Prince Harry could be denied re-entry to the US by any border official who was aware of his drug-taking admissions in his autobiography, legal experts have claimed.
The border officials could grill him on the admissions if he failed to declare it on his visa application form.
It means the Duke of Sussex could be stopped from returning to the US next month after his trip to London as he sues Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations of phone hacking.
The revelations come after it emerged the US government will appear in a federal court next Tuesday to answer questions regarding Harry’s visa application after he admitted taking cocaine, cannabis and magic mushrooms.
Washington DC-based think tank The Heritage Foundation is suing Joe Biden’s administration to force officials into releasing the Duke’s immigration files.
Prince Harry could be denied entry by any border guard who has read his admissions of drug taking in his autobiography, Spare, legal experts told DailyMail.com
Prince Harry is pictured after a night out at the Cuckoo Club in London in August 2006
This is the section of the visa application that Prince Harry would have had to fill in order to get into the United States
Raymond G. Lahoud, an immigration lawyer at Norris McLaughlin, told DailyMail.com that Harry could be barred from re-entering the US if he came up against the wrong border guard.
A CBP officer would not be able to quiz Harry on his previous drug use if he had declared it at the time of his visa application, since a decision would already have been made to issue a waiver.
It is not known whether Harry declared this.
‘Every time he comes into the US he is supposed to go through Customs and Border Protection (CBP),’ Mr Lahoud said.
‘Any person would be asked those questions and would be turned away if there is a clear record of drug use [that has not previously been declared].
‘If I am a customs agent, I have the right to answer whatever questions I want. If he has violated any law with regard to drug use, that’s grounds to be turned away, regardless of whether there was a conviction.’
Mr Lahoud added that he thought it was unlikely to happen even if Harry had not declared his drug-taking because he was not a ‘normal citizen’ – and agreed with The Heritage Foundation’s claim that he was ‘getting special treatment because is Prince Harry’.
The think tank is arguing that an explanation of how Harry got into the US – despite subsequent admissions of drug use – is in the public interest.
It also wants to know how Harry answered questions about his drug use on his application.
The case is set to be held in front of a federal judge on June 6 at 2.30pm at the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
It comes after the the think tank failed to make the application public using freedom of information laws in March.
Mr Lahoud said the case ‘could go either way’, but added that he thought the privacy of immigration records would trump the public interest argument – and the files would not be released.
He did say, however, that there is a risk that the publicity generated by the lawsuit would ‘put a big mark’ on Harry’s immigration file that could make it more difficult for him to renew his visa.
Mr Lahoud said if the Duke is found not to have declared his drug use on his visa application, it ‘should be rescinded’.
The Heritage Foundation published the legal complaint in the US earlier this month
Prince Harry at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on May 16 for the Ms Foundation event
In ‘Spare’ and the TV interviews that followed, Prince Harry admitted taking illegal drugs
In Spare, Harry revealed that he first took cocaine on a shooting weekend at age 17. He did a ‘few more lines’ on other occasions.
He also admitted to hallucinating during a celebrity-filled event in California and smoking cannabis after his first date with Meghan.
And the duke spoke about his ‘positive’ experience of psychedelic drug ayahuasca, saying it ‘brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a lightness that I managed to hold on to for a period of time’.
Harry made the comments in an interview with therapist Dr Gabor Maté, an outspoken supporter of decriminalizing drugs who has allegedly used Amazonian plant ayahuasca to treat patients suffering from mental illness.
Harry told him: ‘(Cocaine) didn’t do anything for me, it was more a social thing and gave me a sense of belonging for sure, I think it probably also made me feel different to the way I was feeling, which was kind of the point.
‘Marijuana is different, that actually really did help me.’
It is not known what sort of visa Harry has, but it could be a temporary non-immigrant one called an O-1 for extraordinary ability, which would expire after five years.
Under US law, non-citizens who admit to illegal drug use or have been convicted of drug offenses can be barred from the country.
If they admit to this, a waiver would likely be required to gain entry, but this can be a difficult and lengthy process.
This could involve undergoing a medical examination, including blood and urine tests, a chest X-ray and an interview to confirm whether the applicant was no longer taking drugs.
Kaitlin Davies, of specialist immigration firm Davies Legal, said a waiver can ‘take months’ to be granted, but would unlikely be tested ‘because the drug use admission does not appear to be recent use’.
She also said Harry could run into difficulties at border control.
‘Formal admissions of cocaine use, without exceptional circumstances, will likely prevent Harry from ever becoming a green card holder or US citizen,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘While the admissions in his book would not be “formal”, an interviewing officer could make them formal by questioning him, in a particular manner, on his claims of drug use.’
The Heritage Foundation has said the case will be held in front of a US federal judge on June 6
Can drug users be banned from visiting the United States?
US officials can stop foreigners who have committed drugs offences entering the country even if they have never been arrested and charged.
Under US rules, suspected drug users applying for a visa may be required to answer additional medical history questions and also take a medical exam to prove that they are not still a drug abuser before being allowed to enter the country.
In high-profile cases where celebrities who are known to have taken drugs want to come to America, they have been invited into the US embassy in London to take a drugs test.
Musician Pete Doherty was famously banned from the US due to drug-related arrests. In 2014 TV cook Nigella Lawson was banned from flying to the US after she confessed to taking drugs.
Amy Winehouse was denied a US visa in 2008 due to her well-documented drug addiction, causing her to cancel plans to attend the Grammy awards.
Kate Moss is also thought to have had US visa issues in the past after images of her snorting a white powder – thought to be cocaine – emerged in 2005.
She did, however, go to the US in 2009 to attend the opening of a new Topshop store in New York.
Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, revealed details of the upcoming case on Monday.
Speaking earlier this month, Mr Gardiner – a former senior aide to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher from 2000 to 2002, advising her on international policy issues – said the lawsuit was aiming to achieve ‘transparency and accountability.’
‘There is a very clear US public interest in ensuring Harry did not receive any favorable or preferential treatment by the immigration authorities,’ he added.
‘Any discrepancy between the details provided in his immigration application and the revelations of drug use in Spare would have serious implications for his legal status in the United States.
‘Harry should welcome the release of his immigration application so the public can see what was put in the application.’
DailyMail.com has contacted Harry’s representatives for comment.
Post source: Daily mail