Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter KEIRA has slammed America's immigration authorities for refusing to extend her US work visa, insisting her Chaplin pedigree should entitle her to stay.

The Belfast-born 23-year-old moved to the US to set up a film production company five years ago (00), but is now required to leave the country when her visa runs out next month (DEC05).

In the meantime, the model-turned-actress will have to wait four months for a Green Card, which will give her permanent residency.

Chaplin insists her situation mirrors the time her legendary grandfather was blocked from re-entering America after a trip to the UK to promote his 1952 film LIMELIGHT.

She says, "I'm stuck in a bureaucratic quagmire. My grandfather was in the US for more than 40 years and was one of the richest men in America.

"Then, suddenly, because of the blacklist (Senator JOE McCARTHY's Communist 'witch-hunt'), they started to question him and investigate and then basically wouldn't let him back into the country.

"Now it's like the same thing is happening all over again. I have invested a lot of money in America. Things haven't changed."