The widow of an Australian war veteran will fulfil her husband’s wish to raise their five-year-old son in Australia following a major win in her battle against deportation.
American citizen Kristie Chilcott faced being kicked out of the country on July 1, but on Thursday was delivered the news she had been desperate to hear — she can stay.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: US widow of Australian war hero allowed to remain in country.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
Chilcott’s husband Drew Chilcott, an able seaman in the Australian Defence Force, died in a motorbike crash in October 2022.
The pair had been living in the United States and planned to return to Perth before his accident so they could be closer to their five-year-old son’s grandparents in WA.
“We thought Australia was a great place to raise a young boy. We liked the morals behind Australia, we loved the country side of it, we loved the environment,” the widow told 7NEWS.
Major update to travel requirements for Aussies travelling to Europe
Australia to release detained refugees within days after landmark ruling
Chilcott made the move but was facing a return to the US within months because she had been unable to secure a vital parent visa, even though her son is an Australian citizen.
“Unfortunately, (authorities) didn’t want to do anything about it, they didn’t really want to help,” she said.
“I just got a date of July 1 and that’s when I had to be out.”
Chilcott had been hesitant to go public with her fight, saying it was a “difficult” decision to do so, but feared having to uproot her young son again.
But when the issue was exposed, authorities appeared to have a change of heart.
Kristie and Drew Chilcott and had been planning to return to Australia before his death in a bike accident. Credit: 7NEWSKristie Chilcott was preparing to be kicked out of the country in July. Credit: 7NEWS
On Thursday, immigration officials reached out to Chilcott to inform her she could stay and raise her child in Australia.
Final approval should be granted in the next few weeks, and Chilcott said she was now waiting anxiously to have the visa in her hands.
Drew Chilcott was just a teenager when he enlisted a day after the September 11 attacks and had a military career spanning 20 years.
Drew Chilcott was a 20-year veteran. Credit: 7NEWS
His service included more than a dozen high-risk missions, being injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan and breaking his back in a helicopter fall.
He was medically discharged from the ADF in early 2021 and took up a training job in Los Angeles.