Prince Harry visa court case explained as US visa application given to judge

Prince Harry’s US visa application is now under review by a judge after he admitted to previous drug use in his highly controversial memoir, Spare.

The Heritage Foundation launched a lawsuit to investigate whether he lied on his visa application when he moved to California with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

US President Joe Biden's lawyers are currently complying with a court order to move the case forward.

The court filing reads: "Defendant the U.S. Department of Homeland Security respectfully informs the court that it has complied with the court's March 7, 2024, order by submitting declarations with attachments for ex parte in camera [in private] review."

Drug use can be considered grounds to deny a US visa application, which threatens the royal’s immigration status.

This comes amidst other family troubles, such as King Charles’ cancer diagnosis and the Princess of Wales’s abdominal surgery.

But what are the ins and outs of what happened? Here is everything you need to know.

What has happened?

Prince Harry has admitted to previous use of marijuana, cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms in his memoir Spare.

The memoir read: “It wasn’t much fun, and it didn’t make me particularly happy, as it seemed to make everyone around me… but it did make me feel different, and that was the main goal."

A conservative think tank has argued that Prince Harry’s visa application should be made public to find out whether the duke declared to using drugs before entering the US in 2020.

The Heritage Foundation sued the Department of Homeland Security under the Freedom of Information Act, after claiming that Harry may have received favourable treatment when applying for his visa.

However, the Biden administration argues against the papers being released, and says that visa applicants have a right to privacy.

Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, expressed his concern about the Biden administration supporting Prince Harry and keeping the papers hidden.

Gardiner told the Daily Express US: “We want to establish whether or not Prince Harry lied on his immigration application with regard to his drug use.

What could happen next?

Florida representative Greg Steube has criticised Biden's stance and wants the laws to be tightened to avoid the same thing happening again.

Steube will introduce the Substance and Possession Abuse Restrictions for Entrance (SPARE) Act that would permanently ban foreign nationals from the USA if they knowingly provided false information on their visa applications regarding substance use. However, there is no evidence that Prince Harry provided false information at this stage.

In terms of the future of the case, Nile Gardiner, director of The Heritage Foundation said: "I think firstly with regard to the Biden administration, they will do all they can to try and stop the release of Harry's records.

"Ultimately, it will be decided by a federal judge, but if those records are released and if it is found that Prince Harry has lied on his application, there will be tremendous public pressure for Harry to be deported from the United States.

"Now, if you have a Republican president in place, you can be sure that a Republican leader would strictly enforce US immigration laws.

"And if Harry has broken those laws by lying on his application, I'm in no doubt that a Republican president would swiftly remove him from the United States."

US President Joe Biden's lawyers are currently complying with a court order to move the case forward after Prince Harry’s visa application papers were handed over to a judge for review.

Where does Prince Harry live now?

Prince Harry and his wife Megan Markle now live in Montecito, California.

When did Harry move to the US?

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle moved to California in June 2020, as they wanted space to raise their son, Archie.

The Standard has contacted The Duke of Sussex for comment.