Visa papers late, business owners banished to England

January 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

It took Englishwoman Lynda Ayre more than 20 years to make a home in Florida. She lost it overnight when she missed the deadline to renew her business visa. Forced to return to England, she and her husband now live on retirement pensions in a rented house while still paying the mortgage on their place in Holiday. “We spent almost half a million dollars in buying a house, our business, everything,” Lynda Ayre, 63, said by phone from Buckinghamshire, England. “Now we’re being treated like criminals.” They want to come back, but they’ve run afoul of a complex U.S. immigration system that doesn’t tolerate mistakes, no matter how innocent. After more than a dozen letters to U.S. officials – and thousands of dollars in application and appeal fees – Ayre hasn’t received any word on why the government is taking such a rigid position or on whether the couple can ever return. Sharon Scheidhauer, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said she couldn’t talk about the Ayres’ case because of privacy rules. But she did say the department takes deadlines seriously. “If you don’t file in a timely manner, you can’t receive the benefit” of remaining in the United States. (tampa tribune) (NOTE: The Ayres used an Orlando accountant to set up the corporation and pay the immigration service fees. According to the story, he “seemed right for the task, even though he wasn’t a lawyer.”)


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