Couple plans to spend Valentine’s Day together despite COVID keeping them thousands of miles apart


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The pandemic is keeping lots of people apart, but some are farther apart than others.  

Alyssa Bianca and James Nolan met 7 years ago. Bianca is from Naugatuck and wanted advice about studying in Ireland. That is where Nolan lives. He gave her the advice.

“One thing led to another and, before I knew it, we were Skyping every night, texting all day,” Bianca remembered.

Nolan popped the question on a trip to Italy a little more than a year ago.

“I proposed to Alyssa in early January, and then lockdown happened,” Nolan said. “Our lives have been on hold ever since, unfortunately.”

Alyssa was able to visit Ireland twice since, but the plan was to start their life together in the United States. The way that usually works for a foreign fiancé is the US government issues what is called a K-1 visa, allowing Nolan to come to the U.S. and marry Bianca.

Bianca went through a whole legal process of petitioning the government. Then the case got sent to the U.S. embassy in Dublin, Ireland, where Nolan has to be interviewed by the state department. Ireland, however, is in COVID lockdown. Only essential services are open.

“The problem at the moment is that the embassy isn’t seen as an essential service,” explained Nolan. “So the interviews that I need to do to get approved for a visa and get granted a visa can’t happen in Ireland.”

Even if he got the visa, U.S. travel restrictions still prevent Nolan from coming to America because fiancés do not have any more travel rights than regular tourists. There is an international movement called “Love Is Not Tourism” aimed at trying to change those rules, but they have had little to no luck in the United States. So, the wedding has been postponed.

“I have my wedding dress hung in the closet behind me here that’s going to be there for another year and a half that I look at every day,” Bianca said.

The two of them have lots of practice doing things together while apart, like their Valentine’s plans.

“We’re going to make, actually, a meal that we had together when we got engaged in Italy,” said Bianca. “We’re going to do a risotto from Milan.”

While they are making do, they say the tough part is not knowing when they’ll get to be together again.

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