Tax Exemption and Visa Update
Import of relief goods into Pakistan
For the tax/duty-free import of relief goods into Pakistan, donors and aid agencies can obtain a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The Standard Operating Procedures for obtaining this NOC is attached below. In addition, please find attached two letters (one from the Federal Board of Revenue and from NDMA) confirming the Cabinet Division’s decision of 3 August 2010 to exempt relief goods for flood affectees from taxes (note that this should include exemption from the 25% import tax, the 5% customs tax, and also the 5% civil aviation authority tax). Please do not hesitate to use these letters, or approach the Logistics Cluster or NDMA for support in case you run into any problems with the import of approved relief goods.
Projects in Pakistan
The National Disaster Management Authority and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities have agreed that there is no requirement for project NOCs for projects that are already included within the response plan. Agencies implementing projects outside of common response plan should coordinate this with relevant PDMAs and DCOs. There is currently no PDMA requirement for implementing projects in Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan-Administered Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh. For project implementation in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, NOC requirements remain in place for any projects outside of the response plan (please note that in KPK, PDMA is in the process of revising its regular NOC procedures. OCHA will provide updated information on revised NOC procedures as it becomes available). Regardless of NOC requirements and for the sake of effective coordination, OCHA recommends that humanitarian agencies should always consult with District Coordination Officers (DCOs), relevant line ministries and/or Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) before launching new projects.
Visas for foreign nationals
Please find attached a notification from the Ministry of Interior regarding the new procedure of issuing free-of-charge visas on arrival for UN officials and international aid workers working with registered NGOs. Visas on arrival are available and will be issued for a period of three months to applicants. This visa policy will remain enforced until 31 January 2011. Please take note that agencies will be expected to revert to the regular visa procedures for foreign staff members after 31 January 2011, and should begin making preparations accordingly.
Below, is some information that has been communicated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
- Visas on arrival will be issued free of charge and for a period of three months to UN officials and humanitarian workers of registered NGOs.
- Applicants should ensure that they arrive at entry points with a valid passport and a letter of introduction from their agency.
- In order to ensure smooth processing of the visa on arrival, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs further recommends that individuals planning to seek visas on arrival notify MoFA by email (email@example.com) 48hrs in advance of their travel so that MoFA can issue them with supporting letters to facilitate their processing at the airport and notify airlines accordingly.
- Valid entry points include Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta airports.
Should you encounter any problems with obtaining visas on arrival, please contact Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Interior on (+92 0331 511 5864, +92 0331 511 5864) or (+92 051 920 4428, +92 051 920 4428).
In addition to the visa on arrival policy, the decision to expedite visas issued at Pakistani embassies abroad also remains in place (please see relevant sections of the visa on arrival notification and OCHA letter below). Note that visa applicants should clearly state that they are coming to Pakistan to support the floods response. Should you encounter any problems in obtaining visas for your staff at embassies, please share the details of the case with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s emergency cell (Mr. Wahab or Mr. Kamran on +92 051 920 8782 +92 051 920 8782), who can help liaise with the embassy in question to get the visa processed quickly. Please note that information on visas, project NOCs, security clearance/NOCs for the movement of foreigners, and import of relief goods is regularly updated on the “humanitarian access” web pages of Pakresponse: http://pakresponse.info/Default.aspx?tabid=112
NOC Policies for KPK
For detailed customs and NOC policies for KPK Province please see the KPK PDMA site for the most updated forms - http://www.pdma.gov.pk/Flood_2010/Humanitarian_access.php