List of people barred or excluded from the United States

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The following is a list of notable people who are, have been or were barred from entering the United States. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handles deportation in the United States, often in conjunction with advice from the U.S. Department of State.[1] Such bans are often temporary, depending on the circumstances of each case, however, anyone previously deported or denaturalized is automatically barred from re-entering the United States without a waiver issued by the U.S. Department of State.


Individual Nationality Reasons for ban
Denzil Douglas  Saint Kitts and Nevis Former Prime Minister of the federation of St Kitts-Nevis Denzil Douglas has had his visa to enter the United States revoked in January 2015. This was because of his lax citizenship by investment controls which allowed for the participation of illicit actors, including individuals intending to use the secondary citizenship to evade US sanctions, were then obtaining SKN passports with relative ease. [2]


Hamid Aboutalebi  Iran Iranian diplomat and envoy to the United Nations, denied a visa in April 2014 to enter the United States because of his role as a translator for the militants who stormed the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 American citizens hostage for 444 days.[4]
Gerry Adams  Ireland Irish republican, later President of Sinn Féin, was denied a visa on several occasions[5] on the grounds that he refused to renounce violence.[6] Adams was granted a limited (48-hour) visa in January 1994, and would visit the U.S. on several further occasions. In 2006, however, Adams was denied a fundraising visa by the US government.[7]
Lily Allen  United Kingdom
British singer, banned in 2007 from the U.S. after her U.S. work visa was revoked following her arrest earlier the same year on charges of assaulting a photographer in London.[8] She regained a US work visa in October, 2008.[9]
Luke Angel  United Kingdom
A British teen who sent a curse-laden e-mail message to the White House directed at President Barack Obama and was subsequently banned for life from entering the United States. Bedfordshire Police visited Angel at his home in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, and Angel, who was 17 at the time of the incident, admitted to sending the e-mail, although he claimed he could not remember what he wrote. No criminal action against Angel was taken in the UK.[10][11]
Kurt Blome Germany/ Germany Blome, a German microbiologist and Nazi scientist, was acquitted at Nuremberg. In 1951, he was hired by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps under Project 63, one of the successors to Operation Paperclip, to work on chemical warfare. His file neglected to mention Nuremberg. Denied a visa by the U.S. Consul in Frankfurt, he was employed at European Command Intelligence Center at Oberursel, West Germany.[12] Blome died in 1969.
Boy George  United Kingdom
British singer and fashion designer. Boy George (real name George O'Dowd) was denied a visa in 2008 by US immigration officials while facing trial in the UK in November of that year. The singer had been ordered to clean the streets of New York as community service in 2006 after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary. An official statement from his management said: "At the moment, Boy George cannot come to the United States of America because he has been refused permission to enter by the USA Administration. This is not in respect of anything he has done in the past but because he is facing a trial in November in London for something that happened in April last year."[13] On 5 December 2008, O'Dowd was convicted in Snaresbrook Crown Court, London, of the assault and false imprisonment of a paid sex partner (male escort) in the singer's apartment on their first encounter.[14] On 16 January 2009, O'Dowd was sentenced to 15 months in prison for these offences.[15] For this O'Dowd was again denied entry to the United States.[16] The ban was lifted in 2014.[17]
Hortensia Bussi de Allende  Chile Widow of Chilean President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown, was barred from entering the United States when she attempted to do so in 1983.[18] Bussi de Allende died in 2009.
