Pakistan has revised visa policy that eases rules for people seeking entry in Pakistan for health emergencies and work, as well as reduced the total number of categories from 18 to 11.
According to the recent revised policy, the federal cabinet has approved changes to the visa rules which introduce new policies regarding the need for visas for work and health emergencies without security clearance. The Ministry of Interior issued a letter to the Director General of Immigration and Passports in this regard and the federal cabinet approved new changes to the visa policy on 2nd February.
Interior ministry spokesperson Zafaryab Khan confirmed the new addition, although the document does not clearly state about the medical visa category to be introduced for the first time. Moreover, according to the new guidelines, whoever is seeking a short-term individual work visa or medical visa, will not be required to have security clearance. Yet, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) would be intimated.
Zafaryab Khan, while remarking on the issuance of visa without security clearance, said that authorities follow due process before approving an application, he added that people, visiting country for the sake of getting medical treatment could only go to certain authorized hospitals and risks were minimal. “Security clearance for medical visas is not required anywhere in the world,” he said.
The policy further says that the short-term medical visa of up to 3 months can be issued to an individual, family and attendant “to cater to emergencies”. The visa would be issued within 48 hours of the application’s submission. Whereas, the single-entry work visa would be issued to an individual for up to 3 months, within 48 hours of the submission of the application. Security clearance would not be required but intelligence agencies would be intimated.
Students will be bound to have security clearance who seek an extension in the duration of their stay.
However, the government of Pakistan has also merged several visa categories, reducing the number from 18 to 11. The new categories include:
- Tourist/visit visa (for tourism, visit, mountaineering and trekking)
- Visa in your inbox* (for tourism and business purposes)
- Family visit visa
- Business visa
- Work visa (work, domestic aide and journalism)
- Study visa (students and deeni madaris)
- Religious tourism visa (for tabligh, missionaries and pilgrims)
- Official visa (for official and diplomatic purposes)
- NGO/INGO visa
- Medical visa
*Applicants applying for the ‘visa in your inbox’ category would be able to apply online and would receive authorization by email.