ISLAMABAD, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the country's new online visa system here on Thursday to soften, simplify and quicken the visa process to facilitate visit by foreign tourists aand businesspeople.
Addressing the launching ceremony, the prime minister said new visa system is a significant change in Pakistan's policy which will speed up the visa process to open Pakistan's doors to the world, making it more accessible to tourists and investors from across the globe.
"The Pakistani government is creating an atmosphere which can facilitate smooth investments so that businessmen can earn more and more profit from Pakistan," said the prime minister, adding that Pakistan eliminated terrorism after struggling and now it is a safe country.
Earlier, highlighting major features of the new visa policy, Pakistan's Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said multiple entry visas would be granted within 24 hours to the people of 96 countries.
However, the minister said a pilot project of this new system would be tested under which citizens of five countries, including China, Britain, Turkey, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, which will be granted online immediate visas for a period of three months.
"Once the new system is fully implemented, citizens of 175 countries can apply for online visas," said the minister, adding that visa upon arrival has been extended for passport holders of 50 countries from previously 24 countries.
The minister also announced that the average visa fee has also been reduced by up to 65 percent.
Earlier in January, the Pakistani government also updated its visa policy which would grand work visa to citizens of 96 countries within 7-10 days after they receive a letter from the Board of Investment.
According to the new policy, diplomatic visas would be extended from one year to three years while student visas would be extended from one to two years.