If a foreign national with a U.S. visa breaks the law they may be subject to "prudential nonimmigrant visa revocation", and lose their right to maintain or renew that visa. If this occurs, and if the foreign national wishes to continue residing in the United States, they must undergo careful evaluation and be deemed admissible by a consular officer.
Due to recent policy changes, the Department of State has begun issuing visa revocations at lower standards. This can cause unnecessary complications for visa holders who, due to confusion from messages received from the Department of State, leave the country believing they are out of status.
On April 7, 2016, during a meeting between the State Department and the American Immigration Lawyers Association it was discovered that prudential nonimmigrant visa revocations were being issued for DUI arrests. This was based on the argument that visas should not be issued to anyone with a "physical or mental disorder", which is a stark difference from the previous obligation to obtain a report from a physician in order to revoke the visa for that reason. The change of policy is alarming, as it suggests that minor arrests may be enough to flag an individual for inadmissibility.
While inadmissibility or visa ineligibility require a conviction, the State Department has begun issuing visa revocations based on "information of the arrest only." This can be problematic if the visa holder is innocent, as arrests can be made in error. Thus, foreign nationals have mistakenly been issued visa revocation notices.
Even though a visa holder is allowed to remain in the United States for the previously appointed period, many are being contacted by consular posts with orders to leave the country to restart their visa application. Their self-deportation is causing administrative havoc, which could prolong their reentrance date indefinitely.
Furthermore, if a foreign national believes he must leave immediately, his departure may affect a current criminal case. Thus, if the arrest alone does not prevent a visa holder from renewing his visa, his mistaken abandonment of an ongoing case will.
Due to the ever changing immigration laws we strongly suggest that any non-citizens with arrests or who receive contact from the U.S. government about prudential nonimmigrant visa revocations consult an immigration lawyer. Here at Grzeca, our lawyers are highly experienced and capable of assisting individuals with complicated criminal and immigration cases. If you or someone you know needs assistance in retaining their visa status please contact Grzeca Law Group at (414) 342-3000 to set up a consultation.