IAS officer Sanjeev Gupta helps Saina Nehwal ‘win’ visa on time

Hyderabad: In a rare display of coordination the ministry of external affairs, the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) global and the Denmark Embassy along with IAS officer Sanjeev Gupta, secretary to the government of India worked round the clock to give Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal a Dusshera gift.

Badminton champion, Saina ranked 8th in the world is traveling to Denmark to participate in the Denmark Open tournament scheduled to commence from October 15 to 20. Saina will take on Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi in the first round of the tournament scheduled for the coming Tuesday.

However, it was on October 7, 2019, that Saina realised that she and her trainer’s visa was not processed. This was due to a new set of regulations framed by the Schengen visa norms.  The new rule insists that the applicant is required to be personally present at the VFS office.

Denmark came up with this new regulation on September 17, 2019. The Schengen visa norms make it mandatory that beginning from September, 20 every applicant is required to be present in person. Since 2006, Saina has been traveling to Denmark every year. She has been traveling to different Schengen countries repeatedly.  As a result, visa authorities have her biometrics. Saina got to know of this new change only on October 7 as her visa wasn’t processed yet.

Taking to Twitter Saina wrote, “I have an Urgent request regarding Visa for me and my trainer to Denmark. I have a tournament next week in Odense and we don’t have our visas processed yet. Out matches are starting on Tuesday next week”.

It was senior IAS officer Sanjeev Gupta who pulled a few strings in his personal capacity and ensured that Saina Nehwal got her visa on time.

A highly placed source told Newsmeter, “The new regulation insists on her presence. This condition of personal presence was specific to Denmark, only, and VFS is bound by it. Saina’s passport was in Delhi and she was in Hyderabad. It was officer Sanjeev Gupta in his personal capacity contacted the global VFS chief and requested if Saina could mark her presence in Hyderabad, and if based on this the VFS could take it collectively and the application could be directedly submitted to the Denmark Embassy.”
The request placed by the VFS global head and the Indian bureaucrat was reviewed by the Denmark Embassy, who gave clearance for her presence to be marked in Hyderabad, a rare approval indeed. While the visa was processed within a few hours, the basic issue arises from back to back Badminton World Federation tournaments leaving very little time for visa application.
In the meanwhile, it was found that another badminton champ Srikanth Kidambi was facing the same issue. A separate request was also put in for Srikanth.  Similar problems have taken place earlier too involving Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and Sukant Kadam as well.
Following the clearance, the process was fast-tracked on Dussehra day.  Saina Nehwal and Srikanth Kidambi made their appearances in Hyderabad before the VFS. After countless phone calls, follow-ups and a number of people working round the clock on Dussehra, Saina Nehwal, her trainer and Srikanth Kidambi received their visa documents at 8 pm on October 8.
Saina tweeted, “Got my Visa application processed today in Hyderabad. Thanks to @sanjg2k1 for making the impossible happen @ VFSGlobal for going the extra mile along with @DenmarkinIndia even on a holiday! Hope to get the Visa in time for a flight on Friday”.


In return, Sanjeev Gupta took to Twitter to share, “All 4 visas (@NSaina, @srikidambi, et al) issued today! Thanks, @MEAIndia, @VFSGlobal & @DenmarkinIndia. Time for systemic changes for these back to back events. @bwfmedia/ @BAI_Media / @Media_SAI process should leave enough time for visa application.

Also Read: https://newsmeter.in/mayank-agarwal-scores-back-to-back-hundreds-as-india-end-day-one-at-273-3/

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Having over 9 years of experience , her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. A post-graduate in Mass Communication, Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Through out her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life . She is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has recently attended the 'Defence Correspondence Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and an insight into operations of Fighter aircrafts. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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