Marc was a holder of a 10- year United States multiple entry visitor’s visa issued in 2005. Since its issuance, Marc would visit his daughter, Marissa, who is a student in a California university. This year, Marissa is finally going to graduate and Marc would like to attend her graduation ceremony.
Unfortunately, Marc received a notice from the US Embassy consular section informing him that his visa was revoked last month. He is being asked to go to the embassy so the consulate can physically cancel the visa. In this letter, he was told that he may no longer use his visa even if it still has a remaining validity period of five years.
Marc’s prior immigration history many years back may have caused the revocation of his visa.
The Department of State, through the consular officers, is given the discretion to revoke and cancel visas. A new regulation issued April 27, 2011 reinforces this this power and eliminates the visa holder’s ability to request reconsideration of a revocation. It also allows the consular officer to revoke the visa without notice if it is “impracticable” to notify the visa holder.
According to the new regulation, “security concerns” were taken into account in justifying additional authority and wider discretion to consular officers.
There are statutory grounds that allow revocation of an already issued visa. When a consular officer receives derogatory information that renders the visa holder ineligible for the visa that he currently holds, a revocation of the visa may take place. There must be an actual finding of ineligibility to support the revocation.
Aside from eligibility and national security grounds for revocation, the other enumerated grounds for revocation include: the visa holder was ordered excluded from the US, permission was requested and given to the visa holder to withdraw his application for admission, and, a prior nonimmigrant waiver granted was withdrawn.
Consular officers can revoke visas immediately while considering facts determining grounds for ineligibility. This is called the “provisional revocation.” Generally, notice of revocation will be provided to the visa holder but only “if practicable.” This means that even if the visa holder is not yet notified, his visa may be considered revoked provisionally. Once the revocation is entered into the State Department’s Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), the visa is no longer valid for travel.
When the findings of the consular officer become final to warrant a revocation, after a provisional revocation, the visa holder is notified and will be asked to submit the issued visa to be stamped with the word “REVOKED”. The rules are clear that if the visa holder does not surrender the visa for physical cancelation, the finding of revocation still stands.
Since 1997 judicial courts have been divested of jurisdiction to review the findings of the consular officers with regard to revocation of visas. The latest regulations considers the findings of revocation final. The visa holder who believes that the visa is revoked without sufficient basis may then re-apply for another nonimmigrant visa. In this new application, he will be afforded an opportunity to prove his eligibility for the re-issuance of the visa that was previously revoked. This will require the applicant to be in possession of countervailing proof of eligibility.
Each year it has become increasingly complicated to obtain visas for some people who are truly deserving. Fraudulent applications as well as abuse in the use of nonimmigrant visas are the reason for the stricted regulations. A nonimmigrant visa holder should understand the value of having one and make sure that it is used properly.
(Tancinco may be reached at [email protected] or at 02 8877177 or at 02 721 1963).