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Home affairs red tape throttles Venezuelan’s SA wedding dreams

News

Home affairs red tape throttles Venezuelan’s SA wedding dreams

She came to marry her SA sweetheart, but immigration refused to accept her passport, which is valid in her country

Journalist

A legal skirmish between the home affairs department and a Venezuelan woman over the validity of her passport has disrupted her plans of marrying her SA partner and exposed her ordeal while being detained by immigration officials over Christmas.

Elisa Serrano’s ordeal is detailed in a recent judgment handed down by the high court in Cape Town. Though the court granted her some reprieve, her legal headache is far from over. Serrano, who is in a “permanent life partnership” with Claire Breukel — a South African — arrived at the Cape Town International Airport on Christmas Eve with plans to spend three months with her partner’s family.

The couple also planned to get married during her stay. Instead, Serrano found herself in an “inadmissible facility” at the airport because immigration officials refused to accept her “manual extended passport”. She was “forced to urinate in a Ziploc bag” and “kept in a facility housing males, with her being the only woman”...

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