partner had drink drive..had to see a doctor to state he wasnt a drunk etc ..u should be fine
 

james_kaye

Newbie
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Posts
2
Thank you very much for your response mayhemdiva.

Unfortunately I was being too cautious and honest so i mentioned it to the US Embassy to ask if I can go to America with the ESTA.

Unfortunately I can't get my visa on time because i am due to fly out in mid April.

Such a shame that I have booked and paid for a few things that is non refundable such as hotel and vegas shows.

I will follow your advise and go through the visa process and change my flights to later this year.
 

jgm

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Posts
383
I'm just back from another trip to the US. We both had to apply for new ESTA & I don't remember the application being anywhere near as detailed last time. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere before, but both airlines we used (TG and OZ) required our ESTA approval details. I've never had this before, but they couldn't check us in without it. Luckily I was able to get onto the ESTA site to find the details when checking in in MEL, and then printed them out in the lounge, but it held us up for nearly 15 minutes extra at check in.
 

thatwouldbher

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Posts
18
Thank you very much for your response mayhemdiva.

Unfortunately I was being too cautious and honest so i mentioned it to the US Embassy to ask if I can go to America with the ESTA.

Unfortunately I can't get my visa on time because i am due to fly out in mid April.

Such a shame that I have booked and paid for a few things that is non refundable such as hotel and vegas shows.

I will follow your advise and go through the visa process and change my flights to later this year.
When in any doubt apply for a visa! It's better to do that than be turned around at LAX or your arrival airport!
 

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