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Criminal Convictions

Criminal Convictions

Some applicants are uncertain how to answer the question, "have you ever been arrested or convicted?"

Minor and Common Motoring Offenses

In general, minor and common motoring offenses outside the U.S. that were disposed of by paying a ticket by mail have no bearing on admission to the United States. Travelers with minor traffic offenses that did not result in their arrest and/or conviction for the offense may travel visa free, provided they 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 would be to apply for a visa. The Embassy cannot provide any further guidance on this matter until you appear in person before a consular officer for a visa application interview.

If a traffic offense occurred while you were in the United States, and you have an outstanding fine against you, or if you did not attend your court hearing, it is possible there may be a warrant out for your arrest and you will experience significant problems when applying for admission at the U.S. port of entry. The Embassy cannot assist you in this regard. You must resolve the issue before traveling, by contacting the court where you were to appear. If you do not know the address of the court then information is available from the internet at: http://www.uscourts.gov/links.html.

Criminal Convictions

Under United States visa law, people who have been arrested at anytime are required to declare the arrest when applying for a visa or when applying to enter the United States.  If the arrest resulted in a conviction, the individual may be permanently ineligible to receive a visa. In order to travel, the applicant should apply for a visa and a waiver of the permanent ineligibility is required.

Documents relating to your arrest and/or conviction

Applicants applying for visas at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin are required to furnish a court record from the court(s) in which you were tried. Such court records must show the nature of the offense(s) committed, the section(s) of law contravened and the actual penalty imposed. If the arrest did not result in a conviction, you may submit with your application the documents relating to the arrest. Applicants applying for visas at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin are also required to furnish a Police Certificate from your local Garda Station.  Information on obtaining the police certificate is available from the Garda Siochana website at http://www.garda.ie/faq.html#C2.

What if I was convicted in the United States?

If you were arrested and/or convicted of an offense in the United States, you are required to obtain a court record from the court(s) in which you were tried. Such court records must show the nature of the offense(s) committed, the section(s) of law contravened and the actual penalty imposed. If the arrest did not result in a conviction, you may submit with your application the documents relating to the arrest. If you do not know the address of the court, the information is available from the internet at http://www.uscourts.gov/links.html. Applicants are also required to furnish  a Police Certificate from their local Garda Station issued within 6 months of the visa interview.

Drink Related Offenses

Applicants who have been arrested and/or convicted of a drink related offense may be referred to the Embassy's panel physician for evaluation. You will be advised further on the day of the interview. As we cannot pre-adjudicate a visa application, we are unable to provide further guidance until you formally apply for the visa, at which time you will be given the opportunity to discuss your application with a Consular Officer.

What if I was convicted in a country other than the United States or the Republic of Ireland?

If you were arrested and/or convicted of an offense, you are required to obtain a court record from the court(s) in which you were tried. Such court records must show the nature of the offense(s) committed, the section(s) of law contravened and the actual penalty imposed. If the arrest did not result in a conviction, you may submit with your application the documents relating to the arrest.

What if I'm found ineligible?

If the conviction(s) results in the applicant being found permanently ineligible to receive a visa, it will mean a lifetime exclusion from the United States unless he or she obtains a waiver of the permanent ineligibility from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The granting of a waiver is not automatic and is based on several factors, including nature of the crime committed, sentence served and the period of time which has elapsed since the conviction.

If a favorable recommendation is made to DHS for a waiver of the permanent ineligibility, the application will take a minimum of two weeks to process; some applications may take longer.

Please note: Delays in processing can and will occur. The processing times quoted are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. It is important that you keep this in mind when applying for the visa. Therefore, final travel plans or the purchase of nonrefundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.