- Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom arrived in Delhi on 19 December, only to realise that his visa application had been rejected.
- He was deported to the UK a few hours later.
- Sushma Swaraj was compelled to intervene and the actor arrived back the next day with a fresh visa.
Reportedly, he had applied for an e-visa on 30 November. But when he landed in India, he found that his application had been rejected. Upon learning this, the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) followed guidelines and sent him back on a British Airways Flight.
External Affairs Ministers Sushma Swaraj came to the rescue. She helped the Pirates of the Caribbean star get a visa at London and fly back on Sunday.Bloom was invited to visit India by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav - to promote state tourism. He was to be hosted in Delhi by Amar Singh, former Samajwadi party member for dinner on his arrival. "Orlando's office was never informed that the visa has been rejected for whatever technical fault," Singh was reported as saying.
Meanwhile Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson and joint secretary of Ministry of External Affairs explained the protocol and defended the move -
"When one applies for an electronic visa, one receives a mail saying whether the visa has been issued or rejected. I think he must have landed without the confirmation email or forgotten to check whether the visa has been granted or not. It takes a minimum of 72 hours and a maximum of four days for the visa to be processed, at the end of which, your visa is accepted or rejected. The traveller is supposed to carry it along to produce to the immigration officer for scanning.
This is international practice, if you arrive in a country without a visa, you are deported. What would happen if tomorrow Shah Rukh Khan landed in America without a visa? They would just tell him that you have violated our rules, you have to go back."
Orlando was reportedly upset with the treatment meted out to him at the airport. He was expected to visit the Taj Mahal along with Amar Singh and filmmaker Sheetal Talwar who recently cast Bloom in Romans, a film about child sexual abuse. "
Orlando requested the officer to allow him some time to sort out the issue since he also had a stomach bug. The doctor on duty was summoned to attend to him but soon after, he was asked to leave. The officers also threatened that the flight wouldn't leave unless he was on it," Talwar said.