Dec
11
2017

International Student: Immigration Consequences of Criminal Charges

Consider the following scenario: Jacques is a foreign national and is admitted to a university in the United States. He goes to the US consulate in his home country to apply for the visa. After all the paperwork is in order and he is deemed to be admissible to the US, he is granted a visa. With that visa, he can enter the US, attend school as an international student, and travel home to visit over the holidays, re-entering the US for the next semester at school.

However, let’s assume Jacques is arrested for Driving Under the Influence, or Possession of Marijuana and Paraphernalia. Not to worry, the police officer tells him, and perhaps even his lawyer tells him, because he is eligible for a first-offender program which places him on probation without a conviction on his record. He is told to just stay out of trouble and pay the fine, and that will be the end of it.

Unfortunately, many international students learn the hard way that they face the prospect of having their student visas revoked and being deemed “inadmissible” to the United States. Even though their offenses may be misdemeanors and they receive minimal punishment, immigration laws are strict with regards to alcohol and controlled substance offenses. Some students may get notice that the visa has been revoked, while others may not learn until they attempt to return to the US after visiting home.

A foreign national charged with a crime should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is well versed in immigration law, or who will consult with an immigration attorney, as soon as possible- even if charges have not yet been filed, because an attorney may be able to engage in helpful negotiations with law enforcement or prosecutors. After charges are filed- the “crimmigration” attorney can work to help Jacques resolve the charges in a way that minimizes his immigration consequences as a international student and in the future.

If Jacques does receive notice that his visa has been revoked, he should consult with an immigration attorney before traveling outside the United States. The attorney can help him decide whether he should return home to apply for a new visa, and if he does, how best to present himself during that process.

If you are an international student at Penn State or Lock Haven University and you have had contact with law enforcement, call to schedule an appointment with the immigration and criminal defense attorneys at The Mazza Law Group, PC.

International Student: Immigration Consequences of Criminal Charges was last modified: December 11th, 2017 by Joseph Swartz