U.K. immigration authorities have thrown the British summer concert circuit a bone.
They have granted U.S. rap star Snoop Dogg a visa to visit the U.K., ending a several-year long immigration battle with the British government, enabling him to perform at a number of big gigs, the Wall Street Journal reports.
U.K. immigration authorities told Snoop – whose real name is Calvin Broadus – on June 10 that he had been granted the visa. The approval comes just two weeks before the rapper is due to perform at the world-famous Glastonbury Festival, in the south west of England. The 38-year old artist also is due to appear at a concert in London’s Hyde Park and a charity event in Manchester.
Had Snoop failed to secure the visa, he stood to potentially lose in excess of $500,000, according to a letter supporting the entertainer’s visa application.
“This is a major coup for the renewal of his relationship with the British immigration authorities and justifies the approach he has taken over the last three years to clear his name and reputation,” said Trott, Snoop’s lawyer at the U.K.’s Bates Wells & Braithwaite LLP.
The U.K. government had banned the rapper after a high-profile scuffle in 2006 at London’s Heathrow airport between the rapper’s entourage and police. Snoop was detained but later released with a warning for using “insulting words.”
The following year, Snoop had hoped to return to the U.K. to perform as well as speak at an event against youth violence. But immigration authorities refused to grant him a visa, citing the “fracas in Heathrow” as well as convictions in the U.S. and outstanding charges for possession of drugs and firearms, according to the March 23, 2007, refusal.
That resulted in a long legal battle to overturn the decision; a battle Snoop eventually won earlier this year. In a Feb. 26, 2010 ruling, two senior immigration judges said Snoop played a “relatively minor” role in the Heathrow melee, which was “precipitated” by decisions made by airline staff and the police. Of his U.S. convictions, they said the fact that the punishment he received was probation and community service was an indication of “the degree of significance attached to them.”
Last month, Snoop applied for the temporary visa allowing him to perform at the concerts in the U.K. over the coming weeks.
A spokesman for the U.K.’s border agency confirmed that the visa had been granted, adding only: “Each application into the U.K. is considered on its individual merits.”
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