New Delhi: India and Pakistan Friday operationalised the new visa norms, paving the way for easier travel for the people between the two countries.
The agreement to liberalise travel between the two countries was signed in September when the then external affairs minister S.M.Krishna paid official visit to Islamabad and signed the accord with Pakiastani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
Under the new visa norms, the number of touristic destinations have been increased from three to five.
The provision has been made for the issuance of visas for two years in case the applicant is 65 years old or more and where both husband and wife are from India or Pakistan. Children below 12 years of age can accompany their parents where the national of one country has married the national of the other country.
The liberaliased travel norms for Indian and Pakistani nationals include visa on arrival at Atari and Wagah border check-posts for people who are 65 years of age or more. This visa on arrival would be for 45 days with a single entry clause. This provision would get operationalised from Jan 15, 2013.
Businessmen visiting India and Pakistan have been exempted from reporting to local police. This is with a rider that such businessmen should have an annual income of Pakistani Rs.5 million or its equivalent in Indian currency or an annual turnover of Pakistani Rs.30 million or its equivalent in Indian currency.
The group tourist visa for travel will be issued for 30 days. However, the group should not be less than 10 and not more than 50 people. Such group visas would be issued only if the visit is organised by an authorised tour operator or travel agent. This provision would get operationalised from March 15, 2013.
The visa regime provides that the entry and exit from different designated immigration check-posts can be allowed from the point mentioned in the visa application.
The exit from Atari and Wagah on foot can’t be accepted unless the visitor entered either country on foot.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has already issued circulars to Indian missions abroad, state governments, union territories and other authorities.