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U.S. State Department May Revoke Non-Immigrant Visas Due to DUI Charges

Based on a recently released policy from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), foreign nationals who are visiting or working in Austin, Texas on a non-immigrant visa may face severe consequences if arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The DOS may revoke a foreign national’s visa once it learns that he or she has been charged with DUI, even before there has been any determination of guilt.

The Prudential Revocation Policy

The details of the new prudential revocation policy were released earlier in 2016 through the unclassified content in Volume 9 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).  According to Volume 9 of FAM, the DOS “has the authority to prudentially revoke a visa” when it receives notification of “an arrest or conviction of driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, or similar arrests/convictions that occurred within the previous five years.”

The Growing Concern for Drunk Driving

The new prudential revocation policy arose out of the DOS’ increased concerns for drunk driving and other DUI-related offenses. This new policy reflects a more aggressive approach to DUI concerns, in comparison to its approaches in the past.

Through the prudential revocation policy, the DOS can immediately revoke an otherwise valid non-immigrant visa upon being notified of a DUI arrest. The DOS can revoke a foreign national’s visa even while he or she is still in the U.S., based on the suspicion that he or she is ineligible for a visa on physical or mental health-related grounds.

New Rules for Visa Applicants with DUI Charges

Before the prudential revocation policy, the DOS only required a foreign national to submit a physician’s report related to a previous DUI conviction. After submission of the physician’s report, a foreign national will be issued a new visa while he or she is outside the U.S. at a consular post.

Now that the prudential revocation policy is being enforced, all foreign nationals with DUI arrest charges are at risk. Unlike other grounds for ineligibility or inadmissibility for a visa, a guilty DUI conviction is not required. It is enough for a foreign national to be arrested for any DUI-related offense, of which the DOS is directly notified by local law enforcement.

The DOS has already issued notices to foreign nationals arrested for DUI-related offenses, requiring them to leave the U.S. at once and report to their corresponding consular post overseas.

The new prudential revocation policy could be of concern to many non-immigrant visa holders who regularly drive vehicles. If you or someone you know needs assistance regarding the matter, do not hesitate to contact Lyttle Law Firm by visiting our website or calling 512-215-5225.

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