Local couple’s costly fight for a spousal visa

2018-01-18 15:11
Wendy Kessman and Nomfundo Ngidi.

Wendy Kessman and Nomfundo Ngidi. (Supplied)

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A Pietermaritzburg couple cannot work out why they have had two applications for a spousal visa, and subsequent appeals, denied by the Department of Home Affairs.

Wendy Kessman (29), a U.S. national who married Nomfundo Ngidi (25), originally from Durban, in January last year, said she is considering taking the matter to the high court if another appeal they submitted recently is knocked down.

A month after their marriage, Kessman sought to change her visa status from visitors’ status to one for accompanying spouse visitors. She said Home Affairs was furnished with the proper documents.

Kessman claimed her application was rejected on account of her physically being in the country at the time of the application.

She said she had thereafter appealed the decision, but to no avail.

Kessman told The Witness that she faces losses of job offers and a restricted right to move between countries because of the visa problem.

She has even had her studies, pursuing a PhD in the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s media and gender studies department, delayed an entire year because of this, and fears she will be losing another year as the university academic year begins next month.

Home Affairs spokesperson Thabo Makgola did not respond to a detailed query on Wednesday. He also did not answer calls or SMSes.

The couple met while doing volunteer work in Swaziland in 2014. Kessman lived in Swaziland at the time and Ngidi in Durban, and they enjoyed a long-distance relationship.

They moved in together in August 2016, and currently reside in Pietermaritzburg.

Ngidi said they were constantly worried that Kessman could have to leave the country. “It has been a very stressful process … we can’t be like normal couples who get to relax and enjoy life.”

Ngidi said she would consider moving if Kessman was sent back to the U.S. “We’ll have to move from fighting here to fighting there,” she said.

“These appeals take so much money, just to walk inside … the Home Affairs visa processing centre costs R1 370. We’ve had to do that three times so far, let alone having to pay for … the background checks, lawyers’ fees, the loss of income — endless expenses with no income,” Ngidi said.

Read more on:    home affairs  |  pietermaritzburg

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