Philanthropist doctor couple Prakash and Mandakini Amte, who won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award on Thursday, were initially denied visa last year by the US consulate here due to their poor income.
Both were invited to be guests of honour at the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal of north America convention in Seattle from June 28 to July 1 last year.
When they appeared for the visa interviews on May 12, the officials refused to issue visas as they felt their financial status was not sound and they had no known source of income.
The Amtes said they were social workers and received a honouarium of Rs 2,000 per month. They had been to the United States in 2003 for the same event.
But the visa officials sent them away with a letter that said their economic, social and familial ties outside the United States were very weak, and that they should try again a year later.
The philanthropist couple was upset and felt insulted. But the next day, the Amtes got a call from the US consulate. An official regretted the refusal and granted 10-year visas.
It may be recalled that Mother Teresa, a well-known Catholic social worker with no source of income, had visited the United States without any problem in 1997 to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour the US Congress can bestow.