11:19 GMT +320 September 2019
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    Couple Barred From British Airways Flight Due to 'Settled Status' Row

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    The incident began on Thursday night after UK carrier British Airways told the couple that they failed to present the right paperwork to board their flight at Istanbul Airport, prompting the couple to make seven phone calls to Home Office officials and others, including Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, to help them get their boarding approved.

    UK's settlement scheme for EU citizens has seen its first hiccups after a couple living in Oxford were blocked from returning after a holiday in Turkey. 

    Danish citizen Arthur Vissing and Ezgi Vissing, his wife, have urged the government to review its EU settlement scheme so that those with residency rights can travel without problems.  

    While British Airways said was following Border Force instructions, Ezgi claims that they "seemed puzzled by the very concept" of settled status documents. Shortly before boarding her flight after the 24h ordeal, she called the EU settlement scheme "unreliable" and pointed out that it was "not recognised by local airline operators," demanding the Home Office to "clarify its position.

    But British Airways urged the couple to be responsible for their own documentation and to seek advice from their travel insurer.

    Others took to Twitter to express their support and criticism for the couple, with some pointing out that she had been "wrongfully advised" to travel with a biometric card and others slamming her for claiming her "husband is a Dane" validated her right to enter the UK.

    According to tweets, the Vissings spent the night at Istanbul airport from 9 to 10 May and failed to show proof of their right to re-enter the UK, causing the couple to worry about being unable to return to their home in Oxford. Arthur Vissing said that, on a scale of one to ten based on stress, he rated his experience at nine. 

    "You feel like you are losing the most fundamental thing in life, the right to have a family life, the right to have the person who is closest to you to live in the same country as you," he told The Guardian. 

    "Arthur managed it better than me; he was trying to make me laugh, keep my spirits up," Ezgi said. "I was in tears most of the time. I would not like to go through it again and would not like any EU citizen or their families to go through this." 

    EU citizen campaigner the3million stated that this case proved that EU citizens needed physical documents and not digital websites to evidence their rights. 

    "The Home Office is promising us a lifetime of worries by refusing to issue EU citizens who successfully applied for settled status a secured physical document," group co-founder Nicholas Hatten said. "It would reassure the elderly who don't use online services and those who worry about returning to their home in the UK from a holiday, but not able to because the system is down." 

    But a BA spokesman said that Border Force instructed the airline to block Ezgi from boarding her flight, stating that the carrier had "been able to assist an individual with the right to enter the country, but who did not have the necessary documentation with them to travel to the UK." The Home Office had also urged the couple to apply for a biometric card, but Ezgi insisted that they had already applied for one and that the application was causing the delay in receiving settled status.

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    Tags:
    brexit concerns, "settled status", right to remain, visa applications, bureaucracy, travel, Brexit, UK Officers of Border Force, UK Home Office, British Airways, Istanbul
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