Raleigh man stuck abroad for months because of COVID-19 travel ban


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh resident from the United Kingdom has been working his way back onto American soil after getting stuck in England because of COVID-19 travel bans.

“All of a sudden, I had to knock on my parents’ door and say, ‘Do you think you could put me up for what will only be a few weeks, I’m sure.’ Three months later, I was still there,” Ian Scott said from his hotel room outside of Cancun. He was able to travel to Mexico and has been quarantining there before he can come back into the United States.

Scott said he traveled to the United Kingdom to work out the paperwork and K-1 Visa process to marry his American fiancee, Erin Bland. The trek began in June and the coronavirus travel ban meant Scott was suddenly stuck on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Erin Bland (left) and Ian Scott.

“A feeling of depression (and) just feeling down because there was so much uncertainty and I didn’t have a lot of confidence anything was going to get better,” he said.

In the meantime, Bland was home in Raleigh. She is now facing and an unexpected prolonged engagement.

“What exactly does that mean, and how long is he forbidden from coming into the U.S.? And, ultimately, how long will the ban last?” Bland asked. “During that time, will both of us remain healthy?”

Scott, luckily, could stay with his parents.

“There were thousands and thousands of people on this site who were in somewhat similar positions,” Scott said. “Some hadn’t even seen their children being born because of the travel ban between the two countries.”

Besides traveling through Mexico, Scott’s other return options included going through Turkey or through Croatia and Aruba. Mexico started to make the most sense, but flights kept getting canceled.

Finally, after some three months, Scott flew from London to Amsterdam and then to Mexico City. From there, he flew to Cancun. After two weeks of quarantine there, with Bland joining him and barring any new restrictions, they hope to be back at their home in Raleigh.

“So, while I’m excited and starting to feel a little relieved that finally, after three months this ordeal might be finished, I’m still not letting myself acknowledge it’s going to happen because it still couldn’t,” said Bland.

Scott added: “I can’t work out if I’m a little bit excited and a little bit anxious now. They’re new emotions and I think, if they’re there, that’s probably a good sign.”

A good sign that could mean a welcome home that the couple is hoping will soon happen.

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