Rapper Ja Rule denied UK visa due to past criminal record

Colleta Ochieng
Colleta Ochieng

Rapper Ja Rule has said he has been denied entry into the UK, days before his tour was due to start in Cardiff.

The US musician, real name ‘Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr’, was due to kick off the British leg of his Sunrise tour at the city’s Utilita Arena on Friday.

The 47-year-old said his criminal record was the reason behind the refusal.

He was also due to play gigs in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool.

Best known for hits such as Always On Time, featuring Ashanti, and Thug Lovin’, he wrote on social media: “I’m so devastated – I can’t believe the UK won’t let me in.

“I’ve spent a half million dollars of my own money to put this tour together only to be denied entry days before my shows.

“This is not fair to me or my fans – these venues are 85% sold out and now I can’t come.”

Ja Rule, who was released from prison in May 2013 after serving two years on gun possession and tax evasion charges, added: “The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts entry to people with criminal records.

“In general you will likely be denied entry if you have been convicted of a crime punishable by 23 months or more under British law, or if you’ve served more than 12 months in prison.”

Tickets for the shows are still available on Ticketmaster.

After one fan tweeted the company to ask about refunds the website’s customer service team replied: “Once we receive confirmed info an email will be sent to all customers for the event.”

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