The United States Citizen and Immigration Services Department describes an F-1 Visa as a visa that "allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program." Some examples of individuals with F-1 Visas can include international undergraduate or graduate students as well as foreign exchange students.
If you are here on an F-1 Visa, you are likely balancing the struggles of adjusting to a new culture along with schoolwork and other professional responsibilities. Students living in the United States on an F-1 Visa are often driven to succeed and make a name for themselves within America. However, these plans can come to a halt when you find yourself facing a criminal hearing and a request for a restraining order.
What Is a Restraining Order?
The United States legal process can be difficult to comprehend and navigate alone. Although federal rules are in place, each state has different criminal statutes and procedures, and televised courtroom dramas are far from accurate. If you were served with a restraining order you must first understand what it is and then understand the ramifications it could have on your life.
In New Jersey, a restraining order is a court-ordered document that restricts a restrained party from contacting or approaching the party who filed the request for the order for a specified period. If ordered, restraining orders are strictly enforced by the court regardless of whether the parties reconcile or if the protected party contacts you on their own. Restraining orders can be filed by anyone, including coworkers, employees, partners, and even family members, and acquiescence. Although most restraining orders are filed due to domestic violence, they can also be filed due to claims of sexual abuse, harassment, stalking, threats, and kidnapping.
What Impact Will an Order Have On My Immigration Status?
Restraining orders can lead to serious consequences for an F-1 visa holder, affecting their visa status, eligibility for future visas, and United States Immigration Records. Some of these potential consequences are discussed below.
Crimes involving domestic violence, harassment, or abuse are taken very seriously in immigration proceedings and can lead to automatic deportation. While it may be an uphill battle for anyone, especially a non-citizen, to fight a restraining order, the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team can help you craft a defense unique to your circumstances and individual immigration story.
Visa Extension And Renewal Difficulties
An F-1 visa extension or renewal may be challenging to obtain if you have a restraining order on your immigration record. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services, the government body tasked with drafting and enforcing immigration standards, may view you as a potential threat to public national safety and ultimately deny your request to stay in the country. If your application is approved, you will most likely have to endure an extended application timeline because the government will need additional time to investigate the circumstances surrounding your restraining order.
What Are the Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order?
If you violate any of the terms of a temporary or final (permanent) restraining order, you can be held in contempt and even face fines and imprisonment. From an immigration standpoint, violating a restraining order will be a significant challenge to overcome and one that leads to deportation or affects your future ability to visit or stay in the United States.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Any criminal charges related to a restraining order can have a detrimental impact on your F-1 visa status, crushing your educational and professional dreams. Whether you are guilty of the alleged conduct or challenging the legitimacy of the restraining order, our Criminal Law Defense Team can help. Contact The Lento Law Firm today by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.