Pregnant mother stranded in UK after US blocks non-residents from entering

A heavily-pregnant British expat is stranded in the UK with no home or job after the US introduced its travel ban while she and her family were visiting Europe for a wedding.

Louise Lechat, 35, and her husband Guillaume, 37, emigrated to Nashville, Tennessee, last year but have yet to be granted residents’ permits.

Instead, the couple, who are both photographers, have an investor visa after setting up their own business in the country.

But the E2 investor visa is not on the list of those who are allowed to return after the US announced on Monday the extension on the ban on travel from Europe to include the UK and Ireland.

The family had been in Ibiza for Ms Lechat’s sister’s wedding with their two-year-old daughter Malo when the new travel restrictions were announced.

Ms Lechat, who is 32 weeks pregnant with her second child, now fears she will be forced to pay for private care for the birth in the UK as she is no longer deemed a resident in this country.

Even if the ban is lifted next month, most airlines refuse to carry women who are more than 36 weeks pregnant due to the risk of early labour or developing deep vein thrombosis.

Lechat family
Lechat family

The Lechats are currently staying in Jersey with Ms Lechat’s mother.

Ms Lechat told PA: “We’re kind of in a no man’s land where we can’t go back home and the baby is coming, and I’ll have to figure out who could help us pay for (medical care) if we have to pay for it ourselves.

“Unfortunately we are self-employed and all our work has been cancelled, so we have no income right now.”

She added: “It is just confusing that certain visas aren’t allowed back in when that is our home and Americans who have been in Europe are allowed in.

“We are 100% behind controlling the virus and stopping it – we would do all the health checks and anything that is required of us that US citizens are having to do.”

The couple have been told by an immigration lawyer they could try boarding a flight to the US to see if border officials would allow them in, but risk being sent immediately back to the UK.

The strategy also risks seeing their visa being revoked entirely.

“We’ve just been following the news like everyone else to see what’s changing and it doesn’t look like it’s changing any in a positive way,” Ms Lechat said.