Pakistan opens e-visa portal for visitors – who all are eligible?

By Rajive Singh

People of Indian origin can apply for Visa-on-Arrival for Tourism

DUBAI 2 April 2019: Effective 14 March 2019, citizens of select countries can apply for electronic entry visas to Pakistan through an online portal.

Launched by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) that falls under the Ministry of Interior, the portal is currently in a testing phase and open to nationals of China, Malaysia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom, said immigration specialists Fragomen.

A total of 175 nationalities are expected to be able to benefit from the service after the trial period has been completed, although they may be restricted to select visa categories only. Citizens of countries not included in the respective lists will have to obtain their visas through consular missions abroad.

Visa Categories

The portal is designed to facilitate application processes for over 10 different categories of visas, including visas-on-arrival for tourism or business, visit visas for tourism and visit visas for business.

Visa-on-Arrival for Tourism
Visas-on-arrival for tourism are addressed to citizens of 50 countries and nationals of Indian origin travelling to Pakistan for religious tourism purposes. It can be issued for a single-entry with a maximum allowable duration of stay of up to 90 days. Nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are eligible for a multiple-entry visa for up to 30 days. Applications must be submitted no later than 48 hours before a planned trip and must be supported by an invitation letter from a sponsor in Pakistan or a confirmed hotel booking (for individual tourists) or an invitation letter from accredited tour operator in Pakistan (for group tourists). Upon approval, foreign nationals will be issued an Electronic Travel Authorization via e-mail.

Visa-on-Arrival for Business
Visas-on-arrival for business are available to citizens of 96 countries. They can be issued for a single-entry with a maximum allowable duration of stay of up to 30 days. Applications must be supported by several documents from a host entity in Pakistan and should be submitted at least 8-10 days before a planned trip. Upon approval, foreign nationals will be issued an Electronic Travel Authorization via e-mail.

Tourist Visa
Tourist visas can be applied for by nationals of 175 countries. They can be issued with a validity of up to six months for a single or double-entry and with a maximum allowable duration of stay of up to 90 days. Applications are expected to be processed within 10 business days and must be supported by an invitation letter from a sponsor in Pakistan or a confirmed hotel booking (for individual tourists) or an invitation letter from accredited tour operator in Pakistan (for group tourists). Upon approval, foreign nationals will be issued an Electronic Travel Authorization via e-mail.

Business Visa
Business visas can be applied for by nationals of 96 countries. They can be issued with a validity of up to five years, for a multiple-entry. Applications must be supported by several documents from a host entity in Pakistan, a recommendation letter issued by Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a country of origin of the applicant or a Commercial Attaché or an honorary investment counsellor of the Board of Investment in Pakistan. The processing time is expected to be between four and six weeks.

Application Process

Foreign nationals must register an account through the Nadra’s electronic portal, complete the visa application form and upload mandatory documents. Government fees (ranging from US$8.18 to $100, depending on visa category and nationality of applicant) must be paid with a debit or credit card. Applicants may be required to visit a Pakistani consular post for an interview.

Changes to entry visa policies were initially announced at the end of January but the electronic application process was not available at that time. Since the new portal is currently open to a limited number of applicants and it is running on a trial basis, it is expected that additional changes will be made to the process and potentially to documentary requirements as soon as the service is expanded onto nationals of other countries, Fragomen said.

Dubai Gazette