An allegation of driving under the influence (DUI) is no laughing matter. If convicted, a first-time offender can face up to six months in jail, suspension of their driver’s license, and hefty fines. The consequences are even more serious for others, however. According to recently released guidance by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) nonimmigrant visa holders – those who maintain a permanent residence in another country, but wish to stay in the United States on a temporary basis – can be subject to revocation of their visa, even without a finding of guilt.
Consequences for Immigrants With DUIs are Harsh
Philadelphia immigration lawyers say that the prudential revocation policy, as set forth in Volume 9 of the DOS Foreign Affairs Manual, must be taken seriously by all nonimmigrant visa holders. The DOS has always possessed the ability to revoke a visa or deny a visa application based upon physical or mental health-related concerns raised by the agency. According to the DOS’s new position, an arrest or conviction for DUI qualifies as sufficient grounds for deeming a visa holder ineligible for continued residency in the United States. Previously a nonimmigrant visa holder convicted of DUI was required only to submit a medical report by a treating physician, and even then only upon renewal of the visa.
Some nonimmigrant visa holders may simply be in the United States on an extended holiday, and thus the revocation of their visa may be little more than an expensive inconvenience. However, for others, such as students and professionals, the loss of their nonimmigrant visa can be extremely detrimental. When arrested for DUI, it is imperative that nonimmigrant visa holders who intend to stay in the United States on a long-term basis immediately contact a Philadelphia immigration lawyer. Since local law enforcement will directly notify the DOS of the charges, it is better for a nonimmigrant visa holder to be represented by counsel and fully-prepared to fight to stay within this country.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Represent Nonimmigrant Visa Holders
The new guidance by the DOS makes clear that the federal government is taking no chances with the mental and physical health of those who apply for nonimmigrant visas. If you are the recipient of such a visa and have recently been charged with DUI, the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can help. Call us at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.