KEEPING a long distance relationship going is difficult.
But it’s even harder for Holmfirth man Chris Bray who’s been denied entry to the USA to see his girlfriend, Victoria Powers.
On Monday, The Examiner ran a story about 20-year-old Lizzy Thornton, of Quarmby, who was having problems getting her American boyfriend, Lewis Batohie, into the UK.
Now Chris, 25, is having a similar problem – in reverse.
Chris met Victoria, now 24, when he was working as a barman in Orlando, Florida, in 2009.
Mr Bray, now a restaurant manager, got on famously with Victoria and the pair became an item.
But Chris’s work visa expired and to complicate matters, he ran out of money for a flight home.
So Chris, the son of Holmfirth greengrocer Andrew Bray, had to overstay his visa for two-and-a-half weeks while his parents wired him the money for his return flight.
US immigration policy is notoriously strict and overstaying a visa can bar a traveller further entry to the country.
Chris was allowed back into the US one last time on a ‘parole visa’ in 2010 to see Victoria in Florida.
But he has since had his US visa applications turned down – despite securing a job in upstate New York, where Victoria is now studying to become a journalist.
Victoria will be coming to Holmfirth in the New Year where the couple may even discuss marriage as a way of gaining Chris access to the US.
Chris said: “Finally after 20 months we’re able to spend some time together.
“We don’t want to get engaged just yet but we don’t want to be forced into it because of stupid immigration laws.
“It’s really hard not being able to see her. We text each other every single day.
“It might get to the stage where she has to come here. It’s a bit of a mess.
“Even if I get a US engagement visa I can’t work for five months.”
A spokesman for the US Embassy in London said they were only authorised to discuss cases with the individual involved.