David Livesly and Dora Foschi have owned the Woodstocker Inn since 2005. It's won numerous awards like B and B of the year. But in the back of the innkeeper's minds, there has always been an unsettling feeling.
"In theory, if our D-2 Visa was not renewed, we would be asked to leave the country and we would have to sell," David Livesly explained.
It's an issue that the couple from the UK has seen firsthand with other foreigners they know in the hospitality business.
"We've heard some horror stories," Livesly said. "Restaurant owners over in Maine, there is a couple down in Chester, south in the state who left the country a few months ago because their Visa was denied."
And after putting thousands of dollars of renovations into the inn since buying it, selling was not something they were looking forward to.
"Nerves, yes. I am more of a nervous character anyways," said Dora Foschi, Livesly's partner. "David would just push ahead and be optimistic and yeah, whatever happens happens, but I am a bit more reticent."
The couple's temporary Visa was set to expire in 2012 and they had already begun making preparations to sell the award-winning inn and move out of the country. But then they received some very good news.
"We were completely astounded when we got the phone call. We were actually traveling," Foschi said.
They found out that they had been awarded "Alien of Extraordinary Status" by the U.S. government for their dedication and work in their field.
"Obviously it is peace of mind," Livesly said. "We want to stay here and we want to stay here for a long time, maybe we want to buy another business in Vermont, who knows? We enjoy what we do, but now we have the peace of mind to actually be here."
Now the couple can proudly show off the green cards they received, allowing them to live permanently in the U.S., and a symbol of their accomplishments as small business owners.
"Plainly somebody somewhere looks kindly on us, which is reassuring," Livesly said.
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