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A beauty queen was denied a US visa; believes it's because of her Syrian roots

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 07, 2022 4:12 pm

Mrs. UK World Leen Clive was not granted a visa to the United States, therefore, putting her participation at the pageant in jeopardy. She believes her visa was refused because she was born in Syria.

Clive, a Syrian refugee and trainee doctor from East Yorkshire, said she applied the visa together with her husband and six-month-old daughter, but she was the only one who was not given a visa.

"The only difference between my application and theirs is my place of birth is Damascus," she told BBC in an interview, adding that she is a Britain passport holder.

The 29-year-old TV presenter and beauty queen is set to represent the United Kingdom in the Mrs. World final competition.

Clive, who fled Syria in 2013, said that she joined the pageant to tell her story and promote equality.

"My main campaign for Mrs. World is equality. And I decided to choose that campaign because I came to United Kingdom as a refugee. I came [here] speaking no language at all, and with a bag of clothes on. That's all I had," she said.

Clive said that after graduating from college, she worked as an interpreter for Refugee Council throught the United Nations and did plenty of charity work. 

"I've been treated equally [in the UK], I've been treated as an equal person, I've never felt like outsider or label in anything—in my uni time, in work, in general and life. So I wanted to take my campaign globally," she said.

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According to the US government's website, applicants who are citizens of designated State Sponsor of Terrorism countries must be interviewed by a consular officer. Among those countires are Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria. 

Despite this, Clive is still hopeful that she can join the pageant someday.

"I am grateful for the experience so far, if I don’t make it to America this time, hopefully I can make it next year and meet all the lovely people I got to know through this wonderful pageant," she said in a post.

If her visa application won't be reconsidered, it will be the first time in 37 years that United Kingdom will not be represented at the said pageant.

The Mrs. World 2022 competition, which is open to married women, will be on Jan. 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.