Visa question

Old Jun 15th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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Visa question

I know that there is the ETA that I can fill out to get the visa for myself, however my husband has been convicted of a DUI and it clearly states on the ETA that if you've been convicted of a crime you can't apply for the ETA. So he'll have to apply for a regular tourist visa sublass 676. Just curious if anyone else has had a similar issue? I'm wondering how long it typically takes to get this type of visa approved. I just want to make sure that I apply with plenty of time. Any info you can offer will be appreciated. Thanks a bunch
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Old Jun 15th, 2010, 09:28 PM
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Don't assume you'll get approval sprout76. I know someone who was planning on visiting the US and had travel to Sydney to apply for a Visa in person and was declined because of their DUI. It seemed a bit harsh but there you go.
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 04:43 AM
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I am actually quite scared of that, but I have to hope that maybe it will all work out okay. I'm hoping to get an answer before we get our plane tickets. I have enough miles to get them for free, but I'm going to have to book a year out...which I think is too early to submit the visa. Do you know how long it took your friend to get the declination?
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 05:48 AM
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sprout76, stormbird's example was of an Australian seeking entry to the USA, which perhaps applies its entry rules more onerously than Australia. I'm sure that the severity of the offence(s) in question are taken into account. Coming clean is usually the best approach, but that didn't help an Australian who was knocked back from entry to the USA because of a marijuana possession conviction many years ago. In retrospect she'd have been better off saying nothing on the reasonable assumption that US authorities are unlikely to be trawling through Australian police records in search of trivia like that, but it's a hard call.
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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Neil_Oz....you're right it is a hard call. Not that you shouldn't have to pay for the crime you committed, but wow....when you're young AND stupid it can have a lot of consequences in the future. If it were a chronic problem (which to me shows you have not learned your lesson) than that is one thing, but if you learn from it and reform should it continually be held against you? If we say nothing...and it somehow comes up...then we've made a plane trip to Sydney...only to be denied entry. Maybe I'll just leave him home LOL
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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Neil is right sprout and sorry if I didn't make that clear. Watching our Border Security shows I think honesty is the best policy. I think you need only be worried if the DUI incurred jail time. If it was a fine and suspension I think you'd be okay. But the thing is you never know!
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 04:49 PM
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Thank you both for your responses. I really do appreciate all the input...and sorry if I seem a little crazy about this. I really just want to be excited about this trip, but it is hard to get excited without knowing for sure if we're going to be able to make it. We will absolutely declare the DUI and just see what happens. I wouldn't want to take any chances. We'll see what happens. There was no jail time...only a fine and he had to have a breathalyzer in his car for a year. We'll just wait and see...and hopefully it won't be an issue. Thanks again for all your help
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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I also watch "Border Security", which is pretty low-rent TV but exercises an attraction best expressed by that fine German word "schadenfreude", which has no English equivalent but signifies the pleasure one takes in the misfortune of others.

Some of the cases involve Asian travellers trying to sneak undeclared foodstuffs past Customs and being hit with a modest fine and confiscation accordingly, so fall into the light comedy category.

But a recent episode depicted a German guy (a huge ugly tattooed skinhead you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley) detained by Australian Immigration because he hadn't declared a jail term.

He was put back on a plane to Frankfurt, but the point is that it took a while for the officers to decide to deny him entry, and I was left with the impression that just possibly it could have gone the other way if he'd come clean at the outset.

Another episode featured an English immigrant who lurched off the plane drunk and was also found to have done time in the UK; ultimately, after a drug search (the sniffer dog had picked up traces of coke in his baggage) he was let through.

These cases aren't indicative of much, I suppose, other than the fact that the regs aren't draconian and that the final call is often down to one officer's judgement.

In practical terms, I can't imagine that Australian immigration has unfettered access to US criminal databases in 50 states, so the odds of being caught out are probably low. I for one wouldn't bother declaring that DUI, but that's me, and I'm certainly not advising anyone to do likewise.

On balance I suspect that a dime-a-dozen DUI conviction with no custodial sentence wouldn't bother Australian immigration in the slightest. They have much bigger fish than that to fry.

Over to you (sorry!)
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 06:07 PM
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From what i have read, it looks like
• YOU CANNOT APPLY FOR THE ETA WITH A DUI CONVICTION OF ANY KIND
• unless your DH did jail time for more than 12 months it should not be a problem getting a regular visa
• it can TAKE MUCH LONGER for the visa to be processed with the DUI - up to 6 months - so it may not be too early to apply.

good luck.
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Call the Australian Embassy in DC and ask when you should apply--they're very friendly.
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Old Jun 19th, 2010, 07:14 AM
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Hi Sprout,

I've done hundreds of ETAs for clients, but this is a new one for me.

I'd suggest that you work with an Aussie Specialist for a couple of reasons; not only will they be helpful, but they may be of a BIG help with the Visa (and, at least at my agency, we provide the ETA free of charge, so there's $50 saved right there!). You can find a specialist in your area by going to www.australia.com, look down on the right side for "Find a Specialist".

Hope this is helpful.

Melodie
Certified Aussie Specialist
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