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Applying for an ESTA or B1/B2 visa?

Hello friends,

So I am looking for legal advice here. Some time ago I was arrested and convicted for owning and carrying a bb gun. It's a bb gun that shoots on gas, but I live in the Netherlands, and here that is considered a crime. The laws here on bb guns are very strict. Those things are legal in Germany and Belgium but of course not here...

So officially I was convicted for ''possession and carrying an illegal firearm'' (for a damn BB gun I know...).

Now here's the deal, in the future I might want to visit the USA. I have visited before and filled in the ESTA file for immigration. But now I am torn on this question on the file:

Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?

Now this is not my case, because I did not harm or threaten anyone just minding my own business. I only am convicted for possession of a bb gun. So technically I could fill in ''no'' on this question and it would be truthfull.

I know that the question on the file used to be: ''Have you ever been convicted for a crime of moral turpitude''. But they changed it to be more clear.

Now I know the term ''moral turpitude'' is a very broad and vague term. I did much research, and I can conclude that that carrying or possession of a firearm is NOT a crime of moral turpitude. Unless it is used in a violent way but this is not my case.

But here lies the problem, I heard some stories that when you have been convicted of any crime whatsoever, you need to get a traditional B2-Visa. In my case I would have to request this visa on the American consulate here in the Netherlands. Then they would review my case and decide on whether I get a visa or not.

I am torn on whether to request a visa traditionally, or just fill in the ESTA form and travel already to the states. Because filling in the ESTA form is much easier and quicker than requesting a visa.

The problem for me is that I am afraid that if I request a visa, that it might be denied. I am not inadmissable, because I did not commit a crime of moral turpitude. Also they will see in my criminal record that I only have been convicted once and it was for that stupid bb gun, not even a real gun.

Also I can prove my ties to the Netherlands, as I'm working as a civil engineer over here.

But I heard stories about people getting denied their visa just on the base of the fact that ''they were arrested once in their live no matter the reason''. And if that for some reason might happen to me.

The thing that keeps me from filling in the ESTA is that if for example I ever want to immigrate to the U.S. I have to request a visa and than they can see that I entered the U.S on an ESTA and then they might claim that I lied about having a criminal record. Even though my crime is not a CIMT and I can technically answer no the previous mentioned question on the ESTA.

I am really not sure on which route to take this, any advice would be very helpfull. Thanks in advance.

TL:DR: I was convicted for a crime which is not a CIMT. Should I use the ESTA or request a visa for travel to the U.S?

submitted by /u/thalegend3000
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