Skip Navigation

VIS Guidance on Recreational Marijuana Use

Visa and Immigration Services would like to remind all of our international students, faculty, staff, and scholars, that although the state of New York has legalized recreational use of marijuana for individuals 21 and older, the possession, use and distribution of marijuana is still prohibited under federal law.

It is important to note that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has previously issued guidance that violations of federal law involving marijuana could affect an international student, scholar, or employee’s immigration status or the naturalization process, even in cases where those actions do not violate state law. Individuals found to have violated marijuana federal laws could find themselves permanently ineligible for permanent residence. VIS does not advise on permanent residency, and therefore recommends you review the USCIS guidance and speak with an immigration attorney if you have questions about this specific restriction.

Prohibitions on marijuana also remain in effect for all colleges and universities which receive federal funds. That means all forms of marijuana remain illegal on campus property (campus property includes all indoor and outdoor locations). Additionally, smoking marijuana on university property violates the Tobacco-Free policy.

It is important for visitors who are not U.S. citizens to understand the implications that possession or use of marijuana could have on their immigration status, visa applications, or their ability to enter the United States. Due to the information above, VIS strongly advises international visitors to abstain from the use of marijuana throughout their time in the United States.