Applying for a visa to Pakistan via the embassy is complicated: an invitation letter is often necessary, multiple embassy visits are often necessary and you have to apply from your home country. Since 2019, Pakistan has instituted an e-visa process and a more liberal visa on arrival regime that promise to make things easier.
It is still early days, and many questions remain unanswered, but it does look like visiting Pakistan will get progressively easier in the near future.
You may already be able to use the e-visa or the visa on arrival. If not, you will still have to apply through the embassy.
Citizens from Iceland (90 days), Maldives (90 days), Nepal (30 days), Samoa (30 days), Tonga (unlimited) and Trinidad & Tobago (unlimited) can enter visa-free. In addition, visa is not required for holders of a Pakistan Origin Card (POC) or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistani (NICOP).
Pakistan started using an e-visa system in 2019. Since it is new, there are still some unanswered questions. Reports on the process and questions are welcome in the Pakistan e-visa Q&A. Here is what we found out so far.
The url of the Pakistan e-visa website is https://visa.nadra.gov.pk. The website has a useful FAQ section, an extensive help guide and a fee calculator. It appears a letter of invitation is still necessary for the e-visa.
- Price: depends on duration, number of entries and the country you are from.
- Processing time: 7-10 days officially, although reports of 5 days have already come in.
- Duration: 3 months with extension possible up to 6 months.
Nationals of 179 countries are eligible for the e-visa. The e-visa website states that you should reside in your home country in case of an interview. We do not have enough information at the moment to certify that, but the first successful applications did not get asked for an interview, so it seems, you can also apply on the road.
You can enter and leave overland, by sea or by air. Currently the e-visa application form has the following entry points:
- Islamabad Airport
- Lahore Airport
- Peshawar Airport
- Karachi Airport
- Quetta Airport
- Multan Airport
- Rahim Yar Khan Airport
- Bahawalpur Airport
- Faisalabad Airport
- Wahga Land Route
- Wahga Railway Station
- Chamman Land Route
- Torkham Land Route
- Khokarapar Railway Station
- Karachi Sea Port
- Ghassbandar Sea Port
- Port Bin Qasim
- Taftan Land Route
- Gwadar Airport
- Gwada Sea Port
- Sost Land Route
- Sialkot Airport
After a successful application, you will receive an e-mail with a Visa Grant Notice (which is essentially the visa, with a visa reference number).
Visa on arrival
Nationals of 50 countries can make use of visa on arrival. Beware, you cannot simply turn up at the airport. At least 48-72 hours before arriving to Pakistan, you must apply online to receive an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). This is not the visa, it merely authorizes you to apply for the visa on arrival at the border.
The visa on arrival has the same entry points as the e-visa (see above), at land borders, seaports and airports.
- Price: depends on duration, number of entries and the country you are from.
- Processing time for the ETA: 48 hours.
- Processing time at the airport: 30 minutes.
- Duration: 30 days. Can you extend? We don’t know.
You will need a hotel booking, but a letter of invitation is not necessary.
A business visa on arrival is valid for nationals of 95 countries. The conditions are the same as for the tourist visa on arrival, but additionally you will need an invitation from a company in Pakistan or a recommendation from the Chamber of Commerce of your own country.
Tour group visa
Citizens from the following 24 countries may obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days, if they are travelling as part of a group through a designated tour operator. The designated tour operator list, however, has not been updated since 1997.
In short, you can use any Pakistani tour operator, as long as they have a license. A group has a minimum of 4 people. Independent travel is not allowed: this is a group tour, your trip must be pre-booked and pre-arranged.
Israeli passport (stamps) and Indian/Afghan passports
Entry will be refused to travelers with an Israeli passport. However, other passports containing Israeli stamps or visas were previously not problematic for entry. We have heard of at least one person who was refused a tourist visa in Lisbon in 2018 because the embassy knew he was on a flight to Tel Aviv. He later did manage to obtain a transit visa in Tehran.
There have been exceptions in which nationals of Israel have been admitted to Pakistan after obtaining an NOC from the Ministry of Interior in Islamabad beforehand, which they then submitted along with application for Pakistani visa.
Citizens of India are granted 30-day tourist visas but must travel in a group through an authorised tour operator. Visitor visas to meet relatives or friends are more easy to obtain, and come with some restrictions. Religious visas are granted for groups of 10 or more for 15 days.
Nationals of Afghanistan are refused entry if their passports or tickets show evidence of transit or boarding in India.
Embassy tourist visa
Every embassy has its own rules. Most need an invitation letter. Some are easy-peasy, others are a real pain to deal with.
You need to apply at the Pakistan embassy in your home country or country of residence. If your country is embassy-less, you may be able to apply anywhere in the world; it depends on the embassy in question if they feel responsible for you or not.
