Policy for Visa Applicants with Drunk-Driving History

The U. S. Department of States, on 10th June, 2007, announced a policy for visa applicants with drunk-driving or other alcohol related offence.
The policy puts forth a clear procedural statement for the individual applicants and the consular officers who handle such cases.
To start with, it is better for an applicant to submit all the details and information regarding any history consisting of drunk-driving arrests and/or conviction.
Nonetheless, the officers generally become aware of such cases after receiving the results of fingerprints taken when an applicant has a CLASS hit.
A drunk-driving conviction is not a statutory visa ineligibility, but it indicates that there is a scope of further investigation to determine if the applicant is ineligible under Section 212(a)(1)(A)(iii).
It also applies to those who have a physical or mental disorder.
It is also made sure that the individual does not demonstrate any behavioural pattern that would associate with the above disorder, which in turn may pose as a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the others.
In case of both Immigrant Visa (IV) and Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV), consular officers route them to what is called the panel physician for evaluation.
This happens in two circumstances:
1) an applicant has a single drunk driving arrest or conviction within the last three calendar years or two or more drunk driving arrests
2) an applicant has a single drunk driving arrest or conviction within the last three calendar years or two or more drunk driving convictions in any time period
In this evaluation process, it is checked whether there have been any drunk-driving arrests and/or conviction, and if there is a behavioural patter that assists with the same. It is also checked whether there is any case of mental disorder that went unnoticed previously.
For the NIVs, the evaluation must be done even if the panel physician is located in another city.
Evaluation for alcohol abuse or dependence is included in the evaluation for mental and physical disorders with associated harmful behaviour.
There are two criteria put forth by panel physician to find eligibility under Section 212 (a)(1)(1)(iii):
1) diagnosis of mental disorder that is associated with alcohol abuse.
2) current harmful behaviour associated with the mental disorder that is judged likely to recur in the future.

It is to be noted that neither of the above two criteria are sufficient to prove ineligibility by a Consular Officer without a panel physician evaluation.


Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

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