Ten reasons why your US visa could be revoked

Jamaican Members of Parliament Daryl Vaz and Phillip Paulwell may just have certain travelling privileges stripped as their US visas were recently revoked.

The two politicians now stand among thousands of people across the world who’ve had their visas withdrawn by the US Department of State (DOS), which oversees American embassies and consulates.

A section of the US Embassy on Old Hope Road in Kingston, Jamaica (Photo: jm.usembassy.gov)

While the exact reason for their visa revocation remains unclear, there are several instances where the US State Department deems the measure necessary — prompted by new material information which crops up after the original issuance.

According to the agency, this new information would immediately call into question whether the visa holder remains eligible for a visa or be admissible into the United States.

BUZZ presents 10 widely common instances where one’s visa could be revoked:

1. ‘Poison pen letter’

Yes, these things have happened, and no matter how outlandish, the consul is inclined to give credence to a letter addressed to the embassy from an ex-spouse, former business partner, ill-wisher, or jilted lover that accuses a visa holder of engaging in illicit activity or conduct inconsistent with the visa.

2. Arrest

An arrest for a variety of crimes can trigger visa revocation: driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), shoplifting, drug possession, domestic violence, selling alcohol to a minor.

This is true even if the charges are dismissed, or the underlying crime in and of itself is not an adequate basis to find a person inadmissible.

More often than not, the revocation request is sent out by the corresponding law enforcement agency to the Department of State, and within 24 hours, DOS will take action to revoke the visa.

3. Violations of visa status or conduct in the US inconsistent with representations in one’s visa process

Spending several months in the US in may trigger a suspicion of unlawful employment and a visa revocation. Additionally, giving birth in the US may lead to a consular contention of being a public charge and visa revocation. 

Providing misleading information during the visa process — such as indicating a proposed stay for two weeks and staying for several months — is another reason for a visa revocation.

A child who enrols in elementary school in the US without a student visa may lead to the revocation of the child’s visa, along with his parent’s.

4. Conduct after receipt of the visa but before travelling to the US

Applying for a visitor visa, receiving it, and then posting a resumé on an American recruiting website seeking a job is grounds for revocation. (Yes, consuls and their staff do such investigations.)

5. National security

Photo: Federal Bureau of Investigations

No-fly, terrorist, and a variety of other watchlists are constantly being updated. Not only do these lists encompass the individuals in question, but known family members, friends, associates and associates of the associates, as well. The revocation net is being widened.

6. A denied immigrant/non-immigrant visa application

A refusal of an immigrant visa may lead to the cancellation of a valid nonimmigrant visa.

Similarly, an individual applying for a student visa who is denied may have his valid visitor visa revoked because of the suspicion that he will use it to illicitly enroll in school in the US. 

What’s more, an individual applying for an employment visa who is refused may have his visitor visa revoked because of a consular belief that the individual will travel to the US and try to work anyway.

7. A failed nonimmigrant visa application of a family member

Picture a visa holder who wishes to travel to the US with her minor son, then applying for a visa for her son.  The consul could decide, upon investigations, to then deny the visa for the son, and suspecting that the holder does not plan to return to her home country, cancel the valid visa.

8. Family member(s) in the US engaging in suspicious conduct

  A spouse in the home country may be answerable with a visa revocation because her husband is spending an inordinate amount of time in the US in visitor status.

9. Inaccurate information in a visa application

After the issuance of the visa, the DOS verifies information in the application form.  Should the DOS is unable to verify that information — for example, the phone number or address listed for the employer is inaccurate — then the visa may be revoked.

It happens frequently with a third party, such as a travel agent or consultant, which sometimes negligently (or deliberately inaccurately) fills in a visa application form on behalf of the client.

10. Alien smuggling

While one may think of alien smuggling as the physical process of illicitly transporting individuals across the border, it also covers numerous situations and individuals.

Organisers of group trips to the US and employees of a travel agency sending tourists to the US may have their visas revoked if they are suspected of improperly facilitating travel for those who otherwise would not receive visas.