If you are an unmarried Pakistani, you cannot visit Sweden

Published: January 20, 2015

The Pakistani passport is already the third worst in the world and now countries are also banning Pakistanis from even getting a visit visa.

Sweden will no longer issue visas to Pakistani citizens unless they are visiting a close relative or are married with children.”

Apparently, even ‘tourism’ related purposes are not permitted. Obviously, none of this makes a part of their official press release; they wouldn’t want bad press attention for this racist policy, now would they? This brings me to the purpose of my blog today.

I have had many Swedish friends for years and one of them visited me in Lahore, Pakistan, in December 2013. He still remembers my mother’s parathay and liked Pakistani food better than most of what he has eaten in his life. I took him to Hafeez Centre, which he was amazed to see and even told me that nothing like it existed in the 30 odd countries he had been to in his life.

Now, it was my turn to visit his family. I also wanted to visit Sweden to go to the Dreamhack Festival, a technology event with over 25,000 attendees from all over the world, which takes place only twice a year. It has been my dream to go to this festival since I was 12. So I finally saved up some money to go and my Swedish friend’s mother sent me an invitation letter after which I applied for a visa. I should mention here that my application was ‘’exactly’ as requested by the embassy. No documents were missing or incorrectly filled. I triple checked the application before I sent it. I obviously couldn’t think of any reason for which they would deny me a visa. I was so sure that I would get the visa that I even purchased my return ticket. This was to be my first trip out of Pakistan and I was excited like never before.

A few days later, I received a text message from the embassy, asking me to pick up my documents and I went there as fast as I could. But when I got there, I was extremely surprised to see that my application had been rejected. I came home, sad and depressed, and started reading through the rejection letter. They had provided two main reasons for rejecting my visa, both of which made no sense at all.

The first reason:

“Your invitation letter mentions that you will be paying for your stay in Sweden yourself, however you have attached no bank statements to support this.”

Nowhere did I mention that I will be paying for my stay myself. It said that the person inviting me will sponsor my stay and the past six months of bank statements had, in fact, been attached to my form.

The second reason:

“Your reason to return to Pakistan could not be ascertained.”

For this, as a visa requirement, they had asked to show a return ticket booking or money enough to be able to buy a return ticket. I attached an actual, fully paid for, return ticket. This is more than the requirements of the visa application. Secondly, I am 17-years-old. My family, home, friends and school are all here in Pakistan. I had no reason to stay longer than the visa permitted.

So I called the embassy right away and was greeted by an exceedingly rude lady on the other end. I mustered a calm and polite tone in my voice and asked her if I were to apply again, what additional documents were required. To this she responded in a rather curt tone,

“You should send the same application.”

I then inquired about how it would be different from my first application considering that one got rejected. To this, she answered,

“Maybe the person who checked your application didn’t like it; maybe it will go through next time.”

At this point I really wanted to give them a piece of mind and say,

“Was it a toffee that he didn’t like it very much so he said no? What kind of an answer is that? The person who read your application did not like it, really?”

But I didn’t.

Instead, I politely thanked her for her help and hung up.

I went ahead and appealed the decision. This appeal is checked by people in Sweden in the ‘Migration Court’, so I had hoped that they would see that I was being wrongly refused. I still had a tad bit of hope left about getting the visa.

A month and a half later, I received a letter from the migration court in Sweden. I opened it up and started reading it. It said that I should attach documents such as real estate documents, proof of employment, return ticket etcetera.

I am 17-years-old, I do not own real estate or have employment.

This is not mentioned anywhere as visa requirements for any country, let alone Sweden. You just don’t ask a 17-year-old for real estate documents or proof of employment. And yes, it was quite clear that I was being asked for my documents, not those belonging to my parents’ or family which would have made more sense. I had already attached a return ticket, so I was not sure why I was asked for it again.

This was quite confusing to me so, I started emailing the Migration Board of Sweden that provides information on visas. They told me that I should attach “evidence that I will return”. When I asked what evidence should be attached, their answer was,

“We cannot confirm what evidence.”

I then asked why I was told to send real estate documents because I am only 17-years-old. Their answer was,

“If you do not have real estate then you should not attach such documents.”

So I asked,

“Then what should I attach?”

And they replied,

“We cannot exactly confirm that.”

After two weeks of this, I was fed up. I was asking simple questions and getting no real answers. So instead of emailing them, I decided to post my story on a Swedish forum where people come to get help about visa related information. Many people tried to offer help, saying that I should attach a letter from my school and that I should give extra documents to prove that I will return. A couple days later, an actual case officer who happened to work for the migration board replied:

“In 2014, 370 Pakistani citizens applied for asylum in Sweden. Hence, entry visas are only granted to Pakistanis who wish to visit immediate family members in Sweden and who can show that they are established in Pakistani society. Being established means having a family (husband, wife, children) in Pakistan to return to and/or to be established in the labour market. It is unlikely that any Pakistani will be issued a visa to visit a more distant relative or friends or to visit Sweden as a tourist.”

Basically, in other words or as I took it, he meant:

“Because 370 Pakistanis out of 182 million did something wrong, we are now banning all Pakistanis who are not married with children or have a close relative in Sweden. No tourism for you Pakistanis either. Too bad you were born in the wrong place.”

This proved that all the reasons I was being given by the embassy were made up to hide the real truth – I am not being given a visa because I am an unmarried Pakistani. The Pakistani passport is already the third worst in the world and now countries are also banning Pakistanis from getting visit visas. I can’t say Sweden is completely unjustified in doing this but maybe a better way would have been to have a more thorough process instead of completely banning a country, where many innocents, like myself, with no illegal intent also suffer for mistakes made by other people. I had to pay for a mistake I did not make. A deed that 370 Pakistanis committed. Only because I am also a Pakistani.

On the other hand, a friend of mine who was planning to go with me, who is also as Pakistani as it gets but was born in Canada and has Canadian citizenship, can go to Sweden any time, without even needing a visa. It is kind of ironic how the place you are born in has such an effect on your life.

