Nigella Lawson’s ban from entering US may not be permanent

Nigella Lawson has reportedly been told she is not permanently banned from entering the US despite being turned away from a British Airways flight to Los Angeles at Heathrow on Sunday.

London’s Evening Standard is reporting US authorities are believed to have the door open after she was told she couldn’t board the British Airways plane because of her confession under oath during a trial last year that she had taken cocaine and smoked cannabis.

Nigella has a burgeoning career in the US, where she is a judge on cooking talent show The Taste.

It is thought she initially registered online and confirmed she had not been arrested or convicted of taking illegal drugs. But the US Department of Homeland Security has the power to bar as ‘inadmissible’ foreigners who have committed drugs offences, even if they have never been charged.

Sources said she will now be  ‘invited to come back in through a different process’ — suggesting that if she applies for a special waiver she is likely to be allowed to travel.

A spokesman for the Homeland department’s customs and border protection branch said: “In general an alien found inadmissible will need a waiver of inadmissibility.

“They may be eligible to apply in advance of travel for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility.”

Nigella confessed she had used drugs while giving evidence in a trial of her former assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, last year. Scotland Yard chose not to press charges.