Pete Doherty  United Kingdom
British singer, with numerous drugs-related arrests, denied entry into the United States in June 2010, after spending 10 hours in detention in New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, despite having a visa.[19]
Kyle Falconer  United Kingdom
Scottish lead singer for The View. In 2007 he was convicted of possessing cocaine, resulting in the cancellation of the band's US tour.[20] The View had been refused entry to the US, prompting public claims from Falconer that they are permanently banned from both America and Japan. In interviews since the conviction, however, the band have insisted that drugs are no longer an issue and were hoping to tour the States in the near future. Permission for the band to tour the US was granted in 2011.[21]
William "Leffen" Hjelte  Sweden Swedish professional Super Smash Bros. Melee player barred from entering the United States in 2015 just before The Big House 5 tournament based on the ESTA, an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) due to the lack of a visa which was required as he was sponsored or employed by Team SoloMid, a company based in the United States.[22]
Yusuf Islam  United Kingdom
British singer formerly known as Cat Stevens was denied entry into the United States on 21 September 2004, and would remain banned until December 2006, when he was re-admitted without incident to perform at several radio concerts and to conduct interviews promoting his new album.[23] His name had originally been flagged as being on a no fly list. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers alerted the United States Transportation Security Administration, which then diverted his flight to Bangor, Maine, where he was detained by officers from the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).[24] The following day, he was flown back to the United Kingdom. A spokesman for the DHS stated that there had been "concerns of ties he may have to potential terrorist-related activities".[25] The singer said that it may have been an error due to the similarity of his name with that of one "Youssef Islam".[26]
Nigella Lawson  United Kingdom
Chef author and TV host of The Taste, was barred from a flight out of London to Los Angeles, California on 30 March 2014, due to public revelations of past cocaine use, which became public during her contentious divorce from her second husband.[27]
Diego Maradona  Argentina Former Argentine soccer player and coach. Although he had been to Los Angeles to play in an exhibition match in 1986, he was then refused entry in 1993 due to cocaine-related arrests and charges in Italy and Argentina; Maradona had been banned from playing soccer/football for 15 months in 1991. Was then allowed entry to the US in 1994 to play for the Argentine national team who were competing in the FIFA World Cup in the United States that year; and in 2013 Maradona then attempted to go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida with his grandson, but was denied a visa at the American consulate in Dubai due to additional drug and assault related charges compiled from 1994 to 2013.[28][29] He was then denied a visa again after he attempted to go to Florida in 2018 for a court case against his ex-wife Claudia Villafane, whom he accused of stealing $9 million from him and buying 7 apartments in Miami; the reason given by the American consulate in Dubai was because Maradona had insulted President Donald Trump on a Venezuelan radio show, even though insulting the President of the United States is not a crime by American federal law. [30]
Madchild (né Shane Bunting)  Canada Canadian rapper. In early 2011, it was reported that Bunting was banned from entering the United States, due to alleged links to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Bunting said he had been detained at an American airport for approximately eight hours before being told he could not enter the United States.[31][32] In July 2013, it was announced that Bunting was once again allowed to enter the United States.[33]
Nelson Mandela  South Africa South African revolutionary and later president of South Africa. Banned from entering the United States.[when?][34] The ban was later lifted.[35]
Liza Maza  Philippines Flipina activist. U.S. immigration authorities barred her from entering the U.S. on July 9, 2015 before she was to participate in a left-wing conference on U.S. activities in the Philippines. She has accused the U S. of supporting human rights violations in the Philippines. She plans to file charges against the U.S. and Korean Airlines, the airline that she was supposed to have taken.[36][37]
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey  Ireland Irish republican activist McAliskey was banned from entering the United States on 21 February 2003. US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials at O'Hare Airport (Chicago) seized McAliskey who was traveling on a flight from Dublin to New York on the grounds that she posed a "serious threat to national security"; an official stated that she was not allowed to enter due to an "expired visa waiver". She had also been temporarily banned from entering the U.S. in 1983 for fundraising for the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).[38]
Narendra Modi  India Indian politician. In 2005, when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat state in India, Modi was denied a diplomatic A-2 visa to the United States. In addition, the B-1/B-2 visa that had previously been granted to him was revoked, under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes any foreign government official who was responsible or "directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for the visa.[39] Modi remains the only person ever to be banned to travel to the United States of America under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) provision of US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).[40] In 2012, A Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Indian Supreme Court found no "prosecutable evidence" against Modi and cleared him of all charges. The US visa issue morphed into a diplomatic hurdle in bilateral India–United States relations when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India in 2014. Modi was issued a visa to visit the US in September 2014 after becoming the Prime Minister of India.[41] In a volte-face by the US administration, Modi was invited to address a joint session of both houses of the US Congress which he did in June 2016. In 2017, he made a state visit to the US on President Trump's invitation. US President Barack Obama visited India twice to meet Prime Minister Modi, the only US President to have visited India twice in just two years.