In the end, after a long time of saving up money, making plans and getting excited, I was not given a visa because I was born in the wrong country. And a sad realisation dawned upon me, and a bleak realisation dawned on me; being a Pakistani automatically means I am a lesser human being. And this is how my childhood dream came to an end.

Abdullah Rafiq

Abdullah Rafiq

The author is a 17-year-old A Levels student living in Lahore. He enjoys computer science, cricket and computer games.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • khan e azam

    dont worry, sweden is shite anyways! racist nationRecommend

  • jerry

    You are emotionally distressed bro! Sweden embassy has righlty rejected your visa. You are young and, looking at situation in Pakistan, it is extremely likely that you will not return to Pakistan from heaven like Sweden..Recommend

  • JV Sir

    so sad, guess what in Pakistan i stood for 3 hours in line but at the end i couldn’t get a liter of patrol because only station in the area was out of patrol i dragged my vehicle about a KM and reached my place where due to some line issues their was no power for three hours me and my children had to pass time fighting mosquitoes … so thank God for what you got, may be you are suffering less…kidoRecommend

  • Erum

    Don’t be sad. Just take part in doing good deeds to brighten up our country’s name.Recommend

  • zahra

    so..how old are you again?Recommend

  • Aunty wise

    Welcome to the real world kiddo!

  • Saad Mengal

    Oh boy.. I should visit Tomorrowland before Belgium does the sameRecommend

  • Waqar Ahmad Khan

    Dear brother ! You are born in a right place (NOT wrong). We have our own values. Alhamdulillah we are full human beings (NOT lesser) with full capabilities. Let NOT the WEST define us. Why you people are so much obsessed with ideas/fantasies of the west. I don’t care whether my GREEN Passport is third-worst or it tops the list of the worst. Because “phir bhi Dil Pakistani hy” Love & Live for my country……..Recommend

  • Resham

    Just apply for schengen visa from some other country and visit sweden!Recommend

  • Ali Qasmi

    Things will get better soon.

    Don’t give up on your dreams…! Time will comeRecommend

  • Bash Hussain

    I do wish you all the best and understand how you feel, but you are taking some guys post on a forum to reflect the stance of Sweden. If the checks were not stringent then the influx would be vast to any E.U country. Good luck next time.Recommend

  • Emm Aye

    Kind of a same story and case mine got rejected for USA saying i cdnt provide them enough evidence that i wd xome back I am a divorcee wtout kids livibg with my parents and working atba high profile organization.Recommend

  • Syed Muneeb Hasan Zaidi

    Dude, relax. It was your first visa. You are young (<18). It was understandable it got rejected. You are a prime example of a person going abroad on mom immigrant visa and applying for asylum. Not saying you would have done it but majority of pakistanis do it.

    My first visa at the age of 23 was rejected to the UK. Reason they gave was I wouldn't return to my country, which didn't make sense for me at that point in time.

    After that I got 10 more visas to different countries because I was a consultant and travelled different parts of the world. I applied to UK again after 3 years of travel and got it within a week.

    And no, they did not ban pakistanis. You just assumed they did. And it is understandable. Pakistanis lie to get into their country, apply for asylum and are doing nothing and getting money. We don't like it when Afghanis came to Pakistan either, did we?

    Just apply to Italy or some other country, you'll get a Schengen visa and then visit Sweden from there. Recommend

  • Sarmad

    Happened to me with a New Zealand visa application. What I did was attached a notarised stamp paper from my dad saying he was employed in the federal service and would be paying for my travel. I attached my bank statement which was nominal and his as well. In addition I wrote a letter detailing what I did and why I wanted to visit New Zeaand. This letter was addressed to the visa officer. I also sent scans of my credit card. You can get a credit card in lien of a fixed amount from a good bank like Standard Chartered. Hope this helps. Good luck with reapplication. You could also ask for a letter from your Swedish friend detailing his experience with you and your family. Hope this helps.

  • Anique

    Well it happens all the time. I have been rejected visa 4 times now from different countries. Even though I am a student studying abroad, just cause I have a green passport it’s difficult for me to get visa. Even though my classmates and friends can cross the border anytime they want. Just like your situation, I have often lost money on return flights and visa application fees because the visa was rejected with a non sense reason.
    Last time I applied for a Spanish visa, they rejected it saying “The reason for your visit is not justified”. I was going there for tourism to meet my friend for just 5 days.
    And the racism doesn’t just stop here. How they treat you on the airports is even stranger. As soon as they look at the passport their tone and procedure changes. Sometimes they’ll even stop you for a routine security checkup which turns out to be an interrogation.Recommend

  • UzairH

    I feel sorry for you Abdullah. The Swedish Migration Office should have a better process in place for ascertaining the validity of applications. Your only fault was, indeed, that you were born in Pakistan.

    I went to Sweden to study in 2007, and I had conversations with university staff who were accepting applications. They had accepted 250 Pakistanis into the compute science course even though they were well aware that most (at least 50%) of teh students were getting admission so they could enter the country, after which they would disappear. The admissions officers said that they still approved the applications because the Swedes are a trusting people and they want to help any who want to get education.

    This was all when higher education was free for all, including internatinal students, in Sweden. That is no longer the case.

    I guess that now the Swedes’ patience has run out. The sad reality is that many from Pakistan do everything in their power to get entry to developed countries where they then disappear.

    We should also remember Sweden is one the countries that accepted refugees from Syria, giving them a quality of life undreamed of by most people in the world. The Swedish welfare state takes care of these refugees, without demanding work from the refugees in return. This of course contrasts starkly with the non-welcoming attitude of the “brotherly” muslim states of the Gulf who keep the doors of their rich kingdoms closed to refugees.

