In accordance with The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and its amendments, the Secretary of State has the authority to revoke a visa at any time. The State Department (DOS) has revoked visas based on receipt of derogatory information, such as an arrest (i.e., Driving Under the Influence (DUI)), without the need for conviction. The DOS also holds the authority to revoke nonimmigrant visas of individuals physically present in the United States.
Depending on the derogatory information obtained, revocations can occur through two (2) different branches of the DOS.
- For DUI-related arrests, DOS consular posts initiate the revocation process for nonimmigrant visa holders.
- For any arrests other than DUI, the Visa Office of Screening, Analysis and Coordination at the DOS headquarters initiates the revocation process for nonimmigrant visa holders.
Officially, the DOS maintains that a prudential revocation of a nonimmigrant visa becomes effective solely following a holder’s departure from the United States.
How this affects our clients:
In many cases, the DOS only sends notice of visa revocation if it “is practicable”. Nonimmigrant visa holders do not need to have received notice of visa revocation for the revocation to become effective. For DUI-related revocations, U.S. consular posts normally send a notice of visa revocation to the email address listed on the DS-160 form—it is crucial that this information is updated and accurate (sometimes, U.S. consulates will call the visa holder). To confirm the visa revocation, the individual can contact the relevant U.S. consular post.
While the DOS maintains that revocations of nonimmigrant visas become effective following a holder’s departure from the U.S., this has not always been the case. Some nonimmigrant visa holders’ applications for change of employer and extension of status have been denied because of prudential revocation of the individuals’ visa by DOS. Moreover, other individuals have had his/her nonimmigrant visas revoked and placed into removal proceedings (deportation). The DOS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are in communications to end these occurrences, and limit revocations to be effective only upon departure from the United States.
Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with questions and/or concerns you may have regarding this matter. Our offices will keep you updated on future developments.