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Chosen to take part in an Arctic adventure, Morocco's Farouk Nafiaa denied visa by Sweden

Chosen to take part in an Arctic adventure, Moroccan backpacker Farouk Nafiaa has been denied visa by Sweden for being «single and too young». He would have been the first Moroccan and African national to participate in the Swedish adventure.

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Moroccan adventurer Farouk Nafiaa./Ph. DR

Moroccan adventurer Farouk Nafiaa had finally seen his dream come true after two unsuccessful years. The 26-year-old Casablanca-native has been selected this year to take part in the Fjällräven Polar 2019, a Swedish 300km-long journey through the Arctic wilderness.

Unfortunately, Farouk’s dream to roam the Arctic wilderness was crushed after he was denied visa by the Swedish consulate in Morocco.

Speaking to Yabiladi on Wednesday, the Moroccan backpacker said that after applying for the third year for the Swedish competition, he was finally selected this time by the Fjällräven jury to join the 19 other international participants.

«I am the first Moroccan and African national selected to take part to this international adventure (…) thanks to the creative video I sent to the organizers», Farouk proudly declared.

Contacted by the Fjällräven’s organizers, Farouk Nafiaa was sent all the documents he needed to apply for a Schengen visa to Sweden. «They sent me an invitation letter and a plane ticket to Stockholm», recalled Farouq, who started the process for his visa application in February, preparing for the contest expected to take place in April.

«Too young and single»

On the 4th of February, Farouk submitted his visa application and 20 days later he received a response. «My visa request was rejected because I am "too young and single"», he sadly told Yabiladi. The Swedish consulate cited in its refusal that the invitation, sent to Farouk, did not include «an address», he said.

«Although the letter did not have an address, in the form I filled, when applying, I put the number, email address and the mailing address of the competition’s organizers. But that was, unfortunately, ignored», he argued.

Faced with this critical situation, the Moroccan adventurer sent an appeal letter for Schengen visa refusal to the Swedish consulate, earlier in March. Moreover, the young man contacted Fjällräven’s organizers, who have also sent a letter to the Swedish embassy in the Kingdom.  

On Wednesday, the backpacker sent another letter to the Minister of Youth and Sports, after he sought the help of the Royal Moroccan Federation of Ski and Mountaineering. «They told me that they cannot help me because I am not a member of a sports club», he told Yabildi.

«I am running out of time and I need to find a solution as soon as possible», said Farouk, who is expected in Stockholm on April the 7th. Indeed, the invitation sent to the Moroccan sportsman by Fjällräven Polar shows that he would have to spend ten days in Sweden and Norway.

His journey is expected to start on the 8th of April and end on the 18th of the same month, when he needs to fly back to Casablanca.

Contacted by Yabiladi on Wednesday, the Swedish consulate in Morocco refused to comment on the decision, stressing that the answer has been already sent to the person in question. Urged by the consulate to reach the Swedish embassy, Yabiladi tried to contact the latter but couldn’t reach it over the phone.

Frustrated by the answer he got, Farouk Nafiaa told Yabiladi that as a plan B, he would stage a sit-in front of the Swedish embassy in Rabat to realize his dream.

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