Senior citizens from Pakistan coming to India via here will get a visa on arrival from January 15 but not be allowed to stay in Punjab, the state from where they enter the country, as well as in Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala. Besides, only those coming on foot would get a visa; they would also have to exit on foot.
The visa on arrival will be issued at the Integrated Check-Post to people above 65 years of age coming through the land route. Visitors coming through modes such as air or by train would not get this facility, a senior government official said. Visitors from Pakistan, he said, could only transit through Amritsar.
Every day, 80-100 people come to India from Pakistan through this land route. Elderly people usually come to meet their relatives or for medical treatment. Last month, India and Pakistan had signed a new visa agreement. As part of it, the two sides had agreed to give visa on arrival to senior citizens of each other's country.
The visa will be given for 45 days with a single entry and not more than two visas would be given in a year. Another rider is that the visitors would have to keep a gap of two months between the two visits. The visa fee would be Rs 100 or $2. Similar conditions would be prescribed by Pakistan’s authorities for Indian senior citizens applying for a Pak visa, the official said.
Some countries issue visa on arrival to Indian citizens. However, India and Pakistan had not extended such a facility to each other's citizens, owning to the long history of a tense relationship. This is despite a bus plying between the two countries on a daily basis.