Shane Paul O'Doherty  United Kingdom
 Northern Ireland
Provisional Irish Republican Army bomber ((born 1955, Derry, Northern Ireland). One of his bombs injured a member of the British Cabinet, Reginald Maudling. He sent a letter bomb to 10 Downing Street, which did not explode. Other locales where his bombs did detonate include the London Stock Exchange, the Bank of England, and an otherwise unidentified government building, injuring several people, including a security guard who lost an eye and a hand. O'Doherty sent a bomb to Bishop Gerard Tickle, the Roman Catholic chaplain to the British Army, after reading a newspaper story which purportedly quoted the bishop as stating that British soldiers did nothing wrong on Bloody Sunday. The bomb was stuffed into a hollowed-out Bible but failed to detonate. His United States citizen wife, Michelle Sweeney, tried to sponsor him for a visa, which was denied based on O'Doherty's criminal record. The marriage was later annulled.[42][43][N 1]
Alexi Ogando  Dominican Republic Major League Baseball player (relief pitcher) admitted his involvement in an immigration marriage fraud ring. He was banned in 2009 from entering the United States for five years, limiting him to winter ball, the Dominican Summer League and international tournaments.[44]
Pogo  South Africa
South African-born Australian electronic music artist/producer. Pogo, born as Nick Bertke, was incarcerated for three weeks – two weeks in a county jail and another week in a federal detention centre – after being apprehended without a working visa while touring in America in September 2011. His 10-year ban took effect the following month.[45]
Marion Price  Ireland Provisional Irish Republican Army bomber who was convicted of causing explosions in London on 8 March 1973, was refused a visa to enter the US in 1999. She had been due to speak at a fundraising event in New York that had been organised by the Irish Freedom Committee.[46]
Tariq Ramadan   Switzerland Swiss academic, educator and author (Western Muslims and the Future of Islam) was banned from entering the United States from 2004–2010. He purportedly was given various reasons for the ban, including having "endorsed terrorism" and "violated the USA Patriot Act". Later he was banned for having contributed money to a French charity supporting humanitarian work in the Palestinian territories between 1998 and 2002, which was deemed, in 2003, to have the charities in question provided money to Hamas. In 2010, the ban was lifted.[47]
Tarek William Saab  Venezuela Venezuelan politician and lawyer. Saab was refused an entry visa to the United States in 2002. Reuters reported that Saab told local television he had been denied the visa because a U.S. State Department report "identified him as 'an individual linked to international subversion'". According to Venezuela's El Universal, Saab gave a press conference, in which he referred to published information that he had been denied the visa as a consequence of his ties with international terrorist organizations. Saab denied that he was associated with international terrorism or subversive groups.[48]
Mark Thatcher  United Kingdom
Son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Sir Mark Thatcher was denied a green card (permanent residency visa), although then married to a U.S. citizen, Louise Thatcher (née Burgdorf), due to his guilty plea in January 2005 in South Africa to breaking anti-mercenary legislation in South Africa by investing in an aircraft "without taking proper investigations into what it would be used for", admitting in court that he had paid the money, but said he was under the impression it was to be invested in an air ambulance service to help impoverished Africans. The judge rejected this explanation and Thatcher was fined R3,000,000 rand and received a four-year suspended jail sentence. On 3 April 2005, Thatcher, then living with his mother in London, announced that his family home would be in Europe after he was refused a residence visa to live in the United States as a result of his guilty plea in the Equatorial Guinea affair.[49]
