ISLAMABAD: The United States (US) has reduced visa validity for Pakistani citizens from five years to 12 months whereas journalists and media persons will not be allowed to stay in the country for over three months without renewing the travel permit, the US embassy in Islamabad announced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, an additional fee will also be charged for H (Temporary Work Visa), I (Journalist and Media Visa), L (Intercompany Transfer Visa), and R (Religious Worker Visa) visas only if the visa application is approved.
Additional fee of $32 for I Visas and $38 for all other visa categories must be paid at the Embassy Islamabad or Consulate General Karachi prior to visa issuance, it added.
The decision was taken by the State Department “because Pakistan was unable to liberalise its visa regime for certain visa categories, [hence] the United States 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.”
The State Department said it noted discrepancies between the US visa regime and the visa regimes of many countries, including Pakistan during a recent worldwide review.
According to agency data released last month, the US State Department refused more than 37,000 visa applications in 2018 due to the Trump administration’s travel ban, up from less than 1,000 the previous year when the ban had not fully taken effect.