Immigration lawyers have warned travellers they could face tougher visa restrictions when entering the US.
Stricter enforcement of border rules by President Donald Trump’s government has resulted in more visas being declined to travellers with a history of drink driving or drugs.
Charlotte Slocombe, a partner at London-based immigration law firm Fragomen, told the Financial Times she was seeing “one or two business travellers per week having difficulty getting into the US”.
Arrests, cautions and convictions for drug-related offences, either cocaine or marijuana, were among the offences cited as reasons for entry being refused.
UK employees do not have to disclose spent convictions to employers, but US visa rules state that any offences are relevant regardless of when it happened and arrests that did not lead to criminal charges or cautions.
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who have both recently admitted to taking cocaine, would now be ineligible for an ESTA visa waiver entry permit since this requires applicants to confirm they have never “possessed, used or distributed” illegal drugs.
According to US Customs and Border Protection, there was a 108% increase in refusals of inadmissible persons at US ports of entry in 2018 compared with 2015.
US officials are also looking at social media sites to find habits that have not been voluntarily disclosed with the ESTA form now requiring visitors to include their handles.
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