General News

Nigella Lawson invited to apply for U.S. visa after boarding ban

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Apr 03, 2014 | 12:51pm EDT

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has been invited to apply for a visa if she plans to travel to the U.S. in the future after she was prevented from boarding a Los Angeles-bound flight over the weekend (29-30Mar14). The TV star, who is a judge on U.S. cooking competition show The Taste, was banned from travelling on British Airways Flight 283 from London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday (30Mar14), amid reports suggesting she had been denied permission to fly after confessing to taking cocaine during a high-profile court case last year (13). Lawson's representative has declined to comment on the speculation, but Lynne Platt, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in London, has confirmed that immigration officials had stepped in to halt the TV cook from boarding the plane. She did not offer up an explanation for their decision, but suggested Lawson should apply for a visa if she plans on making another trip to the U.S. Platt says, "We understand she has professional requirements for U.S. travel. These matters are generally handled routinely and expeditiously." British citizens do not need visas for vacation purposes, but are required to apply for work permits if they are travelling to the U.S. for business. The 54 year old has yet to address the controversy, but she took to her Twitter.com blog on Monday (31Mar14) to reveal she was taking a vacation in a remote location, writing: "Off line for a while enjoying the ultimate; a holiday break with no signal! Will miss you all though. Know I will be eating on your behalf". Lawson was forced to admit to using cocaine and marijuana in December (13), when she was questioned as a witness in the fraud trial of two of her former aides, sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, who were found not guilty. Police declined to launch a further investigation into Lawson's drug use and decided not to file charges.

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