A 90-year-old man with serious physical and mental health issues who was informed he had to return to the US to apply for a visa to live with his British wife in the UK has been told it was all a mistake. Albert Dolbec, a US citizen, has been married to his wife Dawn, 84,…
A 90-year-old man with serious physical and mental health issues who was informed he had to return to the US to apply for a visa to live with his British wife in the UK has been told it was all a mistake.
Albert Dolbec, a US citizen, has been married to his wife Dawn, 84, for 25 years. For the past two and a half years, however, the Home Officehad refused to issue him a spousal visabecause, it said, he had entered the UK on a visitor’s visa and could not convert it inside the country.
He was told he would have to return to the US, where he has no home and nowhere to live, and reapply from there. His wife is too frail to travel with him and his family are convinced he would not survive the experience.
Following a review of its decision, however, the Home Office has now apologised to Dolbec. It wrote: “It has been determined that your indefinite leave to remain in the UK was never revoked.
“When you entered the UK in 1997, it appears that the ILR stamp in your passport may have been overlooked and you were issued leave to enter as a visitor.
“However … there was no requirement for you to apply for leave to remain. Please accept our sincerest apologies for any difficulty, stress or inconvenience this may have caused you, your spouse and your family.”
The Home Office has said it will refund the family the £1,804 they have spent in visa application fees. The family are also considering suing for their legal fees, which came to more than £5,000.
“When we opened the letter we were dumbstruck,” said Marina Breeze, Dawn Dolbec’s daughter. “We were torn between relief and outrage at the effort, time and money we’ve wasted, not to mention the terrible trauma our family has been through over the past two and a half years.
“But we’re only celebrating today because we’re educated, persistent and financially able to have fought for all these years,” she said. “Despite all that, it was only when we raised public attention, through our MP and the media, that the Home Office began to care enough to really look properly at our case.
“What about all the families without our advantages? They have to accept wrong Home Office decisions and see their families destroyed as a result.”
Oliver Dowden, Dolbec’s MP, has lobbied for almost a year for the Home Office to reconsider its decision. “I have repeatedly made Albert’s case to UK Visas and Immigration and personally engaged with the Home Office a number of times,” he said.