Bury St Edmunds: Visa delays keep family separated at start of new year
A FAMILY that has been separated for more than three months because of a Home Office delay is starting the new year apart.
American USAF veteran Chad Carlson, who was based at RAF Lakenheath for 11 years, had to return to the States in September because of delays with his visa application.
He was forced to leave wife Beverley and children Jacob, five, and two-year-old Florence behind in Dalham, after his �550 spouse application to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in February was not processed in time.
He flew back on his military retirement orders.
With Mr Carlson, 39, across the Atlantic, the family decided to relocate to America and had been due to fly out during December.
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But their dream of a Christmas together was shattered after learning it could take up to eight months for Mrs Carlson and her children’s American visas to be authorised.
Mrs Carlson, who is currently living with her parents in Bury St Edmunds, said that for Christmas to be spent apart yet again was the family’s worst fear comes true.
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“Living out of suitcases and with all our worldly goods in transit to the US, including all of the children’s Christmas presents, we are beyond disbelief that this cruel twist has occurred.”
Mrs Carlson said she cannot travel as a tourist because her visa application is already in the system and she would be refused entry to America.
In an attempt to reunite their family, she has sent letters to US President Barack Obama and various senators as well as Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May.
“We have done everything we can both in the UK and US,” she added.
“We can only pray for a miracle and hope that someone finally takes responsibility and immediate action of this now humanitarian case.
“It is taking its toll on all of us. There is physical pain in illness because we’re so run down and it is emotionally draining and beyond stressful.
“We had been in the midst of saying out goodbyes and the children thought they were going to see Daddy in time for Christmas and start their new life in America.
“We have not yet told them this latest twist just in case there is a miracle. It seems so wrong to keep messing them around.”
A UKBA spokesman said: “Mr Carlson’s visa application has been withdrawn.
“His documents have been returned.”