The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Office has recently issued new guidance to Consular Officers, instructing them to prudentially revoke visas for individuals in the U.S. who have been charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) related offense, unless the issue was already addressed in the initial visa application. Previously, visa holders who had already been issued visas and were present in the U.S. were not subject to visa revocation after the fact, and there were no consequences for DUI-related offenses until the time of the individual’s next visa application.
DOS receives information on arrests and convictions through U.S. government agencies’ electronic databases. If visa revocation is to occur, DOS is required to notify visa holders in writing where practical, prior to revocation. Visa revocation does not require an individual to immediately depart the U.S., assuming the individual has been admitted to the U.S. in lawful status with a corresponding valid unexpired I-94 arrival/departure record. However, visa revocation would invalidate all of the individual’s currently valid visas for any future travel to the U.S. Further, an individual who departs the U.S. would then need to re-apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad before being able to return to the U.S. If the individual is currently present in the U.S. when revocation occurs, s/he would need to present the visa at a Consulate abroad so that the visa can be physically cancelled.
It is well established that DOS has the authority to revoke a visa based on an individual’s arrest or conviction related to a DUI offense, as this may be indicative of visa ineligibility for a possible physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior (see Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(a)(1)(A)(iii)).
As always, it is imperative that clients continue to immediately disclose all criminal-related issues to their legal counsel so that potential immigration consequences and ineligibilities can be analyzed and addressed.
For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact your designated Gibney representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org.