Millions of people enter the United States on tourist visas every year from many different countries around the world. Generally, tourist visas are approved for an individual to travel in the United States for a 3-6 month period. However, what happens to the tourist visa if the individual is arrested during this time period?
The individual’s tourist visa could be revoked under federal law which states that the Department of State can revoke a tourist’s visa “at his or her discretion”. This law gives the government broad discretion to revoke visas for numerous reasons including an arrest.
What Types of Arrests Could Result in the Revocation of My Visa?
The short answer is that any arrest could result in the revocation of a visa. Visa holders do not have the same degree of rights as legal permanent residents. Therefore, the Department of State can revoke a tourist’s visa for virtually any arrest even if there is no conviction.
However, there are certain arrests that could make the revocation of a visa more likely. Generally, all felony arrests will be prioritized for revocation. In contrast, misdemeanor cases could be looked at on a case by case basis.
There are certain misdemeanor crimes that qualify for prudential revocation or automatic revocation. Prudential revocation refers to the automatic revocation of visas for crimes that render the visa holder inadmissible or deportable under federal law. Examples of crimes that the Department of State generally classifies for prudential revocation includes DUI, Domestic Violence, Theft, and Fraud.
Difference Between “Arrest” and “Conviction”
There is a big difference between an arrest and conviction in immigration law. An arrest refers to a police officer’s determination that there is probable cause that an individual has committed a crime. In contrast, a conviction is a formal judgment of guilt which generally occurs if a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial.
While a visa can be revoked simply based on an arrest. In some cases, it could be possible to reinstate the visa or reapply if a dismissal or not guilty verdict is obtained rather than a conviction. In addition, avoiding a conviction could be significant to someone who leaves the United States and wants to come back in the future.
Will I Be Notified If My Visa is Revoked?
The Department should notify the visa holder by email or mail in the event that revocation takes place. However, mistakes are possible. In addition, the Department would need the correct e-mail or address of the individual for proper notification to occur.
What Should I Do If My Visa is Revoked?
If you, or anyone you know, has been arrested while in the United States on a tourist visa, you should call our office immediately. You need an attorney that is experienced in both criminal and immigration law.
An arrest is not a conviction. It is essential that you or your loved one aggressively pursue a dismissal or not guilty verdict in any criminal case that carries potential immigration consequences. The result of the criminal case could be the difference between you or your loved one remaining in or leaving the United States.
Visa revocation cases that are associated with pending criminal cases are complex and have a very strict timeline. Most individuals in this situation must attempt to obtain a positive outcome on their criminal case very quickly since they are often ordered to leave the country in the near future. An attorney can sometimes help extend the visa or handle the criminal case without the client physically present in the United States.
Your life and immigration status are too important to leave in your own hands or the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Call Hubbs Law now to schedule a consultation at our office immediately at 305-570-4802.