India and Pakistan operationalise new visa agreement

New Delhi, Dec 14 (ANI): Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Pakistan's Interior Minister A. Rehman Malik jointly operationalised the new visa agreement between India and Pakistan here on Friday.

However, the visa-on-arrival will come into effect from January 15, 2013 and the group tourist visa from March 15, 2013. A Circular to this effect was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs today to all the Indian Missions, State Governments/ Union Territories, Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs), FROs and all concerned.

The Governments of India and Pakistan had signed on September 8 a new visa agreement to facilitate travel for the nationals of both countries desirous of travelling to the other country and to promote people to people contact.

Key features of the new visa agreement:

1. Visitor Visa

Places of visit allowable increased from three to five places

In exceptional cases visitor visa for one year could be issued in the past. Now provision made for issue of visa upto two years in following cases:

a. Persons above 65 years of age

b. National of one country married to national of the other country.

c. Children below 12 years accompanying parents in (b) above.

2. Visa on Arrival can be granted at Attari/Wagah check-post to persons more than 65 years of age for 45 days with single entry (effective from 15th January, 2013).

3. Business Visa - Exemption from Police Reporting for Business visa granted to businessmen with an annual income above Pak Rs. 5 million or equivalent or annual turnover above Pak Rs. 30 million or equivalent.

4. Group Tourist Visa-Group Tourist Visa for 30 days may be issued for travel in groups, with not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members in each group, organized by approved tour operators/travel agents (effective from 15th March, 2013).

Entry and exit:

Now entry and exit from different designated Immigration Check Posts can be allowed, if indicated in application.

However, exit from Wagha/Attari on foot cannot be accepted unless the entry was also on foot via Attari/Wagah. (ANI)

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