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This Day in Music History: John Lennon’s Visa Expires

written by: on February 29, 2012

On February 29, 1972 John Lennon’s U.S. immigration visa expired. It took three and a half years before Lennon’s American residency issues was resolved.

This occurrence would ignite a legal battle with the Nixon Administration, the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that would last for years. Late in February South Carolina’s senator Strom Thurmond advised Nixon that deporting John Lennon would be a “strategic counter-measure” against Lennon’s anti-war activism.

A few days later the director of the C.I.A., Richard Helms, sent a memo to the director of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover, warning of the approaching “anti-war” tour Lennon had in store. Upon the matter Lennon wrote in the book Skywriting by Word of Mouth “the thing that bothered most of our revolutionary brothers was the fact that we weren’t against anything, just for things, you know, like peace and love and all that naïve crap.”

Years of drug allegations, protests, court hearings ensued. On October 07, 1975 the US Court of Appeals outlawed the order to leave the country and on July 27, 1976 John Lennon was granted permanent residence.