    It is only the abuse of the Swedes’ trust and hospitality by our Pakistani compatriots that you had to suffer Abdullah, and why I often feel ashamed to be a Pakistani when moving around in Scananavia.Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    Those 370 did not do anything wrong. They were the Shias, Ahmadies, Hindus that the 180 million did not give the right to live. You are responsible sir.Recommend

  • Rahul

    Every one of us who migrated abroad is an ambassador from the country we migrated from. There are always people everywhere with stereotypes that are quick to judge you based on your race, religion or color of your skin. If you look around yourself in Pakistan you will find plenty of those. Every time a 9/11 or a Charlie Hebdo happens, people with those stereotypes are vindicated. When Pakistan starts hiding the perpetrators of 9/11 or celebrating Charlie Hebdo, every Pakistani pays the price.Recommend

  • Shoaib

    Sad but true. This is how it is now buddy. With the West raging on about Islamophobia and Terrorism, i’m afraid there will be a day when we wouldn’t be allowed anywhere.
    Sucks to have a green passport and living in this era.

    Shout out to all the nutsacks who have committed fraud, crime and have lived illegally in other countries, defaming the nation and making it impossible for us to travel, meet new people and experience different cultures. Thanks guys!Recommend

  • Salman

    Yea I don’t think you got rejected because of being unmarried. Try applying for other european or north american countries, and you will have the same fate. To get a visa, it’s all about how financially stable you are.Recommend

  • ab1990

    This reminded me of one more article

    Pakistani-American CEO: I Used To Let People Think I Was Indian Because I Was Afraid
    http :/ / www. businessinsider. com. au/pakistani-american-ceo-i-used-to-let-people-think-i-was-indian-because-i-was-afraid-2015-1Recommend

  • http://blogs.arynews.tv/author/wahab-butt/ Wahab Tariq Butt

    So your whole blog is based on an opinion of a random person online posing to be an officer. By reading this, one can confirm that its indeed written by a 17 year old. The only reason they have visas for developing countries is bcz they don’t want to risk unemployed people skipping to their countries, otherwise they would just grant visa free entry. It would have made sense for you to attach your dad’s bank statement (if he has enough) and property documents, and a letter from him saying that he is sponsoring your trip. A friend sponsoring a whole trip- well then attach his bank statement and attestation letter. Crying online wouldnt help bro.Recommend

  • Saad

    Dude, relax. You probably have no prior travel history to back your claims of coming back after the event/vacation. Anyone can buy a return ticket. That does not guarantee your intention to return. I do not believe they have any such policy. For future references apply your parent’s bank statements along with your sponsors. Embassy doesn’t want to to see you as a financial burden on your host too and again they need to see your financial situation before thinking about granting you a visa.

    I’ve never had a problem with any visa I applied for with a Pakistani passport. Good luck for the next time.Recommend

  • Tongue in cheek

    The Swedes want you to be unhappy. Get married and try again =DRecommend

  • Roger Eli

    be the pakistani who will bring about real change in the world, maybe this is the lesson God wants you to learn that how much your generation need to work to bring about actual change in and out pakistan. remember my friend the only thing pakistan needs right now is individual change, if you can so can others. best of luck and dont be dishearted its a very long life ahead of you. take it all as a challenge. bestRecommend

  • muaz

    So Sorry To Know About This >>>Keep ON Mate .Allah Help Us AllRecommend

  • Proletariat

    Sorry to hear that you are unable to get a visa due to your nationality. You can consider buying a foreign citizenship and passport. Countries like Singapore let you buy a citizenship if you invest a large sum of money into their country. If you have managed to save enough money for a trip to Sweden by the time you are 17, you should be able to afford a foreign citizenship in a few years. Good luck!Recommend

  • yahya

    also spain! and im sure others.

  • http://www.sepia-paper.deviantart.com Muhammed Waqar Younis

    Atleast you can be proud of surviving in the most “Dangerous” and “Terrorist Birthing” country in the world…Pakistan is in its dark times and every country in the world went thru it, tough since its a Muslim country lets see what happens, is it the Muslim part they dislike OR the Pakistani partRecommend

  • Muhammad Ali

    This is not true. I myself applied for visa and got it really soon. I have also seen many other Pakistanis, who have got their visa just for tour. You should file another application for visa because it’s true that somebody can reject your visa without any reason and other can give you with all the same credentials.Recommend

  • Nzaar

    Dude, I suggest you attach the following and apply again:

    A. You’re parents proof of income, bank balance and wealth
    B. A NOTARIZED statement from your sponsor in Sweden confirming that they will pay for your visit, guarantee that you will not become a charge on the state during your stay and that they will personally ensure you leave Sweden within the authorised duration. They will need to back this up with their bank balance and proof of income

    Based on the above I’m certain your case will be considered favourably.

    I say this as a Pakistani who has visited many many countries with no visa rejection ever.


  • Sami

    Brother you know I live in Germany for most of the time and sadly enough Pakistanis are to be blamed for this menace as well. Those small amount of Pakistanis are enough to ruin our reputation.
    Recently I met some Pakistanis in Germany who were telling me that they are going to submit an application that Germany will have to follow Pakistan in their discrimination against Ahmedis. Sadly one is even telling us to have a different path in Germany that can lead to violence as well. The level of Extremism among Pakistanis is Sky High and Europeans know it very well.

    Also many people who suddenly discovered Islam upon reaching Europe have arrived here on Tourist Visa and then later applied for Asylum.
    You are young and many Human smugglers infact tell the young kids under 18 to reach Europe on tourism and then apply for Asylum. The Sweden have every reason to be wary of Pakistanis in this regard. It is a sad reality but Truth that our Passport and Our Reputation is too bad that every country is now afraid of us.Recommend

  • Ali Javed

    Try to take another route, I have seen people applying to Germany gets the visa more easily when compare to Italy and Sweden.Recommend

  • Dani

    Dude all that was required was a letter from your college stating that you are a student who is enrolled in their Institute and would return to complete his studies. I have never applied for Swedish visa but when I was applying for UK visa a family friend told me that they reject the visas of students if this specific document is not supplied with the application. Ps you could have obtained visa of any other EU state(with less restrictions) and travelled to Sweden from there. (which is legal) Recommend

