RAWALPINDI: The federal government has directed the provincial as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit- Baltistan governments to ask the educational institutions to ensure that all foreign students keep their valid passports and other documents, sources told Dawn on Monday.

The move came after the federal government observed that some of foreign students are studying in different educational institutions and universities without proper or valid visa violating the law of the land.

The educational institutions have been asked to direct the foreign students to keep valid passport and obtain new one six months prior to its expiry or re-validate their passports through their respective embassies or consulates.

The foreign students had been asked to apply for an extension of their visas at least 45 working days prior to the expiry of their visas.

Students of 175 countries may apply for a visa through online with fresh photograph, valid passport, fresh bonafide, NOC issued by HEC, Economic Affairs Divison, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training and by the embassy of the applicant’s country.

If the family (spouse and children) of a student accompanying, the applicant should provide proof of sustainable financial sources for family support.

The federal government further directed that students from those countries which are not yet included in the list for online visa facility may submit their visa extension applications in the Interior Ministry at least two months prior to the expiry of their visas with three sets of documents.

The government has also directed the managements of educational institutions not to allow any foreign students to pursue study or appear in the exam without a valid visa.

Following the federal government’s directives, the Punjab Home Department has directed the divisional commissioners and police chiefs, the secretary education department and Punjab Higher education department to take necessary action in the light of the federal government’s directives regarding the foreign students staying in Pakistan without valid visas.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019