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DUI Visa Revocations

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In a recent trend, many foreign nationals who have been convicted of a DUI in the United States have received visa revocation letters requesting that they leave the United States, return to their home country, and have their visas revoked. Some foreign nationals have received these revocation letters after a DUI arrest, but before an actual conviction, therefore depriving them of the opportunity to defend themselves against the DUI charge.

It appears that the government is basing the revocations on INA § 212(a)(1)(A)(iii), which provides that a foreign national is inadmissible to the United States for having a physical or mental disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the safety or welfare of people or property.

The American Immigration Lawyers Committee (“AILA”) is currently discussing this issue with government officials to determine how widespread it is. AILA plans to issue a practice advisory in the near future.  For now, it appears that the visa revocation does not mean that the foreign national is out of status, as the I-94, not the visa, governs status.  It is also likely that the revocation is not valid until the foreign national departs the United States.  If a foreign national does depart the United States and is required to reapply for a visa, he or she will likely need to appear before a panel physician who will recommend that the visa not be issued until the DUI is at least one year old.  Thus, if a foreign national’s I-94 enables him or her to stay in the United States long enough for one year to pass since the DUI arrest, he or she may be able to avoid a visa revocation.

Because each case is different, and because this issue is still developing, if you receive a visa revocation letter, we recommend that you contact the attorneys at Joseph & Hall P.C. for advice specific to your case.

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