Immigration Injustice

Newlyweds. . . originally uploaded by Vera*Smith.
My Texas son and his Norwegian bride. . . when life was easier!  

Below is the English translation of a note Mira wrote about their first year of marriage.

If you have any ideas how to keep them together in Norway, please let me know!  
Their desire is to be able to travel back and forth between the U.S. and Norway., but when they're ready to travel, not because the government wants you out of the country!
Mira's note "2011"
The time is near 6 in the morning, and I still can't sleep.

I'm usually good at focusing on being in the present, but it is getting harder and harder. This is going to be long reading, I knew it when I decided to write.

This is our history in 2011-2012.

March 14, 2011 Kevin and I were married. We had not been together very long, just one year, but we were so sure that it should be us. We have something special together, something I have never found any other man. I have never doubted, not a moment, that this is my husband. My life partner.

As newlyweds, we wanted to visit family and friends in the United States, and then take a honeymoon along the coast of Norway. In April, we landed at Gardermoen, in good spirits and had the world to our feet. Together we could do anything! The plan was to figure out the rules to get Kevin in a job and I would work hard to get a final report on an insomnia/fatigue syndrome I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.

But first, honeymoon!

Kevin is a handyman, but the big passion is juggling. He has juggled since he was 6 years old and has broad experience as both teacher and artist. There are basically balls in the air that made his living. We had heard about different places it could be possible to get a job as a juggler, or teach juggling, but he is not picky, and had been fine to settle for driving forklift in a warehouse as well.

I got support money from NAV [social services], but was very tired of not getting through on the matter. NAV sent me to the doctor, the doctor sent me back to NAV, and back and forth it went for several years. In the meantime, I worked part time at a stressful job, and in the end I could not take it anymore. In agreement with NAV I traveled to Arizona to get some sunshine, and to just get away from it all for a little while. There I met Kevin.

We started out spending a bit of time with my parents at Kapp. There were some things that had to be arranged, like adding Kevin under my insurance policy before we went on. And we thought it would be fun to celebrate 17th May there (Norwegian national holiday). A good chance for Kevin to get to know my family and my culture. He was immediately recognized as in-law and well-liked by everyone.

17Th May we were working at Gjøvik Gård, Kevin juggled, and I painted the Norwegian flag on anyone who wanted it. It was an active day with lots of people who wondered what kind of odd couple we were. In the corner of my eye I saw that Kevin lost his juggling-balls a little too often, but it looked like it was part of his show.

Afterwards, he mentioned that he did not juggle too well that day. We had noticed it a few weeks earlier, but waved it away that it was probably jetleg from the flight.

A few days after this Kevin helped Harald lay roof-tiles on the shed. Kevin told me there was something odd about his eyesight, especially when he looked up and wondered if he needed new glasses. We noticed that he looked a bit uneven. And he became more uneven and unsteady, in the end he could not smile or have any form of expression on the left side of the face. Mum was worried that it was a stroke, and we ordered a doctor's appointment.

Doctor's appointment ended with immediate admission to Lillehammer hospital.

Hospital stay was tough.
Kevin went through a lot of tests, but especially the spinal tap was rough. He could not walk down a corridor without going into the wall since he only walked in circles to the left and never more than 5 meters [less than 20 feet] before he got tired and had to sit down. Mostly, he was out of his head, and I could not keep a normal conversation with him even if he was awake. We spent our honeymoon at the hospital motel where I took care of Kevin. I brought food, and sometimes I even had to feed him.
After one and a half weeks he was diagnosed.

Relapse-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The doctor explained: It is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. It leaves scars on the brain that cause transient and/or permanent disabilities throughout the body. The patient may also have cognitive disorder, which means that the brain is not functioning properly. Some are confused and get personality shifts for shorter or longer periods, especially if they are not aware that it can happen. Some have few symptoms, others may end up as 100% disabled, where the spouse receives full-time job as a nurse.
Meanwhile as she explained, I sat staring at the table. It was a nice table. Shiny and polished with a small table cloth. I could see a knothole in the wood, and a small mark in the finish after a drop of water that had dried up there. I remember wondering who had spilled a small drop of water on the table.

The doctor got a phone call and had to run.

I looked at Kevin. He had red eyes and the tears ran down his cheeks. He stared at the wall, I stared at him.

So we sat there.
Kevin was not a juggler anymore and too ill to take another job.
I did not have regular income and my own condition was not diagnosed. Our only home was a small motor home built in 1986.

New problems emerged. Someone had to pay the hospital bill which amounted to 25 000kr. Kevin is not from an EU country so it was not a foregone conclusion that he gets medical care covered.
Then the bank called and said the insurance was not valid because he is not a member of the State.

