Fight to let USA-born Johna live in the UK

Fighting to stay in the UK, Johna and Owen.
Fighting to stay in the UK, Johna and Owen.

A petition has been launched to give a US-born woman, who has made Boston her home, the right to stay in the UK, the country she ‘loves’.

Johna Howland, 22, has been denied the right to remain in the UK following the breakdown of her marriage.

The New York State native moved to Boston in January 2014 to marry her then partner, though she had been visiting the town to see her him for numerous years beforehand.

It has seen her make the town her home; she works at a pet store in the town, where she specialises in aquatics, and has developed a strong network of friends.

This second point is particularly significant in Johna’s case as she suffers from anxiety and depression, issues she feels would come to the fore if she had to the return to the US as she does not have the same kind of support there.

“Since I have been here, I have been okay with it,” she said. “It’s not as bad anymore.”

Despite having made her case to the Home Office in her application to remain in the UK, supported by GP letters, she was given 90 days to leave the country.

Johna, who is now seeing someone new in her romantic life, has booked flights back to the US for October 10, after which she plans to launch an appeal.

“I’m so overwhelmed,” she said. “I’m really upset about having to go. It seems so silly – they are just lines on a map, our borders. Just because I was born on a different part of that map, I’m not allowed to be in a country I love.”

In support of this plea, a petition has been set up in her name. At the time of writing, it had more than 250 signatures.

“Even if it doesn’t change anything, it will still show them that’s it’s not just me stamping my feet, saying ‘this isn’t fair, I don’t want to go’,” she said. “It will show there’s a whole network of people who also care if I go.”

You can find the petition at