Across the world, people need to possess a set of documents in order to legally work and live in a foreign country. In a bid to make it easier for non-resident Pakistanis to work and live in the country, Pakistan has launched “Alien Registration Card,” aka ARC. This initiative will help maintain a record of all foreigners or non-natives residing in the country legally or illegally. The possession of this card will make foreigners and immigrants eligible for several benefits.
This particular piece is an all you need to know guide for all the non-natives in the country and how they can legally become a citizen of Pakistan. So, let’s begin.
Alien Registration Card – An Overview
The National Alien Registration Authority (NARA) was handed over an important task to develop a program through which non-natives in the country can be registered. The programme was launched by the Government of Pakistan and was under the direct supervision of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and Narcotic Control. The programme was later taken over by NADRA itself to register these foreigners using the biometric system.
Through the biometric system and proper documentation of immigrants and other foreigners residing or working in Pakistan, the issuance of alien registration cards will mitigate different problems faced by non-nationals. As reported by a popular newspaper, about 120,000 immigrants are currently eligible for alien cards and will be registered under the programme.
The programme will work in different phases and the first phase will consist of the issuance of ID cards to the immigrants so that they can apply for private jobs in the country and be eligible for facilities like opening a bank account and issuing a SIM card on their name. In order to get jobs in the country, the non-nationals will also require work permits but non-citizens will not be eligible to secure a job opportunity in the public sector.
As for the children of the immigrants, since they don’t have birth certificates of Pakistan, they will be issued juvenile cards to continue their studies here in the country. Previously, the children of immigrants could not secure admission in educational institutes further the 9th grade.
Who Is Eligible?
The laws for foreigners staying in any country are different from the residents and in order to steer clear of any troubles, they must follow the government set guidelines of that country. Similarly, in Pakistan, foreigners are required to abide by the government set procedures even if they have secured a visa from the country.
There are certain criteria for foreigners to be eligible for the alien cards and if they meet that requirement, it is highly important for them to get registered. All those who fall under the following categories are mandated to get registered.
- Registration is mandatory for those who already have a NARA card. The new cards will be issued on the basis of recording the data of an immigrant by taking their biometric scans.
- All the foreigners who are intending to stay in Pakistan for a period of 90 days or more. Although these visitors will be visiting the country after securing a visa, it is also important for them to acquire their alien registration card.
- The foreigners or immigrants who have entered Pakistan illegally and have spent over 5 years in the country are required to get registered.
It is important to mention here that the Pakistan Origin Card (POC) holders and the nationals of Afghanistan are not required to have or register an alien card. The renewal process of previous NARA cards is also open now at NADRA.
Documents Required For Registration Of Alien Cards
The list of documents required to obtain an alien card is very small. The documents required will verify the stay of an immigrant here in the country and make them eligible for the foreigner card.
You will be required to have at least one of the following documents:
- If you have registered for an alien card previously, show your formerly issued NARA card.
- Any kind of document that will verify and be documented as evidence for your stay in the country.
- Your current passport, visa or any other travel document that can confirm your arrival and stay in the country.
Benefits Of Alien Registration Cards
The natives of the country have the advantage of using facilities and are eligible for different opportunities including education, health and placements among others. The non-natives, however, have to get registered to be able to use most of the facilities and this is why it is important for every immigrant in Pakistan to get registered for the NARA cards. The benefits are not just limited to the aforementioned only. There is a long list of benefits the NARA cardholders can enjoy.
Permission To Stay In Pakistan
For foreigners who are intending to stay in Pakistan for a period of 90 days or more, the alien card will serve as permission granted to them by the Government of Pakistan. Their stay here can be for work, business, education or as allowed by the government.
The immigrants will not be able to secure jobs in the government sector however, they can apply for jobs in the private sector only if they have NARA cards and they have a work permit. These cards allow the immigrants to seek a work permit and they can apply for different jobs in the private sector provided they have the required skills. These alien cards will also make them able to start their own businesses.
To open a bank account in one of the local banks here in Pakistan, a person needs to have an identity card. The identity cards issued by NADRA after registering for alien cards will allow them to open bank accounts and make transactions, pay utility bills and also open an account for their business.
The alien cardholders will be able to travel intercity without any restrictions. However, they will not be allowed to travel in certain restricted areas. As reported by a popular news channel, the immigrants will have to seek permission from the authorities in order to relocate from one city to another.
Children of immigrants and foreigners will be able to get admission in private educational institutes.
To get utility connections like gas and electricity, an identity card is a must to have the connection registered in your name. Foreigners will be able to get utility connections as well as get a mobile SIM card.
A driving license is a must to drive a registered vehicle in Pakistan. The ARC gives an alien the opportunity to get a driving license as well as register a vehicle in their name.
Exemption From Foreigner Act
The alien card will get foreigners exempted from the Foreigner Act 1946 (14-D).
The Government of Pakistan has established a setup around the country to get people of Pakistan vaccinated free of charge. This requires an entry in the database of NADRA which keeps a record of every individual vaccinated to provide them with vaccination certificates upon completion which is mandatory to use different facilities in the country. Foreigners will have to be registered in order to be entitled to get vaccinated through the government’s scheme.
How To Get More Information?
This was all you needed to know about the Alien Registration Card system in Pakistan. NADRA has established a helpline number for people who have queries or need to get more information on a service. To register for ARCs, foreigners in Pakistan can call at 111-786-100 and a representative will guide them.
This brings us to the end of our piece. You may also be interested in reading about other projects of NADRA such as:
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