The summer of 2011 was a nightmare in a paradise.
I extended my loan and bought a caravan which was parked on the shore of Stensveen. Then we had a little larger place. Kevin's medication did not help and he had to start using a crutch. He kept walking in circles to the left long after he was discharged, and when we hugged each other while we walked, it was to conceal the fact that I had to support him. He stopped wearing shirts, and began with sweaters, buttons where too difficult to handle.

An application for family reunification and residence permit on medical grounds was sent to the UDI [immigration control] with papers from the doctor that Kevin's treatment must be completed before he can go anywhere.

We also got strict instructions that Kevin can not take a job or leave the country for the 6-8 months it takes to process the case.

Then I got sick. A fever of nearly 40 [104 F] and could not retain fluids. This is the time we got the bill for another 25 000kr for Kevin's hospital stay. The application for postponement was sent and it was postponed until February of 2012.

It was now the good news came. Maya wanted to move to find the forest and would have us. We are so fond of Maya and feel we work well together. Kevin had just gotten a cortisone treatment and felt better. We decided to help Maya prepare the apartment for moving. A few days after we arrived in Sandnes, I got sick again and this time the fever rises to over 40. Now I am the one being in the hospital. It was a powerful antibiotic treatment for kidney inflammation that saved me. I spent the entire week I was going to help a Maya in the hospital.
Without painkillers.

Finally we moved to Finnskogen. We made friends, join the local theatre and I traveld back and forth to Kapp to go through psychological treatment to be forwarded to a sleep specialist.

Hospital bills are in order, we owe no money, thank goodness! And I got an appointment at Bergen Sleep Center. Then I have to cancel my appontment at Bergen Sleep Center. I was placed in the private section, I can't afford to pay for travel to and from Bergen, plus therapy, plus accommodation. I can't even afford new pants!
I restart again and the psychologist, who makes a new application to the Bergen that I must be on official department. Why should it take so much time just to start giving me a diagnosis?

Kevin's old medicine did not work, so he got tested on a new one that works much better. He can go more than 100 meters without getting tired, he staggers less and can even juggle a bit again!

Kevin, Maya and I established ourselves well in the woods, I'm looking for work I can do when my diagnoses is done. And Kevin wants a part time job when he gets a residence permit (i.e. is allowed to), he is tired of everyone having to take care of him and live on my rehabilitation money. He will also contribute financially to pay back a little to everyone who has helped him. Buying clothes, food, take me out to dinner, pay taxes!

We talk a lot about starting up our own business when all paperwork is in order so we can work together from home, get our personal economy stable, and just settle down.

That is when we get a letter from UDI.
Refusal of temporary residence permit and family reunification.
He must either file a complaint, or leave the country within 24 april 2012.

Refusal of family reunion because I do not earn enough money. I have to earn 225000kr a year to be allowed to live my life with my husband in my homeland.

Refusal of temporary residence permit because Kevin is not sick enough. MS is not considered a serious enough disease to provide a residence on human grounds. Although his central nervous system will be broken down without medication, medication he will not get in his home country.

We received the letter on March 28. I was completely put out, although I suspect that this was how it would be. It took me two days to “wake up” after the news. Two days where I could not focus on anything. I was completely apathetic. Then I was reminded that it's Easter, everything is closing! Lawyers will not work in this Easter more than others, we might lose a week where we can work with a complaint.

If we move abroad I have to start over again with a medical report, and I'll be honest, this year has taken awful lot of my energy. I do not know if I can start on something like that again if I quit now ...

This turned out to be a long read, congratulations to all of you who have read the whole thing!
We have met so many nice and positive helpers on our way, from some financial support, paperwork, used and new clothes, shoulders to cry on, warm hugs and words. Thanks to you all! I am so glad to have so many wonderful friends on my team. I hope it works out and Immigration is changing the rules so it is possible to be with those you love where the love and not economic terms are deciding if you should stay together.

The time is almost 8, I should try to sleep a bit.

This is not a unique story, please share as more people are becoming aware of the immigration system.


  1. I'm so sorry Vera. They are a beautiful couple. I actually thought it was an older picture of you and your husband. How sad about their illnesses. I wish I had some information thaat would help. Seems very unfair that they can't stay because they don't make enough money. I hope it all works out. Please keep us informed. I will say a prayer for them.

  2. Thanks, Debby. I agree - I think they're beautiful, too! Thank you for your prayers.

  3. Vera- I can't believe this turn of events. I am praying for God's intervention. He has them in the palm of His hand...and knows the reasons for the things happening. Even if we don't!
    I'm sorry to hear about your son's diagnosis and your daughter in law's illness.
    I'll be watching and waiting for updates.
    blessings, Pat

    1. Pat, Thank you for your encouragement and concern. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated.