Heartache as mum’s visa application is rejected for second time forcing family to live apart

Jason and Jennifer Pearce with their children Andrew, 20, and Aidan, 14, last summer - the family ha

Jason and Jennifer Pearce with their children Andrew, 20, and Aidan, 14, last summer - the family has been ripped apart - Credit: Archant

A Kesgrave father has spoken of his heartache at the prospect of seeing his family separated for a year after his wife had two visa applications rejected.

Jason Pearce with letters from the home office

Jason Pearce with letters from the home office - Credit: Su Anderson

Jason Pearce, 48, who was born in England, his wife Jennifer and children Andrew, 20, and Aidan, 14, made the decision to relocate to Suffolk from California last year to be nearer Mr Pearce’s family after his brother, who lives in London, became unwell.

They found a home in Windrush Road, Kesgrave, and made plans to move.

“We decided that Suffolk was the place to be,” said Mr Pearce, who has relatives in Capel St Mary and Ipswich. “We found this house. We thought it was perfect.”

Mrs Pearce, the couple’s children and Mr Pearce’s elderly father Ken, for whom Mrs Pearce is the primary carer, remained in America to pack up and sell their existing home.

Dual British and United States citizen Jason Pearce is upset that wife Jennifer Pearce, who is a US

Dual British and United States citizen Jason Pearce is upset that wife Jennifer Pearce, who is a US citizen, has had her visa rejected twice - Credit: Su Anderson

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Mr Pearce was joined by his family on December 27 last year and Aidan joined Kesgrave High School.

The family began to get settled, but they were unaware of the struggle that was to come.

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As Andrew and Aidan are first descendants from a British citizen, they qualify for British passports. However, Mrs Pearce needed to obtain a further leave to remain visa to be able to permanently live in the UK. Applicants are assessed on their suitability, such as whether they have a criminal record, must have a place to reside, have proof of a relationship and must earn more than £18,600.

In June, Mrs Pearce had her first visa application refused on the grounds that she could not apply whilst her tourist visa was still active. It was stated that she had met all other criteria.

She was left with no choice but to return to America.

With their house sold and their possessions in the process of being shipped to England, she moved in with her parents in Arizona. It was seen as a temporary measure for the family, having already been told Mrs Pearce fitted the criteria.

However, on Monday the family were told that the second application for a visa had also been refused, despite the same documentation being submitted as in the first application.

They are appealing, but the process can take up to 12 months, meaning the family faces another year apart, with uncertainty over whether Mrs Pearce will ever be able to move to the UK.

“Either we meet the requirements or we don’t,” said Mr Pearce. “That just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The couple have so far spent in excess of £7,000 on the process, with each application costing a minimum of £2,600.

“She’s the primary carer of my dad,” added Mr Pearce. “Since she’s been gone it has been one emergency after another. She would always be there for him. Andrew turned 20 yesterday, so she missed that. Aidan misses his mum. They have never been apart. That’s hard to see.

“It’s tearing us apart. We miss her dearly, she’s our family.

“At the end of the year we could have a response that isn’t what we wanted. A year in the life of a 14-year-old is a big portion. A year in the life of my 84-year-old dad...how much longer has he got? It has been the hardest eight months.”

Mr Pearce added that he can’t understand why the application was declined as it appears his wife meets the necessary minimum income.

The journey so far:

Jason Pearce relocated to California with his British parents and his brother when he was four-years-old. In 1995, he met Jennifer and the pair married in 1999.

Mrs Pearce was the full time carer to her parents-in-law Pearl, who lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart problems, and Ken, now 84, who has reduced mobility due to spinal issues.

Following the death of his mother, they decided to move back to the UK to be closer to family.

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