10 October 2012

Woman stranded in China after UK visa overlook

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A permanent resident of the UK has been left stranded in her native China after forgetting to pack her old passport, which contained the UK visa proof she needed to get back into the country.

UK visa

Mrs Ashmore has been left stranded in China for over a month due to forgetting her old passport.

Grace Ashmore, 46, rushed back to China in early September to see her ailing mother, but after attempting to return home, realised she had left her old passport containing her UK visa at home in Portsmouth.

Chinese immigration officials will not allow Mrs Ashmore to leave the country without proof that she is a permanent resident of the UK.

Mrs Ashmore's husband, Paul, 44, who remained at home in the UK, has tried to send his wife's passport to her in China but HM Revenue and Customs held it for inspection due to a policy regarding passports leaving the country.

Mr Ashmore has accused the authorities of 'passing me around like a ball' while his wife is stranded in China.

"Forgetting my visa was an honest mistake," said Mrs Ashmore. "I feel helpless because there's nothing I can do. I just want to go home."

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the Ashmore's predicament highlights the need for all permanent residents to be aware of their obligations when leaving the country.

"While Mrs Ashmore has been fortunate that she can stay with her mother while she awaits a way home, it just goes to show that anyone can get caught out when leaving the country," said Ms Murdock.

"If you're in the UK as a foreign national, even if you are a permanent residency, make sure you know what proof will be required of you to re-enter if you have to leave for whatever reason to avoid a similar situation."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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