Sun. Jul 21st, 2019

E-Visa facility: Pakistan approves 8166 visas

Aftab Ahmed

Islamabad: Pakistan receives a response from 112 countries for electronic visas and approved 8166 visas through Pakistan Online Visa System.

In January this year, PTI government had announced to ease travel restrictions in a bid to revive tourism by offering visas on arrival to visitors from 50 countries and electronic visas to 175 nationalities. The initiative was launched open up a new era for the tourism industry, destroyed by terrorist violence after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

Pakistan Online Visa System was launched on March 14, 2019 as pilot project for five countries that include China, UK, Turkey, Malaysia and UAE. Pilot phase was upgraded to full scale launch for all 175 countries of E-Visa list on trial basis on April 29, 2019.

Officials informed that till date, out of 175 e-visa countries, visa applications from 112 countries had been received on the Pakistan Online Visa System. As many as 10,982 applications had been received. As many as 1654 cases were in process, 733 applications were sent back with observations, 8166 cases approved, 339 cases rejected and 146 cases were overdue.

Ministry of Interior, NADRA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had conducted multiple training sessions for training of officers of all stakeholders for smooth implementation of online visa system. An implementation Review Committee had been constituted which meets periodically to monitor, evaluate and improve the system.

Available statistics reveal that the system was although at an early stage but it was proving to be a success. The total visa approval and issuance rate is around 75 per cent and rejection and overdue is 3.1 and 1.3 per cent respectively.

Online system is proving to be an efficient system. An overview of the comparison of this system with advance countries was also presented before the cabinet. Though simpler than many other countries, the cabinet suggested that the system should be simplified even further wherever possible.

The cabinet appreciated the efforts of Interior, NADRA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs for successfully launching an efficient program. Attention was drawn to the fact that friendly, hospitable and arm gesture of the officers on immigration posts will disseminate positive vibes towards people visiting Pakistan.

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