In this article, we will seek to dispel some of the popular myths and misconceptions surrounding ESTA and the B-1/B-2 temporary visitor (business/tourism) visa.


“I Have Been Arrested But It Never Resulted In A Conviction. Surely I Can Still Travel On ESTA?”

Unfortunately, an arrest for many offences will result in a permanent ineligibility to travel on ESTA, even if no further action was taken in respect of the arrest. This is not confined to what most would consider “serious” crimes, and can include offences as minor as shoplifting a sandwich.  If you have ever been arrested, we would recommend that you contact us in order to seek advice on the merits of filing an application for a B-1/B-2 temporary visitor (business/tourism) visa.


“I Have A Few Spent Convictions From When I Was Younger. Surely They Do Not Prevent Me From Travelling On ESTA?”

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is an English and Welsh statute and therefore does not apply to matters of US immigration law. As such, if you have any arrests, cautions or convictions (or have had any brushes with the law of any kind, however minor), we would recommend that you contact us to discuss your case further and assess your eligibility for a visa.


“Surely I Can Work In The US On ESTA Or A B-1/B-2 Temporary Visitor (Business/Tourism) Visa Provided I Am Not Paid For My Work?”

No. Productive work is strictly prohibited on ESTA and, indeed, on the B-1/B-2 temporary visitor visa, even if it is unpaid. Certain business activities are permitted on ESTA and the B-1/B-2 visa, for example, attending meetings/conferences and negotiating contracts.

If you have any questions regarding whether your proposed activities in the US on ESTA or a B-1/B-2 visa are permissible, please do not hesitate to contact one of our licensed US immigration attorneys to seek advice on your position.


“I Am Eligible To Enter The US On ESTA, But I Would Like To Apply For A B-1/B-2 Temporary Visitor (Business And Tourism) Visa, So I Can Spend Longer In The US. Is This Possible?”

If you are eligible to enter the US on ESTA, we would advise that you seek legal advice on the merits of filing an application for a B-1/B-2 temporary visitor (business/tourism) visa before taking any action, due to the possible risks involved. If denied a visa, the traveler may become ineligible to enter the US on ESTA and may henceforth require a visa to enter the US, which may be expensive, time consuming and inconvenient in the long-term. While the FAM is clear in ESTA eligibility not precluding a successful tourist visa application, in practice, the adjudicating officer holds a lot of discretion and an inference is often drawn from the making of such an application.


“Surely There Is No Problem With Me Remaining In The US For 90 Days On ESTA/For 6 Months On A B-1/B-2 Temporary Visitor (Business/Tourism) Visa?”

While one may lawfully remain in the US throughout the period of their authorized stay, in practice issues may arise at the Port of Entry if a traveler seeks to enter the US for the maximum period permitted by their ESTA or B-1/B-2 visa, if they are not adequately prepared for entry.

If you are contemplating an extended trip to the US on either ESTA or a B-1/B-2 temporary visitor (business/tourism) visa, we would recommend that you contact us in order to seek advice on your proposed trip, prior to making any travel plans. If denied entry to the US, you may subsequently become ineligible to enter the US on ESTA and may require visas to enter the US in future.


Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, we offer advice and representation in connection with all aspects of U.S immigration, from our London and Atlanta offices. We offer a fully flexible service, timely responses to your correspondence and innovative immigration solutions, at a competitive, transparent fixed fee. Call now for your free price quotation and for preliminary advice regarding the merits of your case.

Published: 11th October 2018