  • Ehson

    Welcome to the real world kid where us Pakistanis are the scum of the earth. And the sad part is we as a nation deserve this treatment because of our own actions.Recommend

  • Hunaid

    ‘Pakistani’ is a nationality not a race hence this would not qualify as racism. Were ‘Pakistani’ a race, it would still not qualify as racism as they have not declared us inferior, just persona non grata, and that too in some cases not all.Recommend

  • Aamir

    Abdullah I hear you. The problem is not only with Swedish embassy but most of the western world have these hidden visa policies that are not published . I myself was refused twice by US embassy even though my wife had the appropriate visa status to legally sponsor me. I cannot totally blame them, as Pakistanis many of us have gone to these countries on visit visas and claimed asylum or stayed back illegally. They are worried about their cost and again given the reputation of being extremists due to negative media Pakistanis are being under additional scrutiny. I would suggest visiting some countries like Malaysia, UAE or Sri Lanka before planning to apply to a western country for visa.Recommend

  • anwar

    A 17 year old Pakistani male. Forget a visa.Recommend

  • Ali Javed

    Try another route. I have seen people applying to Germany gets visa easily when compare to Sweden and Italy.Recommend

  • anon

    get use to it sonRecommend

  • Araann

    You must get the same help as we get for UK visa. Sweden was not very strict before but now they are strict also. Don’t make lame excuses, at the end it is your visa, if you really need visa then just full fill the requirements. It seems to me your focus is not not on visa application, like in your case your father is your guardian and they can sign a stamp paper accompany with a bank statement that your father will support you through out this journey. UK visa is strict like this from 20 years and still people get managed to go there. You should prepare your visa similarly. keep in mind that they think you are going their to stay, prove them that your going to come back. It just that simple. I know now you will find mistake in my post :), Good luckRecommend

  • sayed

    hi, I just read what happened with you…but let me tell why it happened and the reason is that you live in pakistan and they dont issue visas to those who are applying from pakistan coz they think that u might stay there and not come back….and the reason that they gave you about pakistanis who seeked assylum was just an useless excuse…Recommend

  • elio

    you people brag about every thing, best food best culture best blah blah blah,… I thing Sweden should have publicly embarrass you people, Dont worry about bad press, the world wont bat an eye for you.

  • Rizwan Liaqat

    I feel your pain brother. Been there.Recommend

  • HA

    Welcome to the club. Germany rejected my visa on similar grounds where as I am clearly established, well educated and work for one of the biggest corporations in the world. Have travelled so much (unfortunately most of them are Middle Eastern countries) that I ran out of pages on my passport. Like you they gave me bogus reasons before the actual rejection and I was so confident that I even had my bags packed and my visa was rejected on the day I was supposed to fly out. Recommend

  • Hamid Ansari

    stay at home. Home is heaven. Nathiagali is better than any Swedish townRecommend

  • Omar

    Being born in Pakistan is the biggest disadvantage I have ever had in life. The truth is any Pakistani who can escape the country probably will at some point in their life.Recommend

  • umer

    Just so you know my own brother got his UK visa refused for precisely the same reason. We attached his school school status and showed he will be continuing his pak studies and that worked. Sweden is part of schengen area so a visa from France for instance will still allow a pakistani to enter sweden.Recommend

  • T

    Its not just Sweden lol. I got rejected for a schengen visa from the French embassy :P I am also 17 and wanted to visit a Pakistani friend who lives in Norway.
    The rejection letter said that the reason for my visit is unjustified :/Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed

    Stop feeling sorry for yourself and focus on what you CAN do.Recommend

  • Tahir Muzaffar

    Abdullah I am your fathers age and have been frequently visiting Sweden. In 1970/80’s studied in USA, worked in UAE but MY own country has always been the base.

    One understands your desperation but I suppose you need to understand ( a bit difficult at young age) the overall situation existing in present world especially our part / country. Yes Sweden or moreover the immigration of such countries have their own logic while evaluating visa cases but the fact is that unfortunately most of such countries (are more stricter then Sweden) due to the existing situation refrain from issuing visa to youngsters. On the other hand, the case officer was not very valid by quoting the 370 asylum seekers as the number from other nation ( Somalia, Iraq, Syria, etc) is much higher – in thousands.

    The disturbing point is your statement – I was born in the wrong country. Abdullah you have a long way to go in Life and will realize what it means to have a land of your own. Ask a Palestinian, People from India occupied Kashmir and nations like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.which are in problems that what is to not have an homeland. Remember there are two things in Life which I can never backtrack or refuse – 1. Parents 2. The land one originals comes from.

    FYI such reasons are noted and are one of the main reason which lead tovisa refusal. Unfortunately, I wonder how come your family especially parents did not advise you on this. Wish you the best in your Life – Always remember to be proud of what you have gifted by God.Recommend

  • Critical

    A year ago,Britain came up with a law that all Indian tourist visa candidates must submit a $3000 Bond..

    Though it looked discriminatory,I cannot fault the British govt because many Indians who went there never returned and worked as illegal aliens and slowly tried to get citizenship few years later…Some of them marry the locals just to get citizenship…

    Considering that many immigrants from Asia and Africa try to legally and illegally enter Europe,its no wonder they have discriminatory laws against us…

    Due to slowing economies of many European countries,they are finding tough to sustain these immigrants,most of them live on govt welfare because of their high birth rate and they indulge in more crimes against the locals…

    For eg,most of the German street gangs are Turkish people and in France,there are certain muslim no-go zones where they had replaced the French laws with Sharia..

    Sweden is also currently facing a huge rape crisis and 70% of the rapes are committed by the immigrants…

    I think you should accept the harsh reality that some countries want to protect their borders and now look at every immigrant in fear because of the ones who came before you…Recommend

  • Julian Assange

    Dude don’t be too hard on yourself ! There are a lot of other places in the world , where Pakistani’s are not treated so callously, and they are much better than Sweden. Don’t be disheartened, maybe there is something better in-store for you !Recommend

  • nashadelic

    Oh wow. Does Tribune have ANY oversight over these blogs or can any person come over and spread complete falsifications?

