Business couple from Cromer to move out of Britain over visa row

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:40 14 July 2014

Steve Everitt with his American born wife Karen who has had her visa application turned down.

Steve Everitt with his American born wife Karen who has had her visa application turned down. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A business couple will have to leave their seaside home after a long-running visa row which has cost them £10,000.

Steve Everitt, 61, and his American born wife Karen, 64, moved from Miami to Tucker Street, Cromer, in April last year to expand their sporting business Soccer@Sea.

The unique enterprise takes youngsters and their families on specially tailored football cruises.

Mrs Everitt has until July 20 to leave Britain because of a failed leave to remain visa application, which went to appeal in London on June 19 but was dismissed by a judge.

The couple who love living in their rented Cromer flat say they have no funds to move back to America after paying legal costs and are unsure where they will live after July 20.

Mrs Everitt said: “I’m beyond frustrated. There is no qualm about the validity of our marriage. It is about finances. It all boils down to money and we failed to show financial sustainability. We have nowhere to go in the USA. Everything is in Cromer. I love where we are.”

She has not had her passport since last year, after giving it to the Home Office, which has stopped the couple doing “serious business” for Soccer@Sea.

Her husband said: “It has been devastating. It has financially drained us. We have been living on next to nothing. It it wasn’t for Karen’s widow’s pension from the USA we would have had no money.

“The £10,000 we have spent on the visa situation was going to see us through to the end of this year when we planned to sell of franchises of the business.”

The couple, who married six years ago in the USA, still hope to sell franchises this year for Soccer@Sea, set up in January 2011 in Miami.

They met in the sunshine state after five years of being widowed.

Mr Everitt left his home city of Norwich in 1986 with late wife Helen, and after backpacking for a year settled in Florida where he set up a scuba diving business.

He returned to Norfolk with his new wife because he was homesick.

The Home Office previously said Mrs Everitt’s application for a partner visa was turned down as she did it while in the UK.

But the couple have disputed this and said they were informed that due to a rule change, she could apply from within the UK.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.

“Mrs Everitt attempted to switch from a six month visitor visa to a partner visa while still in the UK, which is not allowed under the rules. Her appeal against the decision has been dismissed by a judge and she now has 28 days to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK.”

Mrs Everitt entered as a visitor on April 17 last year with leave to enter the UK valid until October 17.

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