Corporate and “C-Suite” professionals- CEOs, COOs and CMOs- are increasingly concerned over travel to the US due to criminal convictions and police cautions according to London-based US immigration firm NNU Immigration.

The firm reports that queries from UK professionals on US entry barriers based on past violations have risen 50 per cent in 2016, following a 45 per cent increase in 2015.

All individuals with arrests, convictions or cautions must now apply for a visa before entering the US due to a policy implemented by the US embassy in London in July 2014. Many must also apply for a “waiver of inadmissibility” from the US government, a process that can take 6-8 months to complete.

Relevent offenses include cautions and convictions deemed “spent” under the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which remain relevant under US immigration law.

NNU Immigration reports that 90 per cent of its clients are males aged 35-45 with minor convictions or cautions, and 95 per cent are corporate professionals in C-suite positions or other senior roles. 90 per cent of the firm’s cases are related to drug and alcohol-related violations.

Travellers to the US with prior violations who do not declare it under the Visa Waiver Program are committing a criminal offence which can result in detention or permanent ban from the US. The number of UK individuals who risk being stopped at US Border Control or banned from entry number between nine and 15 million.

Nita Upadhye, principal attorney and founder of NNU Immigration, said:

“Many of the people we help are respectable business people or their dependents, for whom traveling to the US is often a must. They may have done something deeply regrettable when they were young relating to drugs or alcohol… but that doesn’t mean they should be unjustly punished for the rest of their lives. We believe the current US immigration system unfairly punishes thousands of visa applicants and the fear multiplier of getting caught is driving many to seek legal advice or forgo travel to the United States altogether. We are here to advocate for them fairly and conscientiously put forward their side of the story.”