Cambridgeshire

Peterborough and US family kept apart in travel dispute

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Media captionThe family chat to each other face-to-face via the internet

A couple who have a young daughter say they are forced to live 5,000 miles apart because neither can stay in the partner's home country.

Two-year-old Emma Chappell is being brought up by her father David in Peterborough because her US mother, Brandi, cannot get residency in the UK.

Mr Chappell has a 10-year ban on travelling to the US after two previous over-stays on a visitor visa.

The Home Office said Mrs Chappell did not meet the income threshold required.

Her husband said his £11,000-a-year Royal Navy pension was deemed not enough to support his family, who regularly chat to each other via the web.

"I am in an impossible position," he said.

"I can't get a job while I am looking after Emma but once Brandi is over here one or both of us can work to earn enough.

"Every day is a struggle when you're away from your wife and your wife is not seeing your daughter grow up."

'Missed so much'

Image caption Brandi Chappell said she found the situation difficult

Mr Chappell, a former Royal Navy police officer, met his wife six years ago when she was in the US Navy and both were stationed abroad.

He then stayed with her in the US on visitor visas, but said he stayed too long - once when Emma was born and when he received "wrong information" from US immigration.

Speaking to the BBC via a web cam, Mrs Chappell said she had "missed so much", including Emma's second birthday.

"I don't know when I'll get to see them again," she added.

Mr Chappell said he was appealing with the US authorities, while his wife is also considering an appeal over her UK refusal.

Speaking of Mrs Chappell's application, a Home Office spokesman said: "We believe that those choosing to establish their family life here should be able to support themselves financially and not be a burden to the taxpayer.

"The visa was refused because the application did not meet the income threshold required by our immigration rules."

US Citizenship and Immigration Services is expected to comment later.

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