The Department of State has implemented a new rule that allows consulates to revoke visas for mere DUI arrests while in the United States. This means that even prior to going to court and being convicted of driving under the influence, your visa can be revoked. Notifications of revocation are typically sent out via email, but can take weeks to get to you due to a lengthy interagency process. Thus, travel after an arrest for DUI is not recommended.

While the consulate has revoked your visa, this does not mean you have to leave the United States. The visa has been revoked, but your status has not. This means you can continue to take advantages of all aspects of your visa while you are in the United States, but you will not be readmitted into the country and will be required to obtain a new visa prior to returning.

If this offense happened within the first five years of being issued a visa, you will go before a panel of physicians. The physicians will decide if you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. If your DUI occurred within the year preceding your application for a new visa, they can automatically deny the visa. The visa denial will be based on medical reasons (unhealthy relationship with alcohol) not based on criminal charges.

An individual who is here on a visa and is arrested for a DUI should remain in the United States for as long as legally possible. Consultation with an immigration attorney is essential in determining the best avenues for you to remain in the United States. This will postpone the date that you will need to request a new visa before the consulate and give you time to pass the 1 year automatic denial and prove your case for rehabilitation.