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Criminal Past Can Return To Haunt Travellers

Mobile international workers and expats with a shady past could find border police in their destination could refuse them entry – even if they have not faced prosecution for an offence.

Failing to declare an arrest, caution or conviction before travelling could end in embarrassment explaining an involvement in crime to an employer or potential customer.

The threat is real for millions of British travellers – 2 million were involved in an offence that could be consider ‘moral turpitude‘ in 2015.

Since 2011, at least 8 million people would fall foul of involvement in an offence that would fall into this category.

Topping the table is ‘violent assault without causing injury’ for more than 518,000 people, followed by theft for another 488.000.

Moral turpitude

In the US, ‘moral turpitude’ covers fraud, arson, blackmail, bigamy, forgery, handling stolen goods and fraud.

Famously, dating back to the days of The Beatles, many celebrities linked to drugs have not been allowed into the States.

The definition of ‘moral turpitude’ is wide and includes any offence that could go against the accepted values of a community.

Many countries, including the USA, demand anyone arrested, cautioned or convicted of a crime must declare the facts before entering the country, even if the offence is marked as spent in the UK.

The declaration rules vary for different countries.

Australia and New Zealand will refuse entry to anyone who has been given a 12-month jail sentence, while Australia also has a strict character requirement test to gain a visa.

Police certificates

Travellers with criminal convictions heading for Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa or the United States need to provide a police certificate and may have to attend an interview at the embassy

The visa requirements were flagged by UK travel insurer Direct Line.

“The US, Canada, China and Australia are some of the most popular destinations for Brits outside of Europe. With the world becoming ever smaller and people ready to explore, it is vital for travellers to check they are eligible to visit before booking their trip, and have all the correct paperwork before heading to the airport,” said a spokesman.

“Travellers can check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, so they know what is required and give themselves enough time to get the necessary paperwork to avoid being turned away at customs. No one wants their trip to end before it even begins.”

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