In a recent meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the U.S. State Department (DOS) announced that it will more closely scrutinize and monitor visa applicants and visa holders who have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
Consular officers have long been authorized to refer visa applicants with DUI arrests to panel physicians for further evaluation before issuing a visa, and DOS has indicated that this will happen more frequently. More significantly, DOS also stated that consular officers will revoke the visas of individuals arrested for DUI post-visa issuance.
Both DOS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) consider DUI arrests and similar arrests, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), to be evidence of a potential physical or mental disorder that could make the applicant inadmissible to the U.S. An applicant with a diagnosed “alcohol use disorder” is inadmissible to the U.S. if there is also current associated harmful behavior or past associated harmful behavior that is likely to recur. The agencies consider operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated to be “associated harmful behavior” for this purpose.
Finally, it important to note that this additional scrutiny will apply to arrests for DUI and “related offenses;” this potential ineligibility does not require a conviction.
If you have any questions about these changes and their potential impact on your ability to travel to the U.S., please contact us.
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