Ipswich teacher's big wedding dream dashed as fiancé has immigration hurdles
- Credit: Dan Thompson
Ipswich teacher Dan Thompson will not be able to have the big wedding he has always dreamed of when his partner is finally able to get to the UK.
As Mr Thompson approached 40, he never thought he'd actually end up with anyone before meeting Luis Suescun in October 2015 when they were both in Shanghai.
The 39-year-old had given up on his dream of having a "big wedding" before the pair met online, moved in together and took in a cat.
Both teachers of English as a foreign language moved to Warsaw in Poland, in 2017, where they worked for a few years before Mr Thompson returned to his parent's home of Suffolk and Mr Suescun mainly taught Spanish.
They thought the separation would be temporary in 2019 while the Ipswich High School teacher got the money together for the immigration application as Mr Suescun, 33, is Venezuelan and Colombian.
But while they spent money on cheap flights to Poland to see each other often, Covid closed the borders and created more hurdles as UK Visa Application Centres cancelled their services.
The centres are up and running now, along with the language tests that Mr Suescun, the English language teacher, has to take but the cost is pricey.
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An application for a partnership visa to the UK is £1,523, the fee for the application centre is £55, an immigration lawyer's fees is £400 and expediting the visa application is £600 - bringing the total cost to £2,578.
"It's very stressful and difficult for both of us but we knew it going into this, it would not be easy," he said. "It's a lot of financial burden."
Added to this, there is lots of documentation that Mr Thompson has to supply including bank statements, employment and housing contracts and when Luis Suescun does arrive, he cannot work for six months during which time they have to get married.
"We originally hoped to have all our friends and have a big party but it's just the cost of it," he said. "He is more practicable and level-headed than me but I dreamed of having a big wedding."
They did think about getting married before but that would have to be not in the UK and they cannot get married in Poland as gay marriage is illegal.
"Covid has affected people in so many ways and we have been really lucky to have jobs and income."
The couple's family and friends helped meet some of these costs by donating here to gofundme.com/f/help-us-get-luis-visa-to-the-uk.