In recent months, there have been numerous reports about visa holders’ visas been revoked by a U.S. embassy or consulate after the visa holder was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the United States. This is a new trend, and you will be subject to revocation even if you were not convicted for the DUI. So, all visa holders, be aware and be careful!
It used to be that a simple misdemeanor DUI would not adversely affect your visa application, though you need to disclose the fact and provide appropriate criminal reports, and in some case, a medical examination report. However, now many people are receiving revocation notices, even before they are officially convicted of the crime. The visa holders are notified of such revocation via email or mail, but depending on what email or mail address one has on the government’s profile, some visa holders do not receive or do not see the notice. If you do not realize your visa is revoked, you will be stopped either at the airport or at the immigration checkpoint.
If you already have an arrest record for DUI, here are a few pieces of advice:
- Check your emails including the spam folder
- Check your mailbox and if possible contact people living at your previous address
- Make sure the government has your current contact information by checking your online account with the embassy or consulate, and update your address with USCIS if you haven’t done so already.
No details about this new trend has been released by the official government agencies. However, from what I have seen with my clients and other conversations in the immigration community, the following seems to be happening:
- People who were arrested before mid 2015 seem to be unaffected by this new trend
- People with other criminal records that do not affect their admissibility seem to be unaffected by this new trend
- It is still possible to reapply for the visa, though you will be asked to conduct a medical examination
Please note that every case is different, so if you are in this situation, carefully consult with an immigration attorney before you take any action to leave the U.S. or to reapply for a new visa. The American Immigration Lawyers Association is working with the government to better understand the situation. Stay tuned for more updates.