Gerard Ungerman  France French filmmaker banned from re-entering the United States for 15 months beginning on 13 December 2010. After being "stuck" in Paris for five months disputing with U.S. immigration authorities over his right to return to California, where he had lived for almost 20 years, he was officially barred from re-entering the U.S., despite the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s approval of his immigrant visa petition, which should have allowed him to return. U.S. immigration authorities in Europe charged that he had been living in the U.S. illegally and was therefore ineligible for the approved green card (permanent residency visa) for which he had traveled to the U.S. Consulate in Paris to pick up per the directive from DHS. "What I didn't know is that I should not have left the country", Ungerman later realized, "but I should have worked out with a lawyer to convert my immigrant-visa approval into an actual immigrant status from inside the country. Instead I went out to Paris, where I had been 'invited' to pick up my visa at the U.S. Consulate. By doing that, I stepped into a bear trap because the consul there accused me [in July] of having stayed illegally and told me I was ineligible for my visa for 10 years and couldn't go back home", but was eventually allowed to return to the U.S., arriving on 12 October 2011.[50]
Kurt and Elisabeth Waldheim  Austria Waldheim, an Austrian diplomat and politician; former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and President of Austria (1986–1992), and his wife Elisabeth, were officially deemed personae non gratae by the United States and excluded from entering United States territory due to their Nazi affiliations and activities during World War II.[51] In 1987, the couple was placed on a watch list of persons banned from entering the United States and remained on the list until their deaths in 2007 and 2017.
Amy Winehouse  United Kingdom
British singer banned from the US in 2009 for drug convictions and for assault. A year and a half after she had been barred from entering the country in 2007 to attend the Grammys due to a drug rap, U.S. authorities refused to grant her a work visa in 2009 to perform at the Coachella festival. She was ordered to appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court to face a common assault charge (dating from September 2008) on 17 March 2009. Winehouse had been previously prohibited from playing in the U.S. after she was arrested in Norway on a drug charge, and ended up performing live via satellite.[52] Winehouse died in 2011.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Doherty entered studies for the priesthood after receiving a waiver from the Vatican with the assistance of the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, which was required due to his attempt on the life of Bishop Tickle in 1972.[42][43]


  1. ^ "Deportation". The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press. 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
  2. ^ "Report: US confirms revocation of Denzil Douglas' diplomatic visa",, March 18, 2015; accessed 31 December 2018 .
  3. ^ "Abuse of the Citizenship-by-Investment Program Sponsored by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis",, May 20, 2014; accessed 31 December 2018 .
  4. ^ Iranian diplomat Hamid Aboutalebi denied visa,, 12 April 2014; accessed 14 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Gerry Adams To Visit? Ruling Could Open Visa Gate To Sinn Feiner",, 23 October 1987; accessed 2 June 2014
  6. ^ "Adams is allowed 48-hour US visa: Clinton agrees visit despite dispute", The Independent, 31 January 1994
  7. ^ "Adams visit cools US/UK relations",, 13 June 2008; accessed 2 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Lily Allen banned from U.S. after arrest for hitting a paparazzo in 2007", The Daily Telegraph; accessed 3 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Lily Allen Granted U.S. Visa", People Magazine; accessed 08 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Drunk e-mailing the President of the United States, however, can get you banned from the country - permanently", New York Daily News, 13 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Obama e-mail teenager gets US ban". 14 September 2010 – via
  12. ^ George J. Annas; Michael A. Grodin (1 August 1995). The Nazi doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-510106-5.
  13. ^ Khan, Urmee (24 June 2008) Boy George banned from U.S., The Telegraph
  14. ^ Angela Balakrishna "Boy George guilty of falsely imprisoning male escort", The Guardian, 5 December 2008.
