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British grandmother travelling to meet grandchild ‘devastated’ after being denied boarding to New Zealand

British grandmother travelling to meet grandchild ‘devastated’ after being denied boarding to New Zealand

A British grandmother was “devastated” to fly halfway to New Zealand to meet her newborn grandchild — only to be told she had been denied entry to the country.

Lois Crumpton, aged 80, was travelling to visit her son Tom and meet his youngest child, William, for the first time, when she was told she could not fly into New Zealand due to immigration concerns.

She had already flown the first leg of her journey — from London to San Francisco — before she was told of the visa issue.

The incident happened on 17 January, after the elderly passenger had already endured some 15 hours of travel, with Ms Crumpton saying it had caused her “significant emotional distress”.

“I am 80 years old and travelling such a long way is a huge undertaking for me, and to have the experience of being refused to board a plane, when in good faith I had applied and received permission to travel to NZ, has caused significant emotional distress,” she wrote to Immigration New Zealand officials.

Ms Crumpton says she had successfully applied for the required NZeTA visa waiver document prior to the trip, and been approved on 3 January, with no prior indication that there would be any problem with getting into the country.

Her son, Tom Crumpton, told Stuff New Zealand: “She went to board her flight to Auckland and was stopped at the gate and told she’s an overstayer and not authorised to return to New Zealand.”

He explained that he suspects the issue is with a past visit in 2020, when his mother became stranded while visiting the family as New Zealand closed its borders due to the spread of Covid-19.

However, Mr Crumpton says the family followed government protocol at the time, with his mother applying for a six-month interim visa. However, her visitor visa expired while she was still waiting for her interim visa to come through.

“She ended up stuck here for about 18 months and, while she was here, she did all of her visa extensions and things she was required to do,” Mr Crumpton told Stuff.

“Immigration staff reassured me that as long as mum was going through the process, she was not going to get deported and would be okay to stay.”

She eventually flew back home before the second emergency visa was granted. Ms Crumpton says she had been advised locally not to travel home until she had received her Covid-19 vaccine.

“But they’d…

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