What is a prudential revocation of visa?
When an individual enters the United States, he or she generally enters lawfully through a nonimmigrant visa stamp issued at a consulate overseas. “Prudential revocation” is defined as the right of the U.S. Department of State to revoke such visas “if an ineligibility or lack of entitlement is suspected, or for virtually any other reason,” despite consular officers generally being limited to revoking a visa “only if the alien is ineligible under Immigration and Naturalization Act (‘INA’) Section 212(a) or is no longer entitled to the visa classification.” The U.S. Department of State has prudentially revoked visas on the basis of derogatory information—including arrests—without an associated conviction or admission. A prudentially revoked visa forces a convicted individual who leaves and reenters the United States to reapply for a new visa and potentially face inadmissibility or removability.
Scope of the prudential revocation policy
Beginning November 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of State is entitled to prudentially revoke visa stamps for individuals convicted, or even arrested, for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. As justification, the U.S. Department of State takes the position that DUI and DWI arrests are indicative of ineligibility for a visa due to a possible physical or mental disorder associated with harmful behavior. Consequently, individuals with such convictions are no longer be able to reenter the United States the next time they travel abroad. In 2018, the Department of State confirmed an expansion of its prudential revocation policy, explaining that it “prudentially revokes a visa when it receives information that a visa holder has been arrested for any crime, including domestic violence, that may result in a visa ineligibility.”
The U.S. Department of State only sends a notice of visa revocation when it is practicable. Noncitizens who do receive a notification that their visa may be revoked may have an opportunity to present evidence to overcome the prudential revocation.
Because the prudential revocation policy carries serious consequences for noncitizens, including court-ordered removal, it is highly recommended that you speak with a knowledgeable professional about the consequences of a DUI or a related criminal offense on your immigration status.
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