Dalham: Carlson family reunited as couple celebrate third anniversary
IT has been six months since Jacob and Florence Carlson have seen their father, but today they are reunited.
American USAF veteran Chad Carlson, 39, who was based at RAF Lakenheath for 11 years, had to return to the States in September on his military retirement orders because of delays with his visa application.
He was forced to leave wife Beverley and children Jacob, six, and two-year-old Florence behind in Dalham, after his £550 spouse application to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in February last year was not processed in time.
Mrs Carlson and her children were due to relocate to America in December, but visa delays put their move on hold.
After a very difficult six months apart, the Carlsons were reunited yesterday when Mrs Carlson, Jacob and Florence travelled to Massachusetts in time to celebrate the couple’s third wedding anniversary tomorrow.
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Mrs Carlson, 39, said: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, as we’ve been living out of suitcases for four months. It feels surreal because we got to the point where we thought it was never going to happen.
“The stress has been absolutely astronomical.”
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Mrs Carlson had been staying with her parents in Bury St Edmunds before moving into temporary accommodation at RAF Lakenheath. She had her interview with the American Embassy on Monday and was handed her American visa on Tuesday.
“It was quite strange because I got my visa six months to the day that Chad left,” she said. “We were due to travel in December but were delayed because of the visa situation so we have several Christmas presents and another Christmas to celebrate all together.
“Chad has been alone and the last month or so he has been really down and missing us all terribly as well as missing out on the children growing up.
Mrs Carlson said she is sad to leave parents Pauline and Brian Wilson behind but excited to start a new life. “My parents are very sad to see us go but at the same time they are really pleased and relieved for us to be reunited as a family,” she added.
A UKBA spokesman said: “We apologised to Mr Carlson and his family in September last year for the length of time it was taking to deal with the application – an application which was subsequently withdrawn.
“Anyone seeking compensation would first need to make a formal complaint to the UK Border Agency.”