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UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Old Feb 19th 2009, 3:42 pm
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Default UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Hi

So...7 years ago my boyfriend was man-handled out of a shop by two police officers, (he said he hadn't done anything for this to happen - which I believe, however he did have long hair and looked like a proper "dude" then)their reason turned out to be that he was seen next to a known vehicle - which was not true; they asked him whether he had anything on him and he admitted that he was in possession of cannabis, they took him to the police station, strip searched him - didn't find anything, gave him a caution and released him.

Back to present - my dad booked a holiday for us to go to the USA at the end of last year, so a week after the Visa Waiver Programme came into effect properly we go to register and yep - he has to get a visa.

So up untill then all we were worrying about was his passport interview which was on the weekend we'd found out!!!! Least of our worries obviously!

So I got him to ring the US Consulate to see whether we could get an appointment, first time he rang he was told that he wouldn't be able to get an appointment till mid-April (in London)- which was no good as we are going at the end of March, he rang up again and was then told that he would be able to get an appointment at the end of February in Belfast, so all we were waiting for was his passport which he needed to get the appointment and the ACPO form.

I was planning on using an agent as they manage to speed up the process - I believed that as he had a past criminal conviction it would take 8 weeks; however they said that they would be unable to get him an appointment till Mid may - I thought it was over!

Anyway remembered that we could maybe get an appointment in Belfast, I emailed a Consular Officer asking whether if he provided enough documentation it could reduce the 8 week processing time, and they said that as it was a caution that time didn't apply!

So we got the passport in the 1st week of February, made an appointment for the 18th February without the ACPO form - they said that as long as you could get it before the appointment then it shouldn't be a problem; then we get all that snow just as we send it off - fortunately we got it way before the appointment; I'm rushing around trying to get all the relevent paper work for him just managing to, the day before we're set of to leave (except a few dates from education and employment).

We fly over there, my boyfriend hasn't flown since he was young, on landing his ears don't equalize properly and he is in agony, he is dizzy and he can't hear - the appointments the next day - so we spend 3 hours in A&E just for us to tell us that it should be fine by the morning, I was hoping to go over everything just one last time - we did but it was really difficult for him - bless him.

So next day (don't over sleep we've set the alarms on our phone for every 15 minutes - starting at 6) we get to the Embassy at 8.30, his appoinment is at 9.15 but we thought we're not sure how the traffic is going to be so better to be safe than sorry; so he comes out 4 hours later (waiting around for most of it) and he has the visa - Fantastic! This was yesterday; his passport with his visa has arrived today!

(I know it's rather long winded but it could help others in the future)

So now, it's the problem of getting through the POE, I am completely aware that it's at the discretion of the officers; I was just wondering what the procedure entailed for those with a non-immigrant visa when you reached there and if there was anything that we could take or say (not including bribery) which would go in his favour?

Many thanks for any replies.
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Old Feb 19th 2009, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Don't really have anything to add except the visa waiver program came into effect over 20 years ago. I guess you just have to answer their questions honestly and hope for the best.
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Old Feb 19th 2009, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Originally Posted by Kayleigh_C
So now, it's the problem of getting through the POE, I am completely aware that it's at the discretion of the officers; I was just wondering what the procedure entailed for those with a non-immigrant visa when you reached there and if there was anything that we could take or say (not including bribery) which would go in his favour?

Many thanks for any replies.
He has a B-2 visa it seems...
I cannot see the problem..presuming he is coming for a 2 week vacation
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Old Feb 19th 2009, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Originally Posted by Kayleigh_C
Hi

So...7 years ago my boyfriend was man-handled out of a shop by two police officers, (he said he hadn't done anything for this to happen - which I believe, however he did have long hair and looked like a proper "dude" then)their reason turned out to be that he was seen next to a known vehicle - which was not true; they asked him whether he had anything on him and he admitted that he was in possession of cannabis, they took him to the police station, strip searched him - didn't find anything, gave him a caution and released him.

Back to present - my dad booked a holiday for us to go to the USA at the end of last year, so a week after the Visa Waiver Programme came into effect properly we go to register and yep - he has to get a visa.

So up untill then all we were worrying about was his passport interview which was on the weekend we'd found out!!!! Least of our worries obviously!

So I got him to ring the US Consulate to see whether we could get an appointment, first time he rang he was told that he wouldn't be able to get an appointment till mid-April (in London)- which was no good as we are going at the end of March, he rang up again and was then told that he would be able to get an appointment at the end of February in Belfast, so all we were waiting for was his passport which he needed to get the appointment and the ACPO form.

I was planning on using an agent as they manage to speed up the process - I believed that as he had a past criminal conviction it would take 8 weeks; however they said that they would be unable to get him an appointment till Mid may - I thought it was over!

Anyway remembered that we could maybe get an appointment in Belfast, I emailed a Consular Officer asking whether if he provided enough documentation it could reduce the 8 week processing time, and they said that as it was a caution that time didn't apply!

So we got the passport in the 1st week of February, made an appointment for the 18th February without the ACPO form - they said that as long as you could get it before the appointment then it shouldn't be a problem; then we get all that snow just as we send it off - fortunately we got it way before the appointment; I'm rushing around trying to get all the relevent paper work for him just managing to, the day before we're set of to leave (except a few dates from education and employment).

