Afghanistan’s government on Monday officially launched a new visa processing unit at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in a move to attract more foreign investment.
The new visa center will enable businessmen to apply for visas on arrival at the airport, according to the Afghan ministry of commerce and industries.
The first foreigner to use the service was an American businessman who arrived in Kabul on Monday.
According to him, he is in the country in the hope of investing in the aviation sector.
“This is a big step for Afghanistan. This is what I have seen in other countries in the region. This is a positive move,” said Bret Dalton.
With the launch of this visa processing unit, foreign investors will no longer have to find an Afghan embassy to process documents – as the staff at the unit will send their documents to the foreign affairs ministry. These investors will then be able to get visas, valid for up to three years, on arrival.
“The visa processing unit for investors is aimed at encouraging foreign investment and providing investors with the necessary facilities,” said Feroz Khan Masjidi, deputy minister of commerce and industries for investments.
“In the past there was no such privileges or facilities for foreign investors. They have faced tremendous problems. They would try to get visas in various regions, at embassies, to get a visa for Afghanistan,” Samir Rasa, head of the media office for the senior advisor to the president said.
Rasa said there are no restrictions regarding investors in terms of nationality - no countries are excluded. He said anyone who meets the criteria will be given visas on arrival.
In addition to this, officials from the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said the launch of this visa center at the airport will help build investor confidence in the country.
“Unfortunately, recently the volume of foreign investments has suffered declines compared to two or three years ago,” said Atiqullah Nusrat, ACCI CEO.
The Afghanistan embassy in Washington D.C states the following documents are required for visas on arrival.
- A notarized copy of a valid business license with at least six-month validity
- A new notarized bank statement to prove there is a minimum of $100,000 USD in the account
- A visa application form with a recent photo
- The exact address of the company along with the valid commercial document in which the address of the company is cited
- Visa payment fees are paid in accordance with Article 27 of the Travel and Residence Law for Foreign Nationals in Afghanistan. It is only applicable for issuing a business visa for business people and investors
- An original copy of the business letterhead from the company
- Police Clearance or No-Objection Certificate