A conservative think tank is calling for Prince Harry’s US visa application to be released so Americans can see whether or not he admitted to his past drug use before moving to California in the summer of 2020.
The Heritage Foundation, one of the country’s preeminent right-wing think tanks, is arguing that US officials should release the details of the prince’s application so Americans can see whether or not he was “properly vetted” before being allowed to enter the country. Applicants for US visas are typically asked about their criminal history and drug use.
“This request is in the public interest in light of the potential revocation of Prince Harry’s visa for illicit substance use and further questions regarding the Prince’s drug use and whether he was properly vetted before entering the United States,” Mike Howell, director of the foundation’s Oversight Project, told the Daily Mail.
The foundation’s push for information on Harry’s visa application comes after the Prince revealed his use of a range of substances including marijuana, mushrooms, and cocaine during his promotion of his new book Spare.
Harry writes in the book that he first took cocaine at the age of 17 and used it sparringly since then but has said that his use of marijuana and mushrooms helped him deal with past trauma.
The recreational use of marijuana is legal in California, while the state has also taken steps towards decriminalising the use of psychedelics like mushrooms. Oregon, just to the north, legalised the use of small amounts of hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2020.
During an interview to promote his book, Harry told Dr Gabor Maté in an interview that his use of the psychedelic drug ayahuasca “brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a lightness that I managed to hold on to for a period of time” and were a “fundamental part” of his life.
Nevertheless, if Harry failed to disclose his past drug use on his visa application, he could be barred from applying for US citizenship and even deported from the country where he has lived for nearly three full years. Meghan Markle, Harry’s wife, is an American citizen who was born in the Los Angeles area. Their two children were both born in the US as well.
The federal government making the details of Harry’s visa application public would be highly unusual — visa applications are confidential under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act — but Harry’s past drug use could also theoretically affect future visa applications.
It is not currently clear what kind of US visa Harry holds, though the Daily Mail reported that he is believed to hold either a spousal visa or an O-1 visa granted to people possessing an “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics” or a record of extraordinary achievement in film or television.
O-1 visas are initially granted for three years, meaning that if Harry has that type of visa, he may have to re-apply this year with elements of his past drug use now public.
The Heritage Foundation, which has promoted nativist policies and a hard-line approach to immigration that had a significant influence on the Donald Trump administration, has reportedly sent a dossier with info on Harry’s drug use to officials at the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs/Border Protection and US Citizenship Immigration Services.
Harry and Ms Markle have aligned themselves with liberal political causes, opposing, for instance, the reversal of Roe v Wade.