We fly over there, my boyfriend hasn't flown since he was young, on landing his ears don't equalize properly and he is in agony, he is dizzy and he can't hear - the appointments the next day - so we spend 3 hours in A&E just for us to tell us that it should be fine by the morning, I was hoping to go over everything just one last time - we did but it was really difficult for him - bless him.

So next day (don't over sleep we've set the alarms on our phone for every 15 minutes - starting at 6) we get to the Embassy at 8.30, his appoinment is at 9.15 but we thought we're not sure how the traffic is going to be so better to be safe than sorry; so he comes out 4 hours later (waiting around for most of it) and he has the visa - Fantastic! This was yesterday; his passport with his visa has arrived today!

(I know it's rather long winded but it could help others in the future)

So now, it's the problem of getting through the POE, I am completely aware that it's at the discretion of the officers; I was just wondering what the procedure entailed for those with a non-immigrant visa when you reached there and if there was anything that we could take or say (not including bribery) which would go in his favour?

Many thanks for any replies.
You all should probably take documents showing ties to UK - mortgage statement, rental agreement, return plane ticket, letter from employer etc, showing that you have a reason to return to the UK. Don't offer to show any of these unless asked.

He will probably be asked why he has a visa when he's from a VWP participating country. Just explain that he was arrested in the UK a long time ago, and following the advice of the US embassy in the UK, he applied for a visa. He will probably then have his passport stamped and told to have a nice day - that was always my experience.

If the officer pushes for more details just explain honestly.

Enjoy your trip

Last edited by lofty79; Feb 19th 2009 at 4:04 pm.
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Old Feb 20th 2009, 9:11 am
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Thank you for your replies.

Thing is, he is going for 2 weeks and we'll be going for 3 weeks, will the fact that he'll be returning a week earlier make any difference? (He will be returning for his daughters' birthday.)

And you recommend that all of us take some type of documentation? Including myself and the rest of my family who have qualified for the VWP?
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Old Feb 20th 2009, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Does the visa have anything special written on it? Does it say anything about a 212(d)(3)(A) waiver?

You're certain the caution was for marijuana possession?

How old was he at the time of arrest?
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Old Feb 20th 2009, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

No it doesn't have anything regarding a waiver. He went to the appointment gave them the ACPO and VCU1 form and was told then and there that he had a visa.

Yes it was definately for a marijuana possession.

He was 19 at the time of the arrest....I think! Why?

Though I am saying this without it in front of me.

Last edited by Kayleigh_C; Feb 20th 2009 at 2:59 pm.
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Old Feb 20th 2009, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

It appears that a UK caution for controlled substance possession doesn't make someone inadmissible after all. If he was inadmissible the process to get the visa would have been longer and he would have a notation on it.

There will likely be some questions about why he got a visa when he could have used the VWP. He should be prepared to explain why he got the visa and have the same documents available if asked.

I asked about the age because it changes if someone needs a waiver or not. If someone was under 15, it's really hard to be inadmissible for a crime. The ages of 15, 16, and 17 have different rules. Upon reaching the age of 18, most things stick forever.
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Old Feb 20th 2009, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Ahh well he was at the grand old age of 19 - so yes it will stick forever! They should teach this sort of thing to children, it should very well make them think twice - it's definitely had a major impact on me, I'm now watching television when watching those real life cop documentaries and concluding each arrest with a - 'yeah you'll never get a visa", or "you will - but you'll have to wait a while so you won't be seeing Mickey Mouse this summer!"

Thank you for your input, this sort of information I would imagine would be hard to come across, the main reason for me posting this is that I wish I had this sort of information a week ago and that I'm sure it will help others in the future!
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Old Feb 20th 2009, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Originally Posted by Kayleigh_C
Ahh well he was at the grand old age of 19 - so yes it will stick forever! They should teach this sort of thing to children, it should very well make them think twice - it's definitely had a major impact on me, I'm now watching television when watching those real life cop documentaries and concluding each arrest with a - 'yeah you'll never get a visa", or "you will - but you'll have to wait a while so you won't be seeing Mickey Mouse this summer!"

Thank you for your input, this sort of information I would imagine would be hard to come across, the main reason for me posting this is that I wish I had this sort of information a week ago and that I'm sure it will help others in the future!
There has been a lot of ambiguity as to when a caution creates problems for people. The matter is far from settled. When someone has an arrest it's usually better to err on the side of caution, seek the visa, and let the consular officer figure it out. It gives someone a little more peace of mind.
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Old Mar 3rd 2009, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

I was just wondering whether the new Marijuana Law which came into effect on 2nd January 2009 may have had an effect on the outcome?
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Old Mar 3rd 2009, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Sorry - exact date I am unsure of - though that date stuck in my head. Definately January 09 though.
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Old Mar 3rd 2009, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Originally Posted by Kayleigh_C
I was just wondering whether the new Marijuana Law which came into effect on 2nd January 2009 may have had an effect on the outcome?
You mean new to the UK?

There is the "John Lennon" loophole of considering someone who was busted with (I think) under 40 grams of marijuana, not inadmissible - or at least, not ineligible for permanent residency.
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Old Mar 3rd 2009, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Massachussetts
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Old Mar 3rd 2009, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: UK Caution for Cannabis - Got the Visa - What to do at the POE

Originally Posted by Kayleigh_C
I was just wondering whether the new Marijuana Law which came into effect on 2nd January 2009 may have had an effect on the outcome?
I expect it'd only be an issue if the offense happened *after* the new law came into effect.

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