Entertainment & Arts

Visa woes: Celeb plans go on hold

Chris Brown
Image caption Brown was convicted of assault last year

US singer Chris Brown has had to postpone his European tour after being refused a work visa following his conviction for assault on Rihanna. But he is not the first celebrity to have trouble getting a visa.

Lily Allen

Image caption Allen has said she will not make another album for a few years

Pop star Lily Allen had to postpone her US tour and cancel an appearance at the MTV Music Awards in 2007 after her US work visa was revoked.

The visa was cancelled after Allen flew into Los Angeles and was questioned over an assault in London.

She was arrested following an incident outside a London nightclub earlier that year, which resulted in a caution for common assault.

She had her visa re-instated in 2008, allowing her to complete a 14-city tour in the US in April 2009.

Snoop Dogg

Image caption The rapper is performing at Glastonbury this year

US rap star Snoop Dogg won the latest round in a long-running fight with UK border authorities over his right to enter the country earlier this year.

The 38-year-old was denied a UK tour visa in 2007, but managed to have it lifted the following year.

After the UK Border Agency challenged the ruling, the case went to an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

In March, two senior immigration judges decided border authorities were wrong to deny the hip-hop star entry.

The original ruling came in the wake of Snoop Dogg's arrest in April 2006, following a fracas at Heathrow Airport involving members of his entourage. He accepted a police caution.

Amy Winehouse

Image caption Winehouse swept the board at the 2008 Grammys

Amy Winehouse performed live via satellite at the 2008 Grammy Awards ceremony despite a late change of heart over her US visa application.

The awarding of her visa came after her initial application was rejected by American officials.

Her performance in a studio in London was beamed into the show in Los Angeles - she won five awards on the night.

Her agents said she would not travel to the Grammys "due to the logistics involved and timing complications".

The delay in granting the visa followed a series of high-profile drug problems, including a fine for cannabis possession in Norway in 2007.

Boy George

Image caption Boy George was jailed in January 2009 for false imprisonment

Boy George cancelled his North American solo summer tour days before it was due to start after he was denied a work visa by US officials.

The former Culture Club frontman had been scheduled to kick off his 24-date tour in Las Vegas in July 2008.

The singer said he was banned because of his forthcoming false imprisonment trial in London.

Speaking to US news programme The Today Show at the time, Boy George said: "It's a disaster because of the fans."

Akon

Image caption Akon's real name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam

Sri Lanka refused to issue a visa to R&B star Akon in March this year, saying he offended the country's Buddhists.

He was due to perform there in April.

The ban came after protests over one of the star's music videos featuring scantily-clad women dancing in front of a statue of Buddha.

A spokesperson for Akon said later that, due to the protests, the star had "decided to postpone" his show.

In a statement, the government said the video for Sexy Chick by David Guetta, featuring Akon on vocals, "triggered a lot of disappointment among Buddhists".

It added some of Akon's lyrics were not "suitable for public articulation".

Yusuf Islam

Image caption Islam became a Muslim in 1977

The British singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was sent back to London in 2004 after being refused entry to the United States.

The US authorities said the decision was made on national security grounds.

Islam was on a flight from London to Washington when officials realised his name was on a "watch list". The plane was diverted to another US airport.

Muslim groups in Britain and the United States criticised the decision, saying Islam was a man of peace, after accusations the singer helped fund terrorism.

Islam later told CNN's Larry King Live he did not support terrorism but charity money could unwittingly go to terror groups.

An unspecified work visa issue forced him to cancel a planned show in New York in May 2009 but he did manage to play in Los Angeles later that month.

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