    No Abdullah, the person who responded to you was not a “Case Officer” that was just his nick on some message board.

    As you can see from ample replies to your questions on the message board, your visa rejection has literally nothing to do with being a Pakistani. If any reader has time to burn, you can read details here: http://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?showtopic=65672&st=30

    The “370” asylum seekers post on a message post is just speculative. And no, asylum seeking is not a crime, it is how civilised counties protect people from other countries and your limited understanding of this is frustrating.

    It is incorrect how you’ve jumped to conclusions, made faulty deductions, blamed everyone, tried to make this a racist thing (if you’re a Pakistani, you can’t visit Sweden). This is just a terrible approach and you’re not winning any hearts. I suggest instead of rumourmonging and falsification, you apply with a decent application. Any country can reject your application for no grounds whatsoever. Doesn’t mean you turn this into some racial issue.

    And Tribune? Come on. Recommend

  • ewf sfksdbksb

    muslims worldwide will pay for crimes. Give back entire pakistan back to Hindus and sikhs, You have no right to call it your land Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Its not only swedish embassy , Pakistanis are treated same in almost every embassy, I applied for visit visa to our “brotherly Muslim country” Turkey, a complete application with all required docs attached including return tickets, hotel booking details, bank statement. But application rejected, When i asked them about reason for rejecting my visa, they said “have you visited any other country” I replied with “No” he said “This is the reason”. I argued with that official with this logic no one will be able to visit any other country, his behavior was very rude, and highly non professional.Recommend

  • Malveros

    U are not the only one. Man up and stay strong. These are the ways of the world now.Recommend

  • Hammad

    That is true it depends on the Visa officer’s mood if he fought from his wife a day before your interview he might refuse you the visa because he is not in mood. My father who have been to 30 different countries which include Canada (for a month) got his US visa refused for the 5th time on the other hand he had 15 visits to UK, 1 to EU, 4 to China, and a single trip to Maldives,SriLanka,Dubai and countries I don’t even remember. The reason they gave is “NO INTENTION TO COME BACK” I mean are you serious? He was living in Canada at your Border for a month and you’re saying he will not come back, WOW!!!Recommend

  • http://www.umalik.com/ Usman

    It took me exactly three days in UK to get a Chinese visa but imagine the intrigue when I was told in Islamabad by a Chinese embassy official that they do not offer tourist visas from Pakistan to Pakistanis :) Friendship all right?

    You cannot blame Swedish, they are right in denying the visa given the global PR we have generated. Visas are a privilege by a country and it can only come if our Government works out a massive rebranding exercise for the country and her people.

    That said, you should have tried sending them letters from your school showing that you have to complete coursework, also probably documents to show that you well-settled family in Pakistan and more reasons to come back to Pakistan than get your arse-frozen in Sweden for a menial job. Also having previously visited other countries (for example an easy place like UAE) does help establishing that you have means to travel and intent to return.

    Hope it helps and you get to visit other countries soon.Recommend

  • Faith

    “When you get what you want, that’s Allah’s direction.
    When you don’t get what you want, that’s Allah’s protection.”

    The point is, don’t be down & out. Everything will go your way when you least expect it.Recommend

  • Haris (Canada)

    Awww.. Feel sorry for you buddy. Unfortunately the harsh
    truth is that the normal Pakistanis’ have to pay the ultimate price for the
    wrong doings of just the hand full of corrupt folks from our beloved country. Every
    time something goes wrong in the world and a Pakistani citizen is involved in it,
    somehow it becomes every Pakistanis fault and we have to face the ultimate conscience.
    In your case the 370 Pakistani Refugees (who are now a burden of Sweden’s government
    and taxpayers) have ruined it for you… but the real question over here is, who
    is to blame for this… countries who are rejecting Pakistanis’ or Pakistanis’
    and the system they choose to live under.Recommend

  • Saqib

    No body is dieing to go to Sweden
    you should apply to China or maybe Germany , Even USA is giving student visas.

    Sweden isnt the end of this world , you should in fact tell the nation don’t go to that crap damn country who doesn’t value us.Recommend

  • String

    Man what you wrote is not correct , My 3 unmarried brothers got visa this week. You are just unlucky and nothing else. Apply again , make appeal and now attach bank statement ect. It is such a lame article, How you can decide What Swedish migration has in its policy , these thinking are just in your mind , it has nothing to do with reality. Dont pass sweeping statement and discourage people .Recommend

  • Sadiq Suleman

    This is a travesty. Since its very inception, we Pakistani’s have always been paying for crimes we never committed or not even thought of doing. Sadly, this is a vivid example of it.Recommend

  • Syed Muneeb Hasan Zaidi

    Dude, relax. It was your first visa. You are young (<18). It was understandable it got rejected. You are a prime example of a person going abroad on mom immigrant visa and applying for asylum. Not saying you would have done it but majority of pakistanis do it.

    My first visa at the age of 23 was rejected to the UK. Reason they gave was I wouldn't return to my country, which didn't make sense for me at that point in time.

    After that I got 10 more visas to different countries because I was a consultant and travelled different parts of the world. I applied to UK again after 3 years of travel and got it within a week.

    Just apply to Italy or some other country, you'll get a Schengen visa and then visit Sweden from there. Recommend

  • Salman

    Visit thailand forget sweden bro.its open for everyone and apply before they also close the doors.

