Do I have to go back home if my non-immigrant visa is revoked?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In the old days, it was very rare for the State Department to go back and revoke the visa of someone who is in the United States.
Now remember, a visa is just permission to enter the United States. So a lot of people will get a visa and sometimes they get a multiple entry visa, but sometimes they get a onetime visa. We see this a lot in the student context for J-1 visa holders and F-1 visa holders, but it could also apply to H-1B visa holders.
Typically, now what’s happening though is that we’re seeing a revocation of these, and so what happens is, let’s say that Sanjeet from India is on an F-1 student visa and Sanjeet is attending the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana, and Sanjeet gets caught at Walmart shoplifting $40.
Sanjeet forgot to run some things through the register and they caught him and arrested him.
What we’re seeing is that the State Department is actually actively monitoring people who are in the United States on non-immigrant visas, like student visas and work visas like H-1Bs, and then from the embassy overseas, they’re evoking non-immigrant visa and they’re doing it based on the arrest, not on the conviction.
Then we’ve even started seeing just flat out revocations for no criminal behavior, so at first we just started seeing it for shoplifting charges and then we started seeing it for DUI charges, and now we’re seeing it in some cases just for situations where people are here and their visa is revoked.
And so a lot of people freak out when that happens, and understandably so. You should, but the fact is that if you were admitted into the United States and they revoke your visa, you don’t necessarily have to leave right away if you are maintaining your status otherwise.
If you have an I-20, if your school hasn’t kicked you out on your F1 or you’re DS-2019 on a J-1, if you are still maintaining the studies that brought you here and or working at the job that brought you here, then you can continue to remain here.
Now, the next time you leave the United States, even if that’s just to Canada or Mexico or wherever, back to your home country, you’re going to have to go and get another visa.
The State Department has control over visas and over the revocation of visas. There’s nothing you can do here in the United States to get a new visa, you would have to go back to the embassy and you might get stuck outside the United States. I think that’s the biggest problem.
So in theory, if you’re on an F-1, you could complete your studies, get your OPT and get an H-1B and then eventually a green card all without ever leaving the United States.
And if you did that, then the revocation wouldn’t have any longterm impact on your ability to stay in the United States. But if you leave the United States, even if for just one day, that’s going to be the trick.
If you find out from the embassy, and this would typically be via email or a phone call, that your visa has been revoked, you’re going to need to talk to an immigration lawyer about your situation.
So if this is happening to you or someone that you care about, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at email@example.com.
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Thanks a lot. Have a great day.