Cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane denied US visa, yet again

Published On: May 30, 2024 05:56 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 22: The US Embassy in Kathmandu has once again denied a visa to Nepali cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane.

Lamichhane attended a visa interview at the US Embassy in Kathmandu at 4 PM on Thursday after a previous denial. His visa interview was scheduled for today following a diplomatic note sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) at the request of the Sports Ministry, seeking assistance in securing him a visa to travel to the US for the T20 World Cup.

Earlier, Lamichhane's fans had taken to the streets, demanding that the US Embassy in Nepal grant him a visa to travel to the US. Sports Minister Biraj Bhakta Shrestha had also assured the public that he would take the necessary initiatives to send Lamichhane to the US for the T20 World Cup.

Lamichhane, who was scheduled to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup hosted by the US and the West Indies, was previously denied a visa on Wednesday. This denial occurred despite other members of the Nepali cricket team already arriving in the United States to prepare for the tournament.

This development poses a significant challenge not only for Lamichhane but also for the team's preparations ahead of such a crucial international event.

Lamichhane's visa issues follow closely on the heels of his acquittal in a high-profile rape case. Following the court's decision, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) promptly reinstated him to the national team, affirming his eligibility to compete at the international level.

A Spokesperson at the US Embassy in Kathmandu then said they can not comment on individual visa cases as visa records are confidential under US law. “The US Embassy is extremely excited to have Nepal’s men’s national cricket team, the Rhinos, participating in the T20 World Cup in the United States and, in fact, a few Embassy officials met with them a few weeks ago to appreciate and encourage them before they headed out. We are wishing the entire team the best in the coming games,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson further clarified that the US Embassy in Kathmandu and other US consular ports around the world have made a concerted effort to ensure that members of the national cricket teams who qualify for the appropriate visa class are able to travel in time to compete in the World Cup. 

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