What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Entering Japan with a possible criminal record

2ndbakeryattack

Registered
Joined
5 Mar 2021
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hi there,

First off, I know there have been plenty of similar questions posted before, but I could not find any matching my situation. I have reached out to the Japanese Consulate and emailed an immigration lawyer, I'm just waiting on responses from both of them. I am also in the process of getting a FBI background check down. Posting this is mostly to see if anyone else was in my situation. I am located in the United States.

I am supposed to be studying abroad in Tokyo from this August until next May. Two years ago, when I was 17, I was arrested for reckless endangerment of another person, possession of drug paraphernalia, and felony possession of mushrooms. When I was arrested I was fingerprinted and had my picture taken. I entered into a consent decree with the judge, where basically the charges were suspended for 6 months and as long as I went to school and stayed off drugs the case would be dismissed. After successfully completing the decree, the case was dismissed and the charges were supposedly expunged. I was never convicted and never spent any time in jail. I know the laws say I will only be denied entry if I spent more than a year in jail or if I was ever convicted. I'm only concerned because I know America and Japan share access to the NCIC. When I land, does the slip that you have to fill out ask if you were ever arrested or if you were ever convicted? And when I go through immigration and they take my fingerprints, will they see these arrests even though they didn't end in a conviction? Thank you for any advice you're able to provide.
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
2,245
Reaction score
1,248
The slip you fill out changed a few years ago. Here is a link to the one you have to fill out now (at least, i think its still accurate).


It only asks about conviction history, history of deportation, and possession of firearms or drugs (in your baggage). I think you can truthfully declare no conviction, and not worry about tripping over the immigration system. I mean, if your record was expunged, you have no legal history of conviction.

If you have any documentation that supports the court order and any proceedings, you might take that paperwork with you in the highly unlikely event that this past event shows up on an immigration officer's screen.

Each case is different. Each officer's reaction has the potential to be different, so I wouldn't expect the consulate to give you a definitive answer. Your lawyer will probably hedge his answer too. But I don't think immigration is actively looking to catch people in technically paradoxical situations. I think you are likely to get responses that say, "Well...we don't know, so you will just have to go and be truthful on your declaration").

Anyway, that is my take.
 

2ndbakeryattack

Registered
Joined
5 Mar 2021
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
The slip you fill out changed a few years ago. Here is a link to the one you have to fill out now (at least, i think its still accurate).


It only asks about conviction history, history of deportation, and possession of firearms or drugs (in your baggage). I think you can truthfully declare no conviction, and not worry about tripping over the immigration system. I mean, if your record was expunged, you have no legal history of conviction.

If you have any documentation that supports the court order and any proceedings, you might take that paperwork with you in the highly unlikely event that this past event shows up on an immigration officer's screen.

Each case is different. Each officer's reaction has the potential to be different, so I wouldn't expect the consulate to give you a definitive answer. Your lawyer will probably hedge his answer too. But I don't think immigration is actively looking to catch people in technically paradoxical situations. I think you are likely to get responses that say, "Well...we don't know, so you will just have to go and be truthful on your declaration").

Anyway, that is my take.
Thank you for your insight, it eases my worries some. I think I should be fine, it's just extremely anxiety inducing thinking that I might get turned away at the border after spending thousands on plane tickets.
 

Uncle Frank

SECURITY
Admin
Joined
21 May 2003
Messages
11,347
Reaction score
1,277
Each state is different. If your records were "sealed" they may be open to view by some law enforcement agencies. If they are "expunged" their should be no record anywhere because they were destroyed/deleted. I would say you have a 98% chance of no problems.
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
2,245
Reaction score
1,248
Yeah, its not an irrational worry. As you probably read, we had a few other people with the same fear. The problem is that the authorities (consulate, etc.) won't or can't guarantee you entry, so even if you explain your situation they will only be able to say what Frank and I said above: "Should be OK, but who knows...you'll just have to come and find out".

I do think your chances of entering without any hassles are pretty high, though.
 
Top Bottom