Persons arrested for or convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated or having similar arrests/convictions within the past five years will have their nonimmigrant visas prudentially revoked by consular officers, per a U.S. Department of State (DOS) policy that was implemented in November 2015.
What is prudential revocation?
Per the DOS’ Foreign Affairs Manual,
“...Although consular officers generally may revoke a visa only if the alien is ineligible under INA 212(a) or is no longer entitled to the visa classification, the Department may revoke a visa if an ineligibility or lack of entitlement is suspected, or for virtually any other reason. This is known as a “prudential revocation.” “
Why DUI and DWI lead to prudential revocation of visas?
According to DOS guidance on this policy:
Driving under the influence indicates a possible visa ineligibility under INA 212(a)(1)(A)(iii) for a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior that is likely to pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others in the future. Consular officers refer any nonimmigrant visa applicant with one alcohol related arrest in the last five years, two or more arrests in the last 10 years, or where other evidence suggesting an alcohol problems exists, to a panel physician for a medical examination prior to visa issuance in order to determine whether this type of ineligibility may apply to the applicant. See INA 212(d); 22 CFR 41.108; 9 FAM 302.2-7(B)(3)(b).
While the DOS has the authority to prudentially revoke a visa when a person has been arrested for or convicted of driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated or similar arrests/convictions, the revocation will not apply if the arrest had happened prior to the visa application and the applicant has appeared before a panel physician for an assessment because of it. Alcohol related arrests for incidents like public intoxication that do not involve the operation of a vehicle do not fall under this category.
A prudentially revoked visa shows that the DOS monitors the person’s continued eligibility for the visa. A person who is arrested for an alcohol related crime and whose visa is revoked while they are in the U.S. can continue to stay until the visa is valid, as their nonimmigrant status is not affected. They cannot use the visa for reentry. Once a visa is revoked and the visa holder leaves the country, they need to apply for a new visa if they wish to enter the U.S. again. Inadmissibility or removability of the affected person comes into question only if they admit to committing the crime or are convicted of the crime.
The authority to prudentially revoke a visa is not limited to alcohol related arrests alone. If a visa holder is arrested for other crimes like domestic violence, their visa may be revoked.
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Immigration law can be complicated and this article does not exhaust all the information surrounding prudential revocation of visas. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to severe repercussions or other immigration penalties. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
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