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‘New visa policy to facilitate tourism includes e-visa for nationals of 160+ countries’

ISLAMABAD: In an effort to boost the tourist sector, Pakistan on Friday announced the introduction of ‘on-arrival’ visas for 50 countries, and e-visas for a further 160+ countries. Talking to the media on Friday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry shed light on some of the salient features of the new visa regime, that he said has been formulated in consultation with numerous domestic departments.

Aside from granting on-arrival visas and e-visas for various countries, other eminent features of the visa regime entail the provision of a Business visa from 68, to 96 countries, along with IATA approved tour operators, who will now be permitted to bring tourist groups to Pakistan.

In addition, cross-border travel is to be liberalised, and foreigners will be allowed to travel freely within designated open areas.

List of countries whose nationals will now be able to get a visa on arrival in Pakistan

Additionally, the process for acquiring a work visa for business purposes has been eased, for nationals of 96 countries, Chaudhry said, with applicants receiving their visa in 7-10 days after the Board of Investment issues them a letter.

The duration of diplomatic and student visas has been extended. Diplomatic visas have been extended from one year to three years, and student visas from one year to two years respectively. Visas for religious purposes will remain valid for 45 days, the information minister added.

Journalistic visas will be processed via the information ministry, Chaudhry said, and restrictions on journalists, which previously limited their movements to just three cities have been lifted

A revised list of prohibited areas is also to be announced under the new visa policy.

The following are some of the other provisions announced under the new visa regime:

  • Work visas: Pakistani Missions to issue visas on the recommendation of the BOI
  • Family visits: 5 years of multiple entry visa issued within 7-10 working days
  • Pakistani Missions to grant 5 years validity, and one year stays with a multiple entry visa for foreigners of Pakistani origin and their spouses
  • Diplomatic visas: Lengthened tenure of diplomatic/official assignments
  • Tablighi visa: 45 days
  • Missionary visas: 1 year validity
  • Student visas: 2 years validity
  • House Aides visa