  15. ^ "Boy George jailed for 15 months". BBC News. 16 January 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Boy George Denied Entry to US",; accessed 10 April 2014.
  17. ^ Chan, Helen (6 November 2014). "Boy George's US Ban Lifted; Culture Club Performs on 'The View'".
  18. ^ New York Times report on Hortensia Bussi de Allende's ban from the United States, New York Times, 4 March 1983
  19. ^ "Pete Doherty never made it out of the airport". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  20. ^ The View singer's cocaine penalty, BBC News, 2 March 2007; accessed 22 May 2008
  21. ^ "The View talk to Billy Sloan". 'Sunday Mail'. 5 March 2008.
  22. ^ Demers, Matt (October 1, 2015). "Leffen denied entry to USA for Smash tournament". Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  23. ^ Pareles, Jon (20 December 2006). "Yusuf Islam Steps Back Into Cat Stevens's Old Sound". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  24. ^ Goo, Sara Kehaulani (22 September 2004). "Cat Stevens held after D.C. flight diverted". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  25. ^ Goo, Sara Kehaulani (23 September 2004). "Cat Stevens leaves U.S. after entry denied". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  26. ^ King, Larry (7 October 2004) "Interview With Yusuf Islam, Formerly Cat Stevens, Larry King Live". CNN. Retrieved 7 January 2007.
  27. ^ "Nigella Lawson barred from flight out of London to Los Angeles" by Nancy Dillon,; accessed 2 April 2014.
  28. ^ News, A. B. C. (17 July 2013). "This Soccer Legend Was Denied a U.S. Visa". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  29. ^ Boateng, Michael Ofori Amanfo. "Diego Maradona denied entry to Disney World over Visa issues". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  30. ^
  31. ^ [1] Archived April 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ DeMara, Bruce (5 January 2011). "Vancouver rapper Madchild barred from entering U.S." Toronto Star. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  33. ^ "Exclusive: Madchild Speaks On Being Allowed To Re-Enter USA - The Source". 15 July 2013.
  34. ^ "US urged to end travel ban on Nelson Mandela". 9 April 2008.
  35. ^ "Mandela taken off US terror list". 1 July 2008.
  36. ^ "United States government bars woman leader". 18 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  37. ^ "Women's Group Hits Government for Barring ex-Lawmaker from Leaving the Philippines". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  38. ^ James, Steve (5 March 2003) "Ireland's Bernadette Devlin McAliskey deported from the US", World Socialist Website
  39. ^ "No entry for Modi into US: visa denied". The Times of India. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  40. ^ Mann, James (2 May 2014). "Why Narendra Modi Was Banned From the U.S." Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  41. ^ "Modi visits US". Forbes. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  42. ^ a b Cullen, Kevin. (7 August 2005) Shane Paul O'Doherty profile in The Boston Globe
  43. ^ a b Shane Paul O'Doherty profile in The Derry Journal, 2 February 2012.
  44. ^ Evan Grant (9 March 2009). "Role in Fraud Ruins Dreams for Texas Rangers' Prospects". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010.
  45. ^ "Aussie music producer Nick Bertke, aka Pogo, jailed, banned from US". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  46. ^ Marion Price banned from entering the US,; accessed 19 December 2015.
  47. ^ "Tariq Ramadan's ban from U.S. lifted", Washington Post, 9 April 2010
  48. ^ Saab denied visa to the USA,; accessed 8 July 2015.
  49. ^ BBC report on Mark Thatcher's plea bargain in re Equatorial Guinea conspiracy, 13 January 2005.
  50. ^ LaPado-Breglia, Christine G.K. (23 December 2010) Filmmaker Gerard Ungerman stuck in France,
  51. ^ "Waldheim, ex-UN leader and Nazi, buried in Austria". Reuters. 23 June 2007.
  52. ^ "Amy Winehouse banned from U.S. for various reasons on various occasions",; accessed 25 October 2015.

External links[edit]