It’s a nightmarish scenario: you’re traveling with the visa you know is valid, and yet you’re stopped and told there’s a mistake on your visa. It’s going to have to be labeled CWOP. You’ll have to apply for a new visa before you go anywhere. It can be confusing, disorienting, or even frightening. So here’s the pertinent info you need if your visa comes back with CWOP on it.
To get straight to the point, “CWOP” means “canceled without prejudice,” and though it might sound intimidating, it’s not the worst thing to see stamped on your visa. In layman’s terms, CWOP on a visa indicates that a visa has been cancelled due to a clerical error of some kind –– a mistake on the visa, or even duplicate in the system.
Still, seeing your visa canceled because of a logistical mistake might trigger some nervousness –– and that’s understandable. Fortunately, if a visa is labeled CWOP, the “without prejudice” aspect of the cancellation ensures that the cancellation of the visa will not preclude the holder from applying for or receiving another visa. This is because a cancellation is different from a revocation. Sometimes visas merely need to be canceled in order that a new one may be obtained. And sometimes it’s just that simple.
Here’s the rub, though.
When a visa is labeled CWOP, it is canceled and no longer viable for use as entry to the country. And while that cancellation won’t affect the next application for a visa, it does make another application necessary. So it opens a visa holder up to a new round of scrutiny and examination. If any of the terms of the previous visa have been violated (regarding employment, length of stay, or other conditions) then the next application for a new visa may be rejected. Because “without prejudice” only covers the clerical cancellation, it does not guarantee that someone whose visa has been marked CWOP will automatically receive a new visa when they apply –– only that the logistical mistake won’t be held against them on the next attempt.
So under the best of circumstances, a visa labeled CWOP might be an inconvenience; a mistake that wasn’t the holder’s fault, but ultimately one that needs to be rectified to acquire a new, functional visa. A hassle, irksome, but manageable. However, at worst, a CWOP stamp on your visa could preclude you from acquiring a new visa –– if you’ve violated the terms of your previous visa. And it can be difficult to know if you’ve even done anything outside the conditions of the visa (especially given the number of different visa classifications.)
If you find yourself in that situation, it’s time to contact the Pollak PLLC legal team. We will research your situation, and provide you with the care and quality representation you need.
Karen-Lee Pollak is the Managing Attorney at Pollak PLLC located in Dallas, Texas. She is a frequent speaker, author and blogger on immigration issues. She can be reached at karenlp@pollakimmigration