17 January 2011

Dream trip to Disneyland for 9-year-old British boy ruined by US immigration

A young boy’s dream holiday at Disneyland was ruined after US Immigration officials refused to grant him entry – claiming that he was a flight risk.


A British boy has been refused a US Visa to visit Disneyland in Florida.

Nine-year-old Micah Strachan was surprised by his grandparents, Kathy and Edward Francis, with a birthday trip to Disneyland in Florida to celebrate his tenth birthday.

The grandparents had spent months planning the trip, even paying out £1,500 on flights. They planned to keep the trip secret until they took Micah to the airport on February 19.

Last week, the family received news that the schoolboy had been refused entry into the US because US officials believe there was a risk he would not leave the country at the end of his stay.

Micah was born in Britain and has lived in Middlesex all his life with his mother Claudia Lewis. He holds a South African passport because that's what his grandparents, who moved to the UK in 1990, got him at birth.

As Micah has a South African passport he needed a US Tourist Visa to travel to the US, rather than the quicker ESTA  process that is available to British passport holders.

In the US Visa application the family even added a letter from Micah's primary school.

In the US Embassy visa rejection letter, officials said: 'Because you either did not demonstrate strong ties outside the United States or were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the US would be consistent with the visa status, you are ineligible.'

Tessa Jowell, Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, said “'I was very concerned to learn about the situation facing my constituents and of course understand the distress the decision has caused”.

The family has now written to US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to ask for the decision to be overturned.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  ESTA to the US Embassy.

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