Nigella Lawson has been barred from entering the United States following her admission that she took cocaine. The TV cook was humiliated when she was prevented from boarding a flight from London Heathrow to Los Angeles. Her U.S. career is now in doubt.
Although U.S. authorities have not confirmed why she was refused entry, the Daily Mail says it is highly likely that it is due to her drug taking, given that the U.S. can bar any foreigners it believes to have committed drug offences, even if they haven’t been charged.
A spokesman also told the paper that foreigners who had admitted committing drug offences, either in the U.S. or any other country, were deemed “inadmissible”.
He added: “In general, an alien found inadmissible will need a waiver of inadmissibility. Depending on the basis of their refusal they may be eligible to apply in advance of travel for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility. The waiver application process can be lengthy.”
Nigella’s celebrity status could have counted against her, with U.S. authorities seeking to make an example of her as a warning to other passengers.
A U.S. immigration lawyer said: “I strongly doubt that if someone who was not particularly notable made an admission in court proceedings about past drug use, it would come up.”
He confirmed that Nigella will eventually be able to get a visa, but the process may take some time. “I’m sure she can get a waiver. The typical wait time is about 20 to 25 weeks but you can get it done in a matter of days. You need to demonstrate a need for it to be handled quickly.”
Lawson was also previously allowed to fly to the States in the weeks immediately following her admission to taking drugs. She travelled to America on New Year’s Day to film a promotional interview for her series ‘The Taste USA’.
Her admission came when she gave evidence in the trial of her former housekeepers, who were accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from her and her former husband Charles Saatchi.
She confirmed that she had taken cocaine but denied ever being a habitual drug user. She said she needed it to deal with the death of her first husband and the behaviour of Mr Saatchi, her second.
Her marriage to Charles Saatchi broke down last year after the couple were photographed with Charles holding Nigella by the throat.
Lawson has never been arrested or charged for drug use by British police.