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Pakistan to issue five-year visas to Americans

Pakistan has decided to issue five-year, multiple-entry visas to US nationals, even though the American government has changed its policy of issuing five-year visas to Pakistanis, the media reported on Monday.

In a note sent last month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, advised Pakistani diplomatic missions in the US to follow the new policy while issuing visas to American nationals, reports Dawn news.

The Ministry first conveyed this change to the US Embassy in Islamabad on May 10 while responding to a query regarding the duration of visit/tourist visas for US nationals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs "has the honour to state that the government of Pakistan, in line with its policy to encourage tourism, has allowed granting of multiple-entry visas to US nationals for up to five years with a maximum stay of three months", the note said.

The US had long demanded this change in Pakistan's visa policy and recently changed its own policy when Islamabad did not respond.

The Americans used to issue five-year, multiple-entry tourist and visit visas to Pakistani nationals. In some cases, professionals, such as journalists, were also issued five-year multiple visas.

In return, the Americans demanded similar facilities for their nationals.

But now the US is only issuing three-month visas to most Pakistanis and also has enforced new restrictions on official visas.

In April, the US added Pakistan to a list of 10 nations sanctioned for refusing to take back deportees and visa overstayers, Dawn news reported.

The new restriction bars some officials of the Interior Ministry from receiving US visas.

--IANS

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