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Prince Harry’s US visa application in review by federal judge over drug use

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attends the "Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025's One Year to Go" winter training camp in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, Feb. 16, 2024. (Don MacKinnon/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Prince Harry’s visa application has been handed over to a federal judge in response to concern the royal was unfairly granted permission to reside in the United States given his previous admissions of drug use.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington D.C., sued for the documents after the Department of Homeland Security declined to make them public. On March 7, Judge Carl Nichols, of the Federal District Court in Washington, ordered the agency to turn over 39-year-old Harry’s papers, so he could determine whether or not they should be released.

In a court filing seen by Newsweek on Wednesday, the DHS said that it complied with the order “by submitting declarations with attachments for ex parte review” by way of encrypted link.

Certain visas on which Prince Harry could have entered the U.S. require applicants to answer questions about past drug use and drug-related legal violations. The Heritage Foundation, as a result, questioned how the Duke of Sussex managed to gain entry into the country given his public acknowledgment regarding his use of illicit substances.

The foundation argued that Harry either lied during the process or was given preferential treatment given the fact that his application was approved.

“[The case] comes about in the main because HRH [His Royal Highness] voluntarily — and for immense profit — admitted in writing to the elements of any number of controlled substance violations. (Indeed, some say HRH has approached the point of bragging and encouraging illegal drug use),” per a previous filing by the think tank.

“The Duke of Sussex did so despite the fact that it is widely known that such admissions can have adverse immigration consequences for non-citizens and despite employing preeminent legal advisors on both sides of the Atlantic,” the filing continues.

The documents are seemingly referring to Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” in which he admitted to using drugs including cannabis, cocaine, magic mushrooms and ayahuasca.

The DHS in response said releasing Harry’s application would be a breach of privacy.

“Courts consistently hold that a person’s visa or immigration status is private, personal information exempt from disclosure,” it said at the time. “Specifically, the records would reveal the types of documents that Prince Harry used to travel to the United States, his admission status, and any immigration, or non-immigration, benefits that he may have sought.”

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have been living in California since March 2020 and he has previously expressed interest in becoming a citizen.


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