ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has announced five-year visa for American businessmen and tourists in a move that is hoped to be reciprocated by the United States that in March this year reduced visa validity for Pakistanis from five years to 12 months.
“The five-year visa will benefit the investors and tourists of both countries. The visa policy is according to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to improve tourism and business,” said a Foreign Office official, who wished not to be named. “It may be reciprocated by the US,” he added.
The US on March 5 reduced visa validity for Pakistani citizens from five years to one-year. It also announced not to allow journalists and media persons to stay in the country for over three months without renewing the travel permit.
Meanwhile, an additional fee was levied on H (Temporary Work Visa), I (Journalist and Media Visa), L (Intercompany Transfer Visa), and R (Religious Worker Visa) visas only if the visa application was approved, said a statement issued by the US Embassy in Islamabad.
Additional fee of $32 for I Visas and $38 for all other visa categories was to be paid at the Embassy Islamabad or Consulate General Karachi prior to visa issuance. With the additional fee, journalists and media persons were required to pay $192 while the fee for all other visa categories was $198.
The State Department had taken the decision “because Pakistan was unable to liberalise its visa regime for certain visa categories, [hence] the US was required by US law on January 21 to reduce the visa validity and increase the visa fees to match Pakistan’s practices for similar visa categories.”
US reduces visa validity for Pakistanis to one year
The State Department had said it noted discrepancies between the US visa regime and the visa regimes of many countries, including Pakistan during a recent worldwide review. The statement issued by the US Embassy had not specified anything about the B1 and B2 visas, which remain valid for five years.
B1 visa is issued for business visits while the B2 visa is for pleasure, tourism, and medical visits.