  • Shaoor Khan

    Dude I can understand your situation better than anybody as the same thing happened with me a year ago. It depresses you mentally. I too had applied for Europe’s visa and had dreams but at the end they simply refused it by mentioning ”Purpose of Visit was not satisfied”. This statement boiled my head. But it took me some days to recover and then I got busy with my own work. I guess we have to think of ourselves as the Ugandians or Somalians or Nigerians now and keep our dreams aside only then can we enjoy this life! Cheers budRecommend

  • Asif

    You can only blame your parents for sitting idly by whilst the countries image was destroyed. Recommend

  • Aaliya

    I know it’s hard but don’t be disheartened. Take it as a challenge and defy them in their own game. Keep doing what you are, and Allah will open up a world of opportunities for you inshaAllah. Build up your knowledge, skills and acquire the best education you can; that will automatically open up doors for you for professional opportunities in the future in any country. Every country needs skilled workers. Remember that, and keep your chin up.Recommend

  • Syed

    It is not only about 370 Pakistanis but about the national character. Take a trip along the GT Road (ISB-LHR) and you will understand the situation. The people living along this region would go to any extent and use every hook and crook to move out of Pakistan. This is common among these people, they get a visit visa, travel to a country and never return back. There are no internal border controls in EU, so if life gets tough you can move to any country you want and start a new life. Its not only about Sweden but I am pretty sure that you won’t get a visit visa for any country unless you can prove that you will return back.

    Your Canadian friend can easily travel because the Swedish know that he will return back. He is in Canada, he is in a good school, will get a good job eventually and most importantly Canada is no different than Sweden. What argument do you have to justify that you will return back home?Recommend

  • Aman

    The fact that he has a Canadians passport is what the truth is. Incase you haven’t read the latest report Pakistan in the 3rd worst passport in the world to have! So yes Sweden is obviously going to reject your request, they want proof that you will not just stay back. It’s their right! America does the exact same thing! EU countries are hard to go to just for this reason because Pakistanis keep taking asylums and/or never return. I happen to know some of my servants kinds living in Rome! I mean c’mon! Rome? I’ve never even been there lol.

    I am one of those blessed Pakistanis who got to study abroad. When i applied for my American study visa first time they straight out reject me. But after a week when i showed my dads properties and bank accounts they gladly gave the student visa to me. I have 17 then. Same age as you. I didnt have anything in my name but my father did. So the US govt gave me the same reasons as did the Swedish to you.

    You’re research unfortunately is wrong in my opinion. If you look at statistics of People applying to USA, Canda and England you will be surprised. Millions upon millions are reject each year. Sweden needs to safe guard their land and they just thought you arent good enough to enter their land. Dont take it personally and write an article about it. Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Shame on them!! How dare they reject your visa application. It must be racism!!! Sarcasm apart, your whole articles is based on the shaky premise That you got rejected due to racism.In fact you built a whole imagined story about unmarried Pakistanis. I have two words for you, look it up-Persecution ComplexRecommend

  • Khan of khans

    Apply for a schengen visa and then travel to Sweden.If that doesn’t work apply again only this time attach something like bank records,real estate deeds etc Recommend

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/ahannana Hannan Aziz

    Its stupid please double check your form u cant blame someone for your mistakes the responses you mentioned are generic refusal letter cones. I travel to sweden every 3 or 4th month on business and tourism both applications. I had my first visa refused in 2012 i got the same response. One of my fellow she is just 22 years old just got the visa last week. So please ……. Dear Tribune cant you please verify before allowing kids writing blah blah blah …. I mean seriously anyone can stand up and writing crap …. What kind of image you want to share about Pakistan?Recommend

  • Usman

    i traveled to more than a dozen countries on Pakistani passport and being unmarried. Its not about Sweden who is worried about “tourists” not going back, its a common practice everywhere (watch some border control series on the youtube). You were lucky that visa was not granted. There are many “tourist” who are denied entry on arrival just on the suspicion that they will not go back. So stop whining about Pakistan and Pakistani passport. Make yourself something that others would be happy to invite you to their countries.

    PS~ I was also denied visa once on the reason that i couldn’t establish the reason to return after my trip. I never give a damn about that country after that. Your life will definitely not cease if you are not given Swedish visit visa unless you are too desperate to see Swedish blondes.


  • nust

    This was brilliantly written for a 17-year old. And no, your childhood doesn’t end here, Abdullah. Also, those 370 people didn’t do anything wrong. What’s up with these countries is an anti-immigration policy and the delusion that “Muslims are colonizing them.” Absurd and ironic, but true.

    If Sweden can’t respect you, you shouldn’t respect it either. Why care so much about visiting a country so racist, so biased? I’d never visit such a country. Instead of being sad that you were born here, feel proud. Going to Sweden was never a big deal – there are other places to go: places that will give you respect.Recommend

  • Shanzeh

    this is exactly what happened to me. I feel you. I applied for a swedish visa to visit a friend there and they rejected me. I have a valid USA visa, i study in a UK university even then they rejected me on the basis of “your intent to return could not be determined”. I have every proof with me. Sent every document they asked and extra if i might add. The feeling is horrible.Recommend

  • Kamber Alei

    ….i have never read such a naive article in my life…wake up brother! you are a Pakistani not an American…its 21st century and your passport holds no real value in the world except if you have some real good money in your “personal” bank account!….I repeat no embassy will issue you visa unless you have property, business or enough money in your bank account…it is not like u pack ur bags and decide to visit Sweden….this is decades old principle and there is nothing new to it…some XYZ told you something and you wrote a whole blog about it but I am telling u from my experience it is no true…its not about you being unmarried…it is just that your bank statement is not decent enough to impress the visa officer!Recommend

  • arsal

    Go for Umrah instead. Stop chasing the world and world will chase you. By the way, no country would be able to ascertain if a 17 year old Pakistani would return back to his country. You can apply with your elders and I am sure are gonna get one. Cheers!Recommend

  • http://www.kilu.lu.se/cas/staff/phd-students/hafiz-abdul-azeem/ Hafiz Abdul Azeem

