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Syria born Mrs World contestant, representing UK denied entry to US

Leen Clive [leen_clive/Instagram]
Leen Clive [leen_clive/Instagram]

A British beauty queen has been refused entry to the US ahead of the Mrs World contest which kicks off today, "due to her Syrian background."

Leen Clive, 29, a trainee NHS doctor from Hull believes US officials denied her a visa because she was born in Damascus, Syria, as her family's entry visas had been approved.

"I applied with a British passport. I am representing Britain and I'm a British citizen, so I had no idea I'd be banned from the US," Clive told the BBC.

"My husband and my baby girl had their visas granted, but mine was refused – and the only difference is my place of birth," she said.

Clive was granted British citizenship last year after having fled the war-torn country with her mother in 2013. Despite not being able to speak English, Clive studied the language alongside a degree in biomedical science, graduating in 2019.

The 35th annual event hosted in Las Vegas will see the new Mrs World crowned on 15 January, with 57 other married women competing from around the world. Clive's absence would mean it would be the first time that Britain has not been represented at the contest since it was established in 1984.

Syria is included in the US government's State Sponsor of Terrorism list. As such, citizens from these countries must be interviewed by a consular officer before being allowed entry to the US.

Clive has since appealed to the US embassy for "common sense" in granting her visa so she can still compete in time. "I'm still hopeful. I know I'm running out of time, but if someone from the embassy could look at my application then things could be different," she said. Her local MP has also said she is trying to intervene to help ensure Clive can make the pageant.

READ: Miss Universe contestants accused of 'Israelising' Palestinian culture

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