gay couple

The two boyfriends of 11 years are finally together: ‘This was my Christmas present’

A man who was denied a visa to join his boyfriend of 11 years in the UK because their utility bills were in different names has arrived in the country.

The Home Office u-turned the decision of denying a visa to Adam Armstrong, 34, from Adelaide in Australia. Armstrong wanted to join his partner Duke Westwood in Swansea, Wales.

Armstrong also sent a raft of evidence, but the Home Office rejected his application for a settlement visa as the partner of a British citizen on the grounds that it was ‘not satisfied’ that their relationship was ‘akin to marriage’. The reason? The water and energy bill they provided had only Westwood’s name on them.

After Buzzfeed broke the news last month, the Home Office stated they were reviewing the decision. Therefore, Armstrong could apply for a visa.

Armstrong’s passport arrived last week, five weeks after the article was published. Then he booked onto the earliest flight he could to join Westwood, arriving in Birmingham today (12 December).

The two have met in 2007 in Australia

‘I’m still in shock. It still doesn’t seem real to me. It’s totally surreal but lovely and amazing. I think I was getting teary even before I got into the actual terminal. I can’t stop just touching him and saying “yes, you’re actually here!”‘ he told Buzzfeed.

The couple met on Australian MySpace in June 2007 and started dating the following month in Adelaide. In February 2018, Westwood returned to Britain to start work. He assumed that Armstrong would soon be able to get a visa to join him since they met the earning threshold and had been together for 11 years.

Westwood also said of their meeting in Birmingham’s arrivals hall after 10 months apart: ‘There were lots of hugs and kisses. It was just amazing. I was in shock, I had to pinch myself because what I’d been dreaming off for months and months has finally happened.’

The experience with the Home Office was ‘absolute hell’

Armstrong said their experience with the Home Office was ‘absolute hell’.

‘It’s like your life is on hold, you can’t plan anything, you can’t do anything,’ he said.

‘Even once they said they’d overturned the decision we got so used to hearing nothing that it was difficult to get excited until I actually saw him at the airport. This was my Christmas present. I get to see him for Christmas.

Adam and Duke aren’t the only same-sex couple threatened to be separated by the Home Office.

Earlier this year, an American man married to a British citizen was asked to leave the country as he has been denied a visa extension. Ben and Brian Page, who have been married for four years, appealed the decision. They will have to attend the High Court for a hearing tomorrow.

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