    I am a Pakistani. I am travelling across America and Europe since years. I got American and Swedish visa (at different points) without having a wife, property or bank statement. You need to learn how a visa is processed backstage.
    Almost all developed countries make sure that people visiting their countries will leave after a certain period. This applies to citizens of all countries (including American, Britain, Canadian and Australian citizens). However people from developing countries are usually a special focus. Pakistan is no discrimination but there is no prejudice against Pakistanis in Swedish Migrationsverket (Migration Board).
    If a 17 years old guy with no professional, financial and social bindings in Pakistan wants to visit someone who is neither a blood relative nor an in-law, he did not win a scholarship, he is most likely to disappear in Sweden for work or a better carrier (what people from developing countries usually do). People pay big amounts to travel agents to get such sponsor letters. So the visa officer naturally may suspect it a fake case. Furthermore, according to law a visa officer reserves all rights to reject a case if the application doesn’t satisfy her/him (no matter what you attach, it varies from case to case, you may need to provide additional information compared to another applicant in line).
    If the applicant is so enthusiastic and cares for her/his rights she/he should provide supporting information in the form of legal/authentic papers to the embassy and not in a newspaper. This article shows author’s immature understanding about visa process.Recommend

  • hadika

    Too bad too sad baccha. Plan to have your kid born in any other country than Pakistan. If the kid is born in Pakistan, the kid is doomed.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    I feel you Abdullah but you can’t blame it on the Swedish even partially. Let me help you out here with an example. There is this thing called an “Ikamah” used in the Middle East, it is basically an entry/ re-entry document used by people who are born in countries outside the Middle East. Now that is renewed every year and it is a very important piece of paper. Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia and U.A.E or even Kuwait actually started making such fake Ikamahs behind closed doors and consequently Pakistanis are no longer allowed to enter Kuwait. Many Pakistanis actually go to foreign countries and try getting by the immigration in hopes of never returning. I have lived in various countries and I have actually seen many Pakistanis in some countries especially Malaysia and Kuwait living illegally. They go on visit visas and then they never return. They look for jobs or businesses and just start there and the funny part is, educated Pakistanis running businesses in such countries actually hire these illegal immigrants just for the cheap labour. So you see it isn’t the fault of some Pakistanis but MOST Pakistanis being educated or not.

    Now I do understand that this is very unfair for a young child like you but truth be told we have to live with this because these people will never stop. To deal with these issues many countries have already started banning Pakistanis entry as you mentioned BECAUSE this is the ONLY solution and to be fair, this is actually right. In my opinion all such illegal immigrants should not only be caught but also punished to give our people a lesson.

    I do feel sorry for you but I can only try and explain in hopes of giving you any sort of condolence I can. CheersRecommend

  • Waqar

    A real sad story I must say!Recommend

  • Lahori badshah

    The way to end this ordeal once for all is to make Pakistan a vibrant, tolerant and an open society where rule of Law reigns supreme, and then only it can turn it into a suuccessful, economically viable conntry with oppurtunities available based upon qualification and merit rather who you know, then everyone would love to come and visit Pakistan and as equals will not even need a visa to visit the successful economic powerhouses, needless to say with the current leadership and the past its never possible, the one who ateast has a vision is shunned by the illeterate and the corrupt alike as they abhor changes that will make them powerless !
    My advise to you as i believe the wisdom and rule of law may not come to Pakistan for generations to come is to’ get a good education and attain the highest degree and become the master of your field, then Canada, Sweeden, and U.K or USA may actually request you too stay permenantly as it has for countless educated and well qualified Pakistanis !
    It is the sad truth sorry !Recommend

  • Sumaica Asad Piracha

    OMG ! This is cruel. But sadly, this is the way today’s world works. After going through such a thing, I can imagine what your thoughts and feelings are. We end up blaming out country for the opportunities we lost and the things we were not able to do.Recommend

  • Pakistan1

    No we are no less than anyone else. There are good and bad people everywhere but the thing we as Pakistanis need to learn is that our home is Pakistan. We should only complain if we are treated differently in our own country. If we go into another country and we are not treated well or equally we should return to Pakistan out of self respect. If someone does not feel bad about the way they are treated they can stay. We Pakistani’s should concentrate on our lack of self respect. This goes for every Pakistani.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    I sympathise with your concerns and wish you very best in future. I have few pieces of advice for all those young Pakistanis who intend to travel abroad but face similar difficulties. The foremost point before preparing documents and applying for visa is to put yourself in visa officer’s shoes whose job is to grant visas to only legitimate people. Legitimate people are those who are not security risk and who help their hosts economically and socially. Recently, security concern has become very important. If you do not know what are security concerns, you would never be able to satisfy others. Perhaps many of us don’t know that there is a gap of 180 degrees in our views and others regarding security related issues. Secondly, what would they get from your travel e.g. in economic terms. No country want any visitor to be a burden on their economy. Your dependence on Swedish citizen not related you is a genuine concern. In Western society, its almost unthinkable. Huge bank balances and return tickets are required but mostly do not help. You should know that nationals of developing countries are notorious in preparing such documents. In my opinion a legitimate trust fund in your name and bearing expenses of your visit from it would have been better than telling visa officer that a friend would bear your expenses. Majority of the countries don’t allow such dependent tourists to enter in their countries. Close family member is the only legitimate sponsor.
    Leaving aside above mentioned speed breakers, the most important cause of rejection is about your home return and your purpose of visit. How many times you have attended tech seminars, exhibitions and conferences before? Have you attended exhibitions in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai or even in your own country. Build your resume by travelling visa free countries. Prove, how far you have gone for your passion. Blank passport gets only rejection stamp. Don’t try to land on moon without becoming an astronaut.Recommend

  • Ahmad, Zubaid

    Don’t get too downbeat :) Situation will improve iA. What i suggest is, ace your A levels and apply for any university in Germany. They give visas easily and you could achieve your dream then.
    However, i would like to say though, is this only related to Pakistanis living in Pakistan? I have a Pakistani passport myself studying in Canada and i have been to Spain, France, Germany and Italy. My visa arrived on time etcRecommend

  • kaleem

    Dont be to harsh on world, you will have millions of great opportunities in your life. Think positive.Recommend

  • dilu

    I am not surprised at all. A few ppl definitly set the impression for an entire nation and 357 is not a small number when may be the total number of pakistani applicants were around 1000 to 2000.

