India and Pakistan have begun implementing a new liberal visa regime following the operationalisation of a bilateral visa agreement last week, officials said on Monday.
The Indian High Commission in Islamabad and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi have started implementing provisions of the new pact related to visitor visa, business visa and pilgrim visa.
The new provisions cover the facility of entering and exiting from different immigration check posts and exemption from reporting to the police.
At a meeting between Home Minister Shushilkumar Shinde and Interior Minister Rehman Malik in New Delhi on December 14, the two sides decided that visa on arrival will be used for people above 65 years of age at the Wagah land border crossing from January 15 while tourist visas for groups of 10 to 50 people will be implemented from March 15.
The High Commission of India has posted information regarding the changes on its website. The revised visa fee of 100 Pakistani rupees for an applicant too has come into effect.
Visa applications, except for medical and family emergencies, are accepted only through designated facilitation centres in several cities of India and Pakistan to further streamline the receipt and dispatch of passports, officials said.
The new agreement would replace a 38-year old tardy visa regime signed in 1974 by the two countries.