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I have been travelling to the U.K for 25 years at least 8-10 times a year, receiving 5 year visas, never breaking the stay period, with no problem. I've gone through immigration with no problem till my last time in London. I was stopped for eight hours and questioned about a run with the law while I was in college. This was in the US, I was around 20, it was for a credit card use. I received a conditional discharge / probation conviction which was discharged one year later. It was stupid, I was young and in college, more than 28 years ago.

After being questioned about the issue in the US, I was allowed in. They were very polite and professional.

I was also asked if I ever changed my name: I did not change it, but one letter was added in the middle of my first and last names around 20 years ago as our names are translated from Arabic to English and before the digital biometric passports, hand written passports some times varied. It was a common thing at the time.

Now I am applying for my new 5 year visas and I intend to answer truthfully about previous conviction (previously I answered no because my conviction was spent and I expunged my record.) I want to answer yes and explain it. Is that the right thing to do?

Should I answer yes to the question about having a different name even though it was something as simple as spelling Bryan instead of Brian or Teresa and Theresa -- not really changing it and never thought of it as a change.

I have an impeccable credit rating in the Uk and the last 28 years have never received a moving violation or ever had a run in with the law.

I made one mistake when I was very young but I am very worried about how to go ahead. I believe honesty is the best approach, is it?

  • When you were stopped and questioned, was this something they already knew and started from the getgo to ask you about? Was your eight hour conversation documented? – Kate Gregory Aug 9 '17 at 0:53
  • I was not asked any thing – J.Massy Aug 9 '17 at 0:57
  • First the immigration officer asked if I was ever stopped before which i answers never. – J.Massy Aug 9 '17 at 0:58
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    I believe honesty is the best approach, is it? Honesty is not always the best approach, particularly when it comes to visa application issues and the Brits/USA in particular. I say this from my own experience. However in this your particular case honesty indeed is the best policy. – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer Aug 9 '17 at 8:00
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    I'm confused. The last time in London, when they asked you about your previous conviction you told them the truth. Now they already know. Or did you deny you had a problem? – greatone Aug 11 '17 at 19:33
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If you are "renewing" a 5 year visit visa, it means you previously applied 5 years ago and hence were using the old form...

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This has since been replaced with the new form...


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And a drill-down page...


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Discussion

The old form was accompanied by guidance where the exculpatory provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act allowed the applicant to lawfully deny a prior conviction if it was 'spent'. This explains why you did not declare your conviction in earlier visa applications.

The "Five Eyes Members" didn't like this because the various definitions of 'spent conviction' could not be easily normalised. So in the UK's new form you will see the text on the form itself...

You must tell us about spent as well as unspent convictions.

That means you must disclose the whole enchilada or face a ban for deception if you get caught.

Disclosing something ugly from your background does not mean the ECO will immediately shout "OMG!" and flip out. They have a mandate from Parliament to get as many visitors in to the UK as prudently possible. There's a related article from last month here that makes the following statement...

Disclosing something on a visa application does not result in instantaneous refusal. People put all kinds of weird things on their applications and still get approved: nude photographs, an old flight jacket, microwave parts, ultrasound scans, parking tickets, a jar of nuts, eBay passwords, an autographed dollar bill... you name it. Visa officers are trained professionals who will filter out material that is innocuous, irrelevant, or superfluous. This includes an admission of guilt about something they don't care about.

Source: Clarification Regarding Invalid Application

In your case the ECO (or assistant) will look in their manual and determine that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since your conviction and it is already spent in the first instance. It's not an overly big deal, but you may (or may not) be tasked with locating some paperwork.


Your questions...

Now I am applying for my new 5 year visas and I intend to answer truthfully about previous conviction (previously I answered no because my conviction was spent and I expunged my record.) I want to answer yes and explain it. Is that the right thing to do?

Per the above discussion, you are required to make a full disclosure.

Should I answer yes to the question about having a different name even though it was something as simple as spelling Bryan instead of Brian or Teresa and Theresa -- not really changing it and never thought of it as a change.

Yes, a variance must be reported. They do not have an arbitrary exclusion like just a single letter or a simple spelling error or any other excuse. If you have doubts about the question, you can use the natural meaning of the words to determine what they want to know.

  • Thank you for your comment .But this is the visa form being used as of date Have you ever been convicted of any criminal offence in the UK or any country? Have you ever been convicted of any criminal offence in the UK or any country? Yes* No Please Give Details including country, nature of offence, date of conviction and sentence/penalty Please give details including country, nature of the offence, date, and type of penalty/sentence. – J.Massy Aug 9 '17 at 10:28
  • Its the same as the one on top in your response. – J.Massy Aug 9 '17 at 10:28
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    If it looks like the one on top it means you are using the wrong form – Gayot Fow Aug 9 '17 at 14:42
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The new Home Office requirement to disclose "spent" convictions is violating both

  • the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (as amended by the 2012 Act) and
  • the individuals right for private life as was held by the UK Court of Appeal (ruling in January 2013 that the mandatory and blanket disclosure of convictions as part of a criminal records check was incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private life))
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    That may very well be true, but unless you have the resources to appeal the decision through the courts and are willing to be barred from entry to the country during that process, it doesn't help. – Richard Smith Oct 22 '18 at 14:20

protected by cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer Feb 24 at 19:29

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