A coachbuilder who has lived in Wiltshire for several years is unable to go back home to Serbia because his passport has expired.

Ivan Stankovic, 35, has been waiting for nearly two years for the Home Office to approve a visa application giving him indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

He would be unable to get back into the UK without a valid passport and a previously approved visa as it cannot be obtained on re-entry.

Mr Stankovic, who lives in Bowman’s Court, Melksham, said: “Due to the delay in my visa, my right to apply for indefinite leave to remain will now be extended for the amount of time that I’m waiting.

“In all my other applications before I’ve never encountered a problem like this.”

Mr Stankovic first came to this country in 2013 on a family visa and managed to find work.

He applied for a tourist visa in 2019 after he and his wife separated. 

Mr Stankovic, who works as a coachbuilder for a company in Westbury, says has already spent £50,000 on visa applications over the past 10 years.

He first applied for the indefinite leave to remain visa in March 2021 and has engaged a solicitor in Manchester to chase it up.

“I applied nearly two years ago and I’ve been waiting ever since but I’ve heard nothing,” he said. "My solicitor is contacting them every week trying to find out what is going on."

Since then, his passport expired in June 2022 and he’s been unable to leave the country and get back in.

“I contacted the Serbian Embassy in London to try and extend my passport but I can't extend my passport without the visa," he said.

“I’ve missed family weddings and funerals back in Serbia because I am unable to leave the country.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is longstanding government policy that we do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

The Home Office said that further Leave to Remain applications under Family and Human Rights are not currently subject to any service standards.

“The extent and length of time taken to complete such enquiries varies according to the particular circumstance of each application”, the spokesperson added.

Mr Stankovic hopes to stay in the UK after obtaining the visa. He plans to apply for UK citizenship a year after it is approved.