Foreign spouses can now get Pakistan Origin Card

Foreign spouses of Pakistani citizens will now be eligible to get Pakistan Origin Card (POC), according to a decision by the country’s Ministry of Interior.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 29 Jun 2012, 11:40 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:46 AM

The validity of the POC is seven years. The decision has been welcomed by overseas Pakistanis living in the UAE.

The Ministry of Interior of Pakistan has decided to waive off the ban for the issuance of the POC to the foreign spouses, said a statement from Pakistan Consulate in Dubai on Thursday.

The decision was taken by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior, Rahman Malik, who ordered to reinstate issuance of the POCs for the foreign spouses subject to the security clearance, it said.

The statement said that Pakistani nationals having foreign spouses can now apply for the POC and the foreign missions will accept their applications and forward them to the Ministry of Interior for further process.

The POC programme endeavors to provide eligible foreigners with unprecedented incentives, according to Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) website.

Pakistani Consul General Tariq Iqbal Soomro explained that the POC holders get all the facilities allowed to Pakistan ID card holders.

The advantages of having a Pakistan Origin Card include: visa-free entry into Pakistan, indefinite stay in Pakistan, exemption from foreigner registration requirements, permission to purchase and sell propertyand right to open and operate bank accounts.

“We do not know yet the number of such cases where Pakistanis have foreign spouses and need a POC. Now that the issuance of POC has been reinstated, people will approach the consulate and Nadra office in its premises,” Soomro said.

Overseas Pakistanis in the UAE who have foreign spouses are especially happy with the decision of their country’s Interior Ministry. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures where people from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds mix with each other and many of them decide to tie the knot.

One such case is that of Mohammed M., a young Pakistani brought up and educated in Dubai. His family and an Indian family were friends with each other. The two families decided to marry their children, Mohammed, with the daughter, R. M. K., of the Indian family.

The wedding took place in Dubai in 2008 and was attended by the relatives of the two families from Pakistan and India. They applied for Pakistani nationality for R. M. K. but the requirement was that the applicant should stay in Pakistan for five years before applying for nationality.

Their three children, however, have been given Pakistan nationality and issued Pakistan passports by the Pakistani mission here.

Since Mohammed was working in Dubai the wife could not stay in Pakistan alone for five years. They could visit Pakistan only once since their marriage.

“The decision to issue POC is most welcome. Now my wife can visit Pakistan frequently. We are so happy,” Mohammed said.

“We are now looking forward to Rehman Malik removing the requirement of five-year stay in Pakistan to get a Pakistani passport,” he said.

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