British immigration authorities have rejected a Canadian woman’s visa application because of doubts about her 45 year marriage.
Former optician Maria Summers wanted to spend her retirement in England with her husband David, whom she married in 1970. The couple sold their home in the Canadian capital of Ottawa in 2013 and bought a house in Hereford.
The move was initially so they could look after the husband’s mother, who was struggling with cancer. Although David holds a British passport, his wife was told by customs officials that she was only eligible to remain in the country for six months at a time.
To avoid having to leave the country every six months, Mrs Summers applied for a visa to remain in England. In her application, she included a copy of the couple’s marriage license and a change of name deed. In 1985, the entire family, including the couple’s son, changed their surname, citing personal reasons.
However, UK Visas and Immigration cited the name change as evidence that there was something suspicious about their marriage and rejected Mrs Summers’ application.
The rejection letter said that the agency was “not satisfied that [the couple’s] relationship is genuine and subsisting”. It also claimed that there was not enough “evidence of regular contact, signs of companionship, emotional support, affection, and abiding interest in each other’s welfare and well-being”.
Mrs Summers told The Canadian Press that she did not know how to further demonstrate that her marriage was genuine.
“We’ve been married for 45 years, we’ve known each other for 50 years … It’s not like I’m a young bride and wanted citizenship somewhere”, she said.
The couple has launched an appeal against the rejection. If it is not reversed, they will be forced to sell their Hereford home and move back to Canada. A decision on their appeal is expected next month.
Photo of Ottawa by Roman Boldyrev via Flickr