Pakistan changes visa policy for Afghan nationals


ISLAMABAD : The federal government has changed its visa policy for Afghan nationals after modifying the number of visits, entries and validity period.

The new policy was introduced to facilitate Afghan nationals for the issuance of visas at border crossing instead of visiting the Pakistan embassy in Kabul. The relevant authorities modified the number of visits, validity period and entries under the new visa policy.

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul and consulates will issue visit visas to Afghan nationals with multiple entries for one year. Moreover, they can also get business visas for a period of five years that will be extendable in Pakistan.

Under the new policy, Afghan students could acquire visas till the completion of their studies in Pakistan instead of renewing it every year, whereas, six-month visas will be issued to Afghan patients at Torkham border.
The visa policy of Pakistan for Afghan nationals had remained unchanged till September 2020 as the Foreign Office (FO) confirmed last year that Pakistani missions were issuing around 3,800 visas a day without charging any fees that were more than any other country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had made the statement when reports had been circulated for the introduction of a new visa policy for Afghan nationals last year and abolishment of on-arrival visa facility owing to security concerns.

A report had quoted Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director Immigration Ismatullah Junejo as saying that the Afghan nationals used to be issued a 30-day visa at entry points in Pakistan. But now, they will have to apply for a visa at Pakistani diplomatic missions in Afghanistan.

Once issued a visa, the Afghan nationals would be required to provide details, including the time and place of their stay, in ‘Form C’ which they would fill upon entry into Pakistan.

The Form would then be forwarded to security agencies for verification. After the details are verified, the Afghan visa-holders would be issued residence and travel permits.