A was forced to flee Sudan as his life was at risk, leaving behind his pregnant wife and young child. Staying in regular contact with his family during his difficult journey was hard, and he was moving from place-to-place seeking safety for almost two years. However, once A arrived in the UK he was able to be in contact with his family more regularly as having a mobile phone was easier. He arrived in UK in 2017 and was granted asylum just over two years later, when he started the Refugee Family Reunion applications for his wife and children with us.
A came from a very rural area of Sudan and his family had never had a need for birth certificates and other official papers, so this caused some delays with the application process as these had to be applied for retrospectively.
His wife and children had to travel from rural Sudan to Khartoum to apply for and collect travel documents, and for a second time to collect the decision from the Visa Application Centre. This a perilous journey of over 7 hours, and very risky for an unaccompanied woman with two young children. Unfortunately, the decision about A’s wife and children’s applications came at the time of the miliary coup and Khartoum went into lockdown, so they were unable to travel to get the visas for almost 5 weeks.
Visas are issued for 3 months to give time to arrange travel, but when it was finally safer to collect the visas from Khartoum there was only 3 weeks left until they expired. Applying for a visa extension would take months, so it was a scramble to try and get help to bring A’s wife and children to the UK. We put them in touch with the British Red Cross who were fortunately able to help book flights with only days to go. The first flight was cancelled due to snow, and at the time of writing the family are on a flight, with only 2 days left on the visa. A has never met his youngest child so it will be an incredibly emotional reunion.