Drug Tests for Visa Applicants

Dear Realtor,

I have over two decades of experience in the practice of Immigration Law, so not often am I surprised by the decisions of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or of the U.S. Embassy officials in the many countries around the world in which I have made visa applications for clients. This week, however, was a new one on me.

One of my Colombian clients who went to his E-2 visa interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá the other day, informed me that he was told by Embassy officials during his interview that his visa approval will be dependent upon his submission of blood and urine samples for their testing. This is a client who has already been recently approved for an E-2 Treaty Investor status through a petition to the USCIS. An E-2 status and an E-2 visa are two different things, however, and we were making an application through the consular application process to obtain an actual E-2 Visa for him, which would allow him to travel more easily between the U.S. and Colombia.

The most likely reason that this mandatory requirement was placed upon my client is that, during his previous visit to the United States, he got into an alcohol-fueled physical altercation which resulted in his arrest. The charges were eventually dropped, but the Embassy officials no doubt were able to view this history. In a case in which a visa applicant has a history of violent behavior which resulted in injury to another, the applicant may be required to provide evidence that will allow the Embassy’s panel physician to decide whether or not the violent behavior was related to mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse. In this case, my client must submit to the testing of his blood and urine samples in order to be approved.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on this or other legal issues.


Don Gonzalez, Esq.






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