ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed inaugurated the upgraded Pakistan Online Visa System (POVS) on Wednesday.

The previous system, launched in March 2019, involved a cumbersome process with no access through smartphones and tablets.

The overhauling involves making the system user-friendly, ensuring a robust and secure interface compatible with all devices.

Speaking on the occasion at the National Database and Registration Authority’s (Nadra) headquarters, the interior minister said the online application was promoting tourism in Pakistan and was a catalyst in building a positive image of the country.

He said the ease of access to Pakistan through POVS has improved Foreign Direct Investment and spurred economic activity in the country.

More than 600,000 applications have been received so far from 180 countries through the online visa system, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Nadra chairman Tariq Malik hoped the recent upgrades to online visa system would help reduce the application filing time by half.

International travel has witnessed a major spike and visa approval rate has reached 94 per cent, he said. “My mission is to look at our services from the citizens’ prism and make public services available for all.”

Moreover, new categories of medical tourism, CPEC visa, pilgrim visa, mountaineering and trekking visa have also been incorporated in the online visa system. The business visa policy has also been revamped, making visa acquisition possible within 24 hours.