I visited the Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan through the Kartarpur corridor ETA visa in December 2019, and I will walk you through the whole process.
For those who don’t know, the historic corridor connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan was opened in November 2019. Right before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur is located at a distance of 4.1 Km from PTB, Dera Baba Nanak.
The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is a bar-coded authorization slip containing details of the name, confirmation of registration, date of travel, etc. of the applicant for his/her travel date to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur.
It’s not really a visa since they don’t stamp it on your passport.
ETA must be carried by the pilgrim for the visit. On this ETA, you can only visit Kartarpur and no other place in Pakistan.
Table of Contents
Eligibility Criteria for Kartarpur Corridor ETA Visa
- Only Indian citizens and OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cardholders can visit Kartarpur on ETA.
- OCI cardholders must possess the passports of their own country and Indian citizens must possess their Indian passports.
Where and When to Apply
The only place to apply for the Kartarpur corridor ETA visa is the Indian Ministry of Home Affair’s website: https://prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in/kpr/.
You should apply at least 15 days before you travel. As per the MHA’s website, the confirmation/non-confirmation of the visit will be sent to the applicant at least 4 days prior to the date of travel through SMS and email.
I had applied 15 days before I planned to travel.
Kartarpur Corridor ETA Visa: Steps to Apply Online
1. Visit Ministry of Home Affairs’ website for Prakash Purb, and click on “Apply Online”.
2. Select whether you are Indian or an OCI cardholder and your journey date. Once you do that, the website displays the dates on which slots are available. Select the day you want to visit Kartarpur.
3. You will be redirected to a form where you need to fill in your name, DOB, passport details, address etc. The form appears in parts. After completing each part, click on “Save and Continue”.
If you are a resident in India, you will be asked to fill in your OCI card details.
4. Now you can upload the soft copies of your photograph and passport. Make sure to uplaod the scanned copy of passport size photograph (only JPG & size between 10 kb- 300 kb).
You need to upload the bio page of Passport and the last page containing family details in PDF format only( 20 kb to 500 kb in size).
5. Once you complete the whole form, you will get your registration number and a pdf copy of the form. Save the pdf file and the registration number. This PDF is not the ETA, it’s simply your application.
Is Police verification needed for Kartarpur eTA?
The ministry checks your data in their records. It’s not like when you apply for your passport and the police pay you a visit. So whatever verification is done, it’s done internally only.
In my case, there was no call from the police for verification or any other agency. I was worried and thought I will not get permission and I have to cancel all the bookings, but then I got the ETA 3 days before I needed to travel.IB verification is not part of the official process as well although I have seen people claiming that it is in forums and FB groups.
How to Check Status of Kartarpur Corridor ETA application?
Applicants can check the “Kartarpur registration status” by visiting the same portal and clicking on Registration Status. You can see the status by entering your registration number, passport number, and date of birth.
Validity of Kartarpur Corridor ETA Visa
ETA is valid from dawn to dusk on the date of travel. Pilgrims will go in the morning and shall have to return the same day.
Here is my ETA for Kartarpur Corridor.
Immigration & Journey
I visited the Passenger Terminal Building, Dera Baba Nanak on the date of visit along with all relevant documents: a printout of the ETA and my Indian passport.
If you have an OCI card, you need to carry the OCI card along with your passport and the printout of the Kartarpur corridor ETA.
After Immigration and customs checks, everyone will proceed to do security checks and thereafter they may start their visit through the corridor.
There are electric rickshaws from the Indian immigration office to the Pakistan border and from the border to the Pakistani immigration office as well. Then there are buses from the Pakistan immigration office to the gurudwara.
The immigration process was very smooth on both the Indian and Pakistani sides. Indian or Pakistan immigration won’t stamp on your passport. They will give you Yatree cards.
So you are not gonna lose a page of your passport to entry/exit stamps.Note that, Pilgrims are allowed to visit only Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, and no other place.
Health Check Requirements
You need an RT-PCR test nowadays to enter, taken within 72 hours of arrival. They also ask to take polio vaccines during the initial screening since Pakistan is still battling Polio.
Cash You can Carry
Please note that there is a cash limit of Rs 11,000 per person that one can carry into the Kartarpur corridor.
You need to pay a 20 USD per person service fee at National Bank of Pakistan counter. There is a forex counter where you can exchange Indian rupees for Pakistani rupees.
When coming back, I bought some stuff from there as well as soil ( for religious purposes). I was interrogated for this at the Indian immigration and they confiscated the soil since it wasn’t allowed.
I had a wonderful time visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. It is really big and beautiful. Don’t forget to visit the Langar and have some delicious food. You will meet both Pakistanis and Indians out there.
If you can, do visit it.