Visitors to the U.S. with a Criminal Record

Apply for ESTA here

Visitors to the U.S. with a Criminal Record


Is ESTA Applicable for Those Who Have Been Convicted or Have Criminal Record?

ESTA Application for Those Who Have Been Convicted or Have Criminal Record

Questionnaires of ESTA application have questions related to your criminal record in the past. Concept of criminal record is mainly cases corresponding to the lists below.

  • Crimes which give harm to others such as murder, accidental homicide, serious assault, kidnapping and multiple vicious traffic violation
  • Crimes depriving property of others such as arson, robbery, theft, fraud and receipt of stolen goods
  • Crimes inflict damages upon government authorities such as a large amount of tax evasion, bribery, false evidence and drug offense

Those who were arrested under crime listed above by criminal conviction need to answer “Yes” to the question. In general, those who answer “Yes” would not be authorized ESTA to travel to the U.S., instead, find necessary visa for your purpose of the visit to the U.S.
Visa and required documents
There is a case of being considered as a subject even if lists above are not applicable to the person, depending on the quality or contents of the crime. No matter which area the crime happened or nationality, those who have arrested, prosecuted or convicted by serious crime in the past need to answer the truth when applying for ESTA.

ESTA Application for Those Who with a Past Conviction

ESTA Application for Those Who Have Traffic Offence

Rules established by U.S. government authorities, traffic offence or drunken driving without causing involuntary homicide would not be considered as serious crime. However, those who have been arrested as addicts by violating the liquor laws repeatedly must answer “Yes” to the question for criminal record of ESTA application. In case of infliction of serious harm upon others or serious damage upon government authorities’ assets by traffic offence and drunken driving must answer “Yes”. Those who have experience of speeding or parking violation without gross negligence in the past could select “No”.

ESTA Application for Those Who were Convicted for Drug Offense

Those who had arrested under possessing, using or distributing illegal drugs in the past must answer “Yes” to the question for criminal record of ESTA application.
Medical cannabis is also qualified as illegal drugs in the U.S. However, those who used medical cannabis for therapeutic purpose and not convicted could select “No” to the question for criminal record of ESTA application. Use of Medical Cannabis is based on the country where an applicant resides. Those who have criminal record by drug offense are not subjected to ESTA application, therefore apply visa at U.S. embassy or consulate general.

ESTA application if convicted of assault

If you have been convicted of a past assault that caused serious harm or damage to individual or the property of others, you must select “Yes” to the question of ESTA criminal conviction. You are still required to select “Yes” even if you were arrested or charged with a crime involving assault, and later found to have been falsely arrested. As a general rule, those who answer “Yes” to the criminal record question are not eligible to apply for ESTA. Depending on the nature of the crime and your age at the time, you may be approved for a visa, but the decision to issue the visa will be made by the consular officer.

ESTA application while on probation

If you are on probation when apply for ESTA, you must select “Yes” to the question regarding your criminal record. Because probation is a judicial penalty with conditions, you will be found guilty regardless of whether you have been arrested or charged with a crime. Remember that some conditions are required when a person on probation travels outside the country and is not eligible to apply for ESTA. Although visas may be granted for legitimate purposes or humanitarian reasons, CBP (U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Border Protection), the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in Japan recommend that you refrain from traveling to the U.S.

Necessity for Not Hiding the Criminal Record

The law for supporting criminal’s return to daily lives into society is not established under U.S. immigration law. Therefore, strict restriction for the entry to the country is formulated for those criminals who inflicted serious harm, or those who were being part of the serious crime case in the past. ESTA, the travel authorization system prior to departure, is playing significant role of judgment for those who wish to travel to the U.S. as safe citizens and would have no harm to the U.S. Those who have serious criminal record in the past or have arrested in the U.S. are judged as security risk, therefore entry to the U.S. by ESTA would not be permitted. Besides, those who have been judged as overstay in the U.S. or any other countries, and forcibly deported back to their countries are not subject to ESTA application. They are not allowed to travel to the U.S. with visa either. Differences between ESTA and visa, or suitable visa for the case

Apply for ESTA here

UPDATE : 2023/02/13