Substance abuse and the visa process
Ask the US Embassy

Question: My immigrant visa application was refused because the consular officer determined that I am ineligible due to substance abuse. Can you explain what this means?

Answer: If you have been found ineligible for a visa under Section 212(a)(1)(A)(iv) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and related federal regulations, you have been determined by the panel physician to have a substance use disorder. INA 212(a)(1)(A)(iv) provides that anyone who is determined (in accordance with regulations prescribed by the secretary of health and human services) to be a drug abuser or addict is ineligible for a visa and inadmissible to the United States.

Based on the results of your medical examination by the panel physician, you are ineligible for a visa until you have demonstrated at least one year of full and sustained remission. At the time of your refusal you will receive a refusal letter, which will direct you to contact the panel physician directly to initiate your medical reporting, and will provide the date after which you can resume your visa application process.

The panel physician will conduct random drug testing. If, during this period, a determination of drug abuse or drug addiction is made, a new 12-month remission period will begin from the date of your positive test. Please note, under this provision of US law, using cannabis in any form to include candies, meals, tea, inhalation, etc is also considered substance use.

We can continue processing your visa application when you demonstrate, through these regular medical reports from the panel physician, that you have achieved full and sustained remission for at least one year from your substance use disorder diagnosis. After we have reviewed your completed medical report, we will contact you to provide further instructions.

The latest information on our operating status can be found on our website at or by visiting Keep on top of embassy news on our Facebook page, and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general consular questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?