Prescott Prayer Letter: The Visa

Since our first newsletter…
…much has happened – but the thorn in our flesh has been that rather than both being in Cambridge as we had hoped, visa problems meant that we were forced to begin married life on opposite sides of the globe.

When we first applied for the visa, our hope was that it would be ready in time for Taryn to accompany me back to England on September 10th . When that didn’t happen, I went on ahead, expecting Taryn to join me a week or two later. Two weeks later, we heard that Taryn’s passport was ‘ready for collection’ and we expected that now at last she would be able to join me – however, it turned out that rather than the passport being ‘ready’ with a visa for her to travel, instead it came accompanied by a letter attempting to justify the refusal of the visa. This was a shock as it meant we didn’t know when we would actually be able to see each other again – not only could Taryn not come to England, but India’s newly introduced regulations for tourist visas meant that I couldn’t return to India until two months had passed since I had left!

Our next step was to appeal the decision – for which I am incredibly grateful to my Dad for spending the next two weeks becoming an expert on all matters relevant to our situation and putting together a comprehensive set of rebuttals to the reasons for the visa’s refusal. In mid- October, we sent off the appeal and some time later received a letter confirming that our appeal had been lodged and telling us that if the Entry Clearance Officer in Delhi wasn’t convinced then we would not hear again until March 2011, after which our case would go to court.

This wasn’t very encouraging, but we clung on to the hope that the ECO in Delhi would be convinced. However, as more and more time passed without any news, it seemed less and likely that this was going to happen. Over a month after sending off our appeal, and more than two months since I had said ‘See you soon’ to my beloved bride, I had the chance to discuss the situation with my parents as they passed through Cambridge, and the decision was made that I should return to India immediately – while there was still a month remaining on my visa from the summer.

So the last month has been something of a re-play of our first month of month of marriage, with me and Taryn again spending time on our own together at the beach (this time in Kerala), again visiting our old school Hebron (where there was a reunion taking place), again visiting Chennai – but with the everpresent likelihood that we would also again have to go our separate ways with me leaving India and her staying. And this time it could be for even longer than the two months we had just spent apart.

Then suddenly, in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye, our situation was changed. Just after arriving in Bangalore, where we were to spend our final week together before I had to return to England, we received a text from my dad saying that there was a letter saying, somewhat obscurely, that ‘the appeal has been withdrawn’. Could this be the news we were hoping for? We called the British High Commission – it was! Hallelujah! All we had to do was get to Delhi and pick up the visa. So we finally arrived together in England two days before Christmas.