A NEWLYWED couple say they have been ‘torn apart’ and face costs of thousands of pounds after a visa application was refused - on a technicality.
Ian Quinlan and Canadian-born Stacy Quinlan, both 36 and from Thetford, were married in November after they met online a year earlier.
The couple were granted a marriage visa for their big day and Stacy applied for a two- year visa soon after.
Despite not being given any indication that their application would be refused, the UK Border Agency turned it down as Stacy was in the country on a visitor’s visa.
Stacy said that when she opened the letter on Tuesday that her ‘heart almost fell out’.
“I am devastated, shocked, outraged - it’s unbelievable to me that this can happen.
“We followed everything to the letter of the law and it’s appalling that so many people are allowed to stay in this country illegally when someone like me who has followed the rules can’t.
“How can you have a border agency that feels it’s ok to allow people to marry and then totally disregards the sanctity of marriage by splitting us up?”
Stacy will now have to return to Canada on February 28 - just four days after her birthday - where she must go through the application process again.
Husband Ian, who says Stacy has been a ‘wonderful’ stepmother to his two children, said the process would also cost them thousands of pounds.
“The flights there and back and application fees will all cost money we just haven’t got.
“We are looking at three or four months before she can come back and that means her getting a job in Canada just to save,” he said.
The couple say their families have already provided substantial financial support to allow them to marry.
Friends have rallied behind the couple, with a Facebook page in support of them already pulling in more than 350 followers.
Letters have also been sent to MP Elizabeth Truss, with one calling their separation ‘brutal’.