May 20, 2016 – The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Office has recently instructed consular officers to revoke the visas of visa-holders following a DUI (driving under the influence) arrest that occurs subsequent to visa issuance. A visa is the physical stamping within an individual’s passport that permits entries to the United States in a corresponding status. The new requirement is that all arrests must be addressed within the context of a visa application.
In the past, revocation of an already issued visa was not standard procedure after a DUI arrest. Previously, the DUI arrest did not affect a visa-holder until it was time to renew the visa. Now, as per 9 FAM 403.11-3(A), a visa officer is obligated to revoke a visa for a DUI arrest or conviction, even after the visa has been issued.
A visa revocation does not affect a visa-holder’s ongoing status in the U.S., and it does not require an individual to depart the country. It may, however, create serious problems for visa-holders when they travel abroad following the arrest and attempt to re-enter the U.S. Procedurally, the fingerprinting conducted by the local law enforcement alerts the DOS officials of the arrest, and based upon that notification of an arrest, DOS is now obligated to cancel the visa.
We reiterate that the revocation does not affect the individual’s on-going status within the U.S., nor does it obligate the individual to depart the U.S. Yet, if the individual does depart following the arrest and the visa is revoked, they will be unable to re-enter the U.S. until they apply for a new visa through U.S. Consular services outside the U.S. Within the context of that interview, full disclosure of the arrest will be presented. These individuals will not be allowed to enter until the new visa is issued.
For more information on U.S. Visa Revocations contact Green and Spiegel.