Pakistan improves its online visa system

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Islamabad: Pakistan launched a new improved online visa system that is safer, more user-friendly and compatible with all kinds of devices, including mobiles and tablets.

Pakistan’s enhanced online visa system was launched by Home Secretary Sheikh Rasheed. He said the development will make the visa application process more efficient, helping visitors to apply easily.

The interior minister also said the system would pave the way for tourism and business opportunities. The online application would help “promote tourism in Pakistan” and build a friendly image of the country. Ease of access to Pakistan would also help boost economic activity in the country.

The entire Pakistan visa application process is now online and more than 600,000 visa applications have been received from 180 countries in the past few months, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Tariq Malik, hoped that recent upgrades to the online visa system would help halve the time to filing of requests. He said the mission of NADRA is to make public services accessible to all.

International travel has seen a sharp increase and the visa approval rate has reached 94%, he shared. In addition, new categories of medical tourism, CPEC visa, pilgrim visa, mountaineering visa have also been integrated into the new online visa system. The business visa policy has also been overhauled, allowing businessmen to obtain visas within 24 hours.

Pakistan has announced that it will only process all visa applications through an online visa portal from February 2021, phasing out the exhausting manual visa system. The e-visa facility is part of the government’s digital transformation efforts to simplify visa facilities and to encourage tourism and business travel to Pakistan.

Pakistan is also on the verge of issuing ePassports and a German company has won the contract to facilitate the system. The electronic passport adds a special layer of security to the traditional travel document and reduces the risk of fraud.

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