    You are hard working as you did the whole visa process by your self alone but had no idea (Not your fault) how to apply for a visa with a Pakistani Passport (One of the worst passports these days :( ). Showing property papers is a must these days. If one does not have property then he should show property papers + bank balance + income of his parents and ask their parents to write an affidavit or legal document that they will sponsor his stay and they will ensure that he will return back. Similarly his sponsor in Sweden should give an affidavit that he will go back. Showing a document from your university that you are a student registered in a university and your next semester is starting on this date will also be helpful.Recommend

  • Young-Blood

    I can imagine you write the story like so because as I understand you have no experience of what the real condition is like on the other end. I can completely imagine governments picking up a stricter policy against countries who rank high in problems brought into their country .. wouldn’t Pakistan do the same if it were sensible? And the point of making a blind decision for millions of Pakistanis based on a mere 370 … you think EU is so financially stable that they have enough workers to go through EVERY application thoroughly? Your rejection is not JUST based on you being Pakistan/unmarried/not-having-close-family-in-Sweden … Your dream is not dead yet …. you’re just 17 … give it time. P.s. did the application require some legal form that your host family had to provide taking full responsibility that you return to Pakistan?Recommend

  • observer

    Well, you need to realize that Pakistanis abuse immigration laws in every country in the world, especially in Western countries. They just disappear into thin air upon their visa expiry. Here in the US, there are more than 300,000 illegal Pakistanis. The number of 370 Pakistanis applying for asylum in Sweden is just for the year 2014. Many times more each year just stay on as illegals, The total number of illegal Pakistani immigrants in Sweden is well in excess of 20,000.

    Invariably, these illegal immigrants end up on welfare putting pressure on the host countries’ resources.

    Also, more importantly, terrorism is a great concern with Muslim and Pakistani immigrants in Western countries. Many Muslims, especially Pakistanis have been caught for perpetrating or supporting terrorism. How can they be sure you are not a terrorist? Don’t forget that Pakistan has been the global epicenter of Islamic terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. Pakistan has thus come to be seen as a country that is crawling with terrorists.

    A visa to you is not a right, but a privilege. The host countries have every right to deny visas to those who don’t meet their criteria. If you had applied with the same documents to visit the US here, the result would have been the same.

    Get over it. Use the money you saved up for the trip to help the displaced persons, flood victims and other more worthy causes in your country.Recommend

  • To be or not to be

    You should not complain about Swedish authorities. Rather the problem is our own leadership which has done nothing to make Pakistan a respectable country in the world. You are 17 years old and time is on your side. Don’t do as our forefathers did and make a difference by challenging the wrongs in our society. This way hopefully your 17 year old son wont have to struggle when his time comes.Recommend

  • Humza

    I sense your frustration but the reality is that many 3 rd World residents do try to claim asylum and do not return to their country of origin when they are issued visitor visas. It’s not an issue with Pakistan per say. This applies not only to Pakistanis but to people coming from any poorer country where people are trying to go to a developed country for a better life. I understand in your case, you simply wish to visit a friend but think about the countless thousands of Africans, Arabs, Iranians, Afghans and Sri Lankans who are desperately smuggling themselves dangerously in boats and buses trying to enter Europe illegally. None of them would qualify for a legal visas either. People from poorer countries will always want to settle in countries where there is more opportunity. Why do you think that most Chinese millionaires still want to go to Western countries as shown in poll after poll. Look at the large Pakistani Norwegian population. As you know, Norway does not legally accept immigrants from Pakistan so all the foreigners you see in Norway had to smuggle themselves in illegally and claim asylum status after saying they were fleeing persecution.Recommend

  • Usman

    This is a sad reality about the place we live in. There have been many instances where young pakistanis like you and I visit developed countries on tourist/ student visas and never end up returning. I personally know people who go on student visa with no intention to study and just work there. I think the problem is not about them discriminating against you. The problem is that some pakistanis who have breached visa conditions for personal gains have ruined chances for citizens like you who genuinely want to visit the country for tourism related purposes. Knowing the conditions of the country in the recent times, people are desperate to leave the country and migrate. Countries like sweden take actions like these to avoid increase in illegal immigrants.

    I hope you get to go once you have a proper job in your city, so you can prove them that you have something to return to.

    All the bestRecommend

  • Hassan Hafeez

    Boy i have empathy for you, unfortunately that is when we mean that every person is a representative of his country, if some do bad unfortunately it marks a stamp over the rest of them. Nobody can check every sample in a big lot of tons or millions, you have to take out some of them randomly and test the items to rate the whole lot. So, every member of our community is important and needs education especially regarding manners, our politicians are too busy in corruption to think about it, so lets do it on our own, contribute wherever we can, teach politely wherever we can. And, i must say do not lose faith in yourself, borders cant contain more than what they can, if you will possess whats beyond their hold, they will open up for you naturally. Good luck for your other dreams, dont let them fade awayRecommend

  • Sid

    Sorry about your experience. But really not cool that you get a space in ET to gripe about something which millions in this world face and that has nothing to do with nationality. But playing this kind of victimhood on bases of race, religion and nationality has become quite a norm in your part of sub continent.
    Hopefully you have better luck next time. Your nationality has nothing to do with it. And if you think so that you are right than put your effort to improve your nation’s image so that another young Pakistani does not face the same.Recommend

  • Agha

    Believe it or not i was planning on applying to sweden to visit a few friends. This breaks my heart. -_-Recommend

  • Crikey

    Sorry your travel plans fell through, but it’s a bit naive to think that it’s “just” the 370 Pakistanis who filed asylum requests in Sweden. No one in their right mind would allow the holder of the green passport anywhere near their country. Pakistanis don’t understand the principle of live and let live. You don’t allow people to eat, dress and even think freely. Why would anyone infect their society with your honor killings, religious bigotry and other perversions? So think about that whilst you enjoy the “splendor” of Rafiq Centre, or whatever the best place in the world is called.Recommend

  • Golden Horde

    You were NOT born in the wrong country. You were born is the country where your parents made a living. It is also the same country that has brought you up and provided you with the means to travel.