The U.S. Department of State recently issued a Guidance Directive on September 2, 2016, regarding nonimmigrant visa revocations for those arrested and/or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). This policy was initially implemented on November 5, 2015, and it mandates that consular officers revoke nonimmigrant visas of persons arrested for, or convicted of, DUI and DWI, or similar arrests/convictions within the last five years.
Challenging the Right to Revoke Nonimmigrant Visas
The consular officers are permitted to revoke the nonimmigrant visas without even making a determination as to whether the applicant is inadmissible.
The Department of State finds that driving under the influence can indicate possible visa ineligibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as it could be an indicator of “a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior that is likely to pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others in the future.”
In the past, in the interest of public safety, consular officers referred to any nonimmigrant visa applicant as “one alcohol-related arrest in the last five years, two or more arrests in the last ten years, or where other evidence suggesting an alcohol problem exists, to a panel physician for a medical examination prior to visa issuance in order to determine whether this type of ineligibility may apply to the applicant.”
Conditions Where Revocation Are Appropriate
However, under the new policy, in the case of a DUI arrest or conviction, consular officers may revoke the visa of an individual even if he or she is physically present in the U.S. Please note that this will not affect your legal status if you are in the U.S.
If you receive an email informing you that your nonimmigrant visa will be revoked, it will only serve as a travel restriction, as you will not be able to re-enter the country unless you return to the U.S. Consulate in your home country and get a new visa stamp. However, you will still be able to continue to work if on an H-1B visa or go to school if on an F-1 visa, etc. for the length of the validity of your Form I-94.
Find Legal Assistance from Our San Jose Immigration Lawyers
If you or your family member have ever been arrested for or convicted of a DUI or related crime and are planning to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, please contact Verma Law Firm to speak to an attorney about your case. Our lawyers are fully informed about the latest regulations and government requirements and can always help guide you through the visa application process.
For more details on the U.S. Department of State Guidance Directive, please visit: http://j1visa.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-03-GD-Visa-Revocation-FINAL-Sept-2016.pdf.