DUI on a Nonimmigrant Visa

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense that is taken very seriously by authorities in every state of the U.S. While a DUI conviction can come with harsh penalties, the consequences can be significantly more severe if you are not a U.S. citizen. If you are arrested for DUI, and you have a nonimmigrant visa, it is critical that you seek help from an experienced immigration lawyer immediately.

Why Does the U.S. Embassy Revoke Visas if Someone is Arrested for DUI

Generally, only felonies, crimes of moral turpitude, or drug-related offenses will result in deportation or other types of serious immigration consequences. So, why does drinking and driving result in the revocation of a visa?

In 2016, the Department of State instituted a new policy regarding DUI and nonimmigrant visa-holders. The policy requires the “prudential revocation” of a visa when a nonimmigrant is accused of DUI. This is not based on the same justification as crime-based immigration consequences. Instead, the visa revocation is based on mental or physical health reasons - i.e., alcohol abuse. The policy connects drinking and driving with mental or physical health issues, which can trigger an immediate visa revocation.

This policy does not require the deportation of the visa-holder, but revocation does render your visa stamp invalid. This means if you apply for a visa extension or leave the U.S. and try to reenter, you can be denied based on your invalid visa. Many people might not realize their visa has been revoked until they face one of these situations. If you try to reapply for a visa to enter the country, you can also be denied.

Why Does the U.S. Embassy Revoke Visas if Someone is Arrested for DUI

You do not have to be convicted of DUI to have your visa revoked, as it is the DUI arrest that can result in the loss of your visa privileges. Your visa can be revoked under the new policy, even if you are never found guilty of the offense, as well as the visas of your spouse and children.

When you are arrested by a law enforcement agency in the U.S., the information regarding your arrest goes into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. The U.S. Consular officers receive regular reports of arrests of foreign nationals, and they will automatically revoke a visa if they learn of a DUI arrest. While the officers are supposed to contact visa-holders to inform them of the revocation, this does not always occur for various reasons.

Why Does the U.S. Embassy Revoke Visas if Someone is Arrested for DUI

If you are in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa and have been accused of DUI or any other crime, it’s imperative that you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, the assistance of an attorney can help mitigate the consequences you are facing and help you regain your visa. To schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer at Ray Law International, call our office today at (312) 667-2625 or contact us online.

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