US woman separated from baby by visa issues

01 Jun 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A US-born woman has been separated from her British-born baby for 18 months after being refused entry into the UK.

Ronda Jafolla, 42, from Idaho, gave birth to Arianna in July 2013 and returned to the US in November to visit her family. But when she tried to re-enter the UK at Christmas that year, she was sent back to the US because she had used her temporary visa for periods of frequent and successive visits.

Ms Jafolla started a relationship with Mark Bates, from Tilbury in Essex in 2012 after they met online. She realised she was pregnant after returning home to Idaho and came back to the UK to have her baby with her partner.

However, she was prevented from staying in the country when she returned at Christmas 2013 on her standard six month visitor visa. She was allowed one night with her baby and has not seen her since. Back in the US, she is now saving to apply for a fiancé visa while working in a minimum wage job.

Ms Jafolla told the Daily Mail: “As I was escorted to the plane the next day, I was just so upset and frustrated. All I wanted was more time with my baby.

“It's devastating to think about how much of Ari's life I've missed.”

With a six month visa, people are generally allowed to stay in the UK for up to six months.

However, the visa prevents themfrom living in the UK for extended periods as a result of frequent and successive visits. An individual would not be allowed to stay in the UK for five or six months, return for a short break to their home country, and then return to Britain for a further five to six months as this would be considered residence.