Foreign nationals who are visiting or working in Arizona on a non-immigrant visa could have their visa revoked if they are charged with drunk driving. The Department of State may revoke a person’s visa once it learns that the person was so charged , even before there has been any determination of guilt. Other incidents that could be grounds for visa ineligibility or inadmissibility do require a determination of guilt.
The information about the DOS’ policy towards drunk driving charges was released earlier in 2106 when the DOS made all of the unclassified content in its latest Foreign Affairs Manual public. The ninth edition of FAM specifies that ‘prudential revocation” may be used to revoke a visa for potential ineligibility due to a DUI charge.
Under the prudential revocation policy, the DOS may revoke a visa as soon as it learns about a DUI-related charge from local law enforcement. Though visa revocation does not necessarily require a person to leave the United States, the DOS has ordered former non-immigrant visa holders to leave the country immediately after they have had their visas revoked. The new guidance will make a person ineligible for a non-immigrant visa based on suspected mental or physical health reasons.
The new prudential revocation policy could be of concern to non-immigrant visa holders who drive regularly. Under the new policy, there is the potential for a person to lose a non-immigrant visa after being falsely charged for DUI. An attorney may be able to represent a non-immigrant visa holder and assist in having the charge dismissed.