A Birmingham-based American lawyer has been inundated with calls for help after talking on television about the problems facing Britons visiting the US.
The British think that as they are close allies to the US that this somehow gives them special rights when passing through the US, Nilay Shastry (pictured), who heads the US emigration department at Birmingham law firm Blake-mores, believes.
He said: "There is misconception that a UK citizen can travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program simply because of their UK citizenship.
"A UK citizen can normally travel to the US for up to 90 days under the visa waiver program thus enabling them to holiday and conduct limited types of business.
"However, upon arrival in the US, a person traveling under the visa waiver program will have to complete an I-94W form.
"The first question on this form is whether they have been arrested, charged or convicted of a crime.
"If they answer "yes" to any of these questions there is a strong likelihood that they will be denied entry without a visa and returned back to the UK on the first available flight."
Because the system is not widely understood, many people are forced to cancel holidays and lose thousands.
"Even worse, they may have to face the embarrassment of telling their children at the airport that they cannot go to Disneyland because Daddy spent a night in jail after he got drunk and got into a fight," said Mr Shastry.
US immigration law also dictates that a person who was simply arrested but later released without being formally charged also needs a visa. The same applies to a spent conviction.
For those who are aware of the problem, applying for a visa is not an easy process.
One of the key concepts in assessing whether a person with a conviction will get a visa is whether the crime the person committed was a "crime involving moral turpitude".
These are crimes which are interpreted as inherently evil, vile or wrong.
In the UK this interpretation is much weaker than the US. According to the American interpretation, stealing a bar of chocolate or a video game as a child is the same as killing someone.
"Although the comparison may be silly, it is US law."
Mr Shastry said that although applying and obtaining a visa may be a cumbersome process it is not impossible.
But it does involve under-going an internview at the the US Embassy in London or Belfast.
"There are a few requirements to obtain a visa to the US in ordinary circumstances," Mr Shastry said.
"The US presumes that every person traveling to the US desires to move there on a permanent basis."