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Camp Hill, Pa., couple enjoyed New Year's Eve together thanks to a marriage visa

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CAMP HILL, Pa. -- Annie Kerrigan-Cribbs, 71, of Camp Hill, and her husband of several months, Terrence Cribbs, 80, of Kent, England, shared a champagne toast during a quiet New Year's Eve celebration at home.
The couple had been separated earlier this year due to redtape in getting Terry a marriage visa. The couple had married in a last-minute ceremony held on March 2, prior to the deadline for Terry to leave the U.S. and return to the United Kingdom by April 5. Despite the fact Terry was in the U.S., on a valid travel visa, immigration officials informed him he had to leave the country and could not return until he had obtained a marriage visa, which, they said, could take a year or more.
The couple had known each other for nearly eight years. Annie and Terry were both married to other people when they first met. Annie's husband died in 2002; and Terry's wife passed away in 2011. A little more than one year ago, the couple began dating.
Neither of them had anticipated the need for a marriage visa and were both devastated that they were going to be separated by the Atlantic Ocean for so long a period. Terry returned to England, and Annie visited when she could. She is the primary caregiver of her 91-year-old mother.
With the assistance of Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA), the visa process was put on a fast track and in mid-November, the couple were informed that the marriage visa had been approved and Terry received his green card, which allows him to be a permanent resident of the U.S., Annie said.
“I'm celebrating the New Year in America with a green card, after an arduous journey,” Terry said. “I'm with the love of my life and looking forward to many years living in America. The decision to sell off everything and leave my wonderful family and friends was a momentous decision, but like all immigrants America called to me. I want to wish everybody a happy New Year and I'm looking forward to the new year.”
Annie said they are now “happy campers,” thanks to Toomey's Allentown staff. An important factor in Toomey's success in hastening the visa process was not the couples ages; rather, it was because Annie is a caregiver for her mother.
“I would have been traveling out of the country to Great Britain to visit with my husband,” Annie said. “ Doing this would certainly take away monies from my mom's account to pay caregivers and she may have ended up in a county facility, which would have cost taxpayers about $9,000 a month.”
Despite being able to be together four times in seven months, when Annie traveled to the United Kingdom, the couple missed each other when they were forced to be apart. Traveling also took its toll on Annie, who became ill in England, prior to coming home.
“Terry has low vision and doesn’t drive anymore so needs my care and I love him deeply and need his humor and hugs,” Annie said. “The traveling is so hard. The airplanes themselves are a joy as each passenger has their own music, shows, entertainment. However, it’s the two hours before takeoff and the two to three hours after takeoff going through customs and security make it an extremely long hard traveling time. Even young people are worn out and I felt so sorry all the time with couples with babies and young children winding the long lines through customs. It turns a six or seven-hour trip into a 11 or 12-hour day. Sometimes it was even longer, as the trip to the London airport from Terry’s home was two hours.”
Annie said their story is a “love story” with a happy ending. Terry, she said, gave up his home, two cars and left his three children and three grandchildren to move to America.
“He also is so eacited about becoming a citizen as soon as he can,” Annie said. “He quite loves the central Pennsylvania area and anyone who has traveled outside of the United States knows how special we have it here and how lovely it is.”
When Terry arrived in the U.S., he received a big welcome from the National Security Center and came through customs in a timely fashion, Annie said. Everyone smiled and welcomed him.
“He came through the door yelling Annie as loud as he could,” Annie said. “I ran to hug him and we got a round of applause from complete strangers and a picture taken. It's been quite an event in the last seven months, crossing the great pond four times to visit with my husband.”

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