Marijuana Use Impact Immigration Visa & Entry to U.S.

Marijuana use, even if legal, puts you at risk of being found inadmissible to the United States.  If you are using marijuana legally because you have a medical marijuana card or marijuana use is legal in your country, you can still be denied a visa or entry to the United States.

If the Department of State, through its U.S. consulates and Embassies, or the Department of Homeland Security, through any of its three bureaus–U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)– determine you have violated marijuana laws, your eligibility for any immigration-related benefit such as a visa, lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship could be impacted.

In addition, both USCIS and consular officers may have access to an applicants’ social media account, so please think twice before posting anything related to marijuana on social media. Click here to learn more about immigration collection of social media account and information.

If a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer determines you have violated any marijuana-related laws when crossing the border, this may result in seizure, fines, and/or arrest and you may not be allowed to enter the country. CBP officers can inspect automobiles and anything you are carrying when you cross the border, including your mobile phone. Click here to learn more about immigration officers inspection of cellphones at the airport.

Lawful permanent residents (aka “green card holders”) are not exempt from this law. Depending on the circumstances, violation of federal marijuana laws can make a lawful permanent resident deportable.  Also, a lawful permanent resident legal use of marijuana and admission to using marijuana (even if legal) can lead to denial of a U.S. Citizenship application.

If seeking entry to the U.S., there are two grounds of inadmissibility to worry about if you’ve ever used marijuana without being convicted of a crime for doing so.

Health-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility

When completing your immigration medical exam (required for all immigrant visas, but not usually for nonimmigrant or temporary visas), the doctor must determine whether you are inadmissible because you have:

  1. a current physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior
  2. a past physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior if the harmful behavior is likely to recur or to lead to other harmful behavior in the future, or
  3. a problem with drug abuse or addiction (medically called “dependence”).

(These grounds of inadmissibility are found in Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(1)(A)(iii) and (iv).)

Criminal Grounds of Inadmissibility

Possession of marijuana for any purpose, including personal use, is still a crime under U.S. federal law. Even if the federal government did not convict you of a marijuana offense, immigration law makes you inadmissible if you admit having committed, or admit committing acts that constitute, the federal offense of possessing marijuana.  If you tell the doctor at your visa or adjustment of status medical exam that you’ve used marijuana, you may have admitted a federal offense.  Also, if you admit to the immigration officer during your interview that you legally use marijuana or work in a marijuana facility, then you may have admitted a federal offense.

(This ground of inadmissibility is found in Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II).)

For more information on Marijuana Use Impact Immigration Visa & Entry to U.S.,

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