All applications lodged outside your home country are refused unless there is no embassy in your home country. 2 exceptions to this rule: Berlin and Tehran.
The Pakistani government does not like to issue visas for single female travellers, even sometimes for solo individual males. On the other hand, some embassies are very flexible: Germany, France, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium and Poland have all been reported as easy.
Pakistan tourist visa validity: 3 months from the day you get the visa (exceptions are common, up to 1 year). This means you can enter Pakistan one day before the visa expires and still stay the duration of your visa. If you have a double entry visa, you cannot enter Pakistan a second time if your visa validity has expired. You can enter after the visa entry date and leave before the exit date.
Single or double entry: Both are available. Multi-entry visa might have 6 month validity.
Pakistan tourist visa duration: 30 days, 45 days or 90 days are available. You might not get the 90 days you requested. All up to the discretion of your embassy official.
Special trick to stay longer: If you have a double entry 90-day visa, and you leave and re-enter Pakistan before the expiry of your visa’s validity, you get an extra 90 days. Example: You have a double entry 90 day visa valid from 1 January to 31 March. You enter Pakistan 15 January, leave 30 March and re-enter 31 March. You then can stay in Pakistan until 29 June.
Mailing in your application
The home embassy rule means that if you are already abroad, you will likely need to mail in your passport to your home embassy.
In India it is illegal to send your passport away. You always have to keep it with you. In Sri Lanka it is not illegal. If your country is embassy-less, find out which is the nearest and double-check to make sure they are responsible for your passport.
Processing times reported have varied wildly, from a few days to 6 weeks. Start on time.
There is no information on the transit visa on the official pages of the MFA of Pakistan. All we know is that the embassy of Tehran hands out transit visas.
You can use the Tehran embassy’s transit visa within 2 months. Once you enter you have 14 days. You can get an exit permission on your last day of visa in Ministry of interior, Islamabad. This one is for 15 more days.
In Glasgow, no invitation letter was required in March 2018 for a transit visa, only flight tickets, and in the end, a 15-day tourist visa was given (?) after 5 days processing time. Fees vary by nationality.
Questions and reports are collected in the transit visa forum thread.
Letter of invitation (LOI)
Most embassies require a letter of invitation from a Pakistani tour company. You can get in touch with our man in Pakistan through the form on this page. Cost is 75$.
Only travelers from certain countries need to register with the police upon arrival. These are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iraq, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, Palestine, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda & Uzbekistan. Reports about the process are more than welcome.
NOC and restricted areas
In the past, a non-objection certificate or NOC was needed to visit popular tourist areas along the Karakorum Highway. This is no longer necessary. Updates are welcome in the NOC forum thread.
The only restricted areas for foreigners according to this document are now:
- Pakistan-China border: 10 miles (not including the border crossing)
- Pakistan-Afghan Border (Wakhan Corridor): 10 miles
- Azad Jammu & Kashmir (along Line of Control): 5 miles
- Gilgit-Baltistan (along Line of Control): 5 miles
- Siachen Glacier (along Line of Actual Contact): 10 miles
Extending your visa is possible online since 2019. We are looking for reports. Previously, we wrote the following:
A Pakistan visa extension is possible, but only with considerable hassle. You can extend in any provincial or even district capital.
- Islamabad: Pak Secretariat (GPS 33°44’10.04”N 73°05’34.19”E) is the first stop. More efficient is to avoid Pak Secretariat and go directly to Passports and Visa Office at G8 (Kashmir Highway metrobus stop).
- Lahore: visa office is at 4A Sher Shah Block near Barkat Market.
If you want an extension with double entry, you have to get it from the Home Ministry in Islamabad. For a second extension you have to go to the Home Ministry in Islamabad.
A maximum of 6 extra months extension can be asked for, although some have said a maximum of 2 months or even just 1 month. The visa extension fee depends on your citizenship. E.g. for Russians it costs 80$, but for citizens of Austria, Ukraine and Belarus it’s free.
It’s probably easier and cheaper to overstay (see below).
- a letter of invitation on paper with letterhead. You can ask your hotel to do it for you.
- Copy of first page of your passport
- Copy of the Pakistan visa page and stamps
- 3 ID pictures
- Americans need a letter from the MOI as well
We collect reports in the Pakistan visa extension forum topic.
March 2019: In Lahore, they keep your passport and give a receipt. Waiting time is now 4 or 5 days to get passport back. The bank is 5 minutes walking away, across the park near the market. At the bank you pay in Rupees (now 9500 PRK).
January 2018: Applied in Lahore: Got a new single entry visa valid for 6 months for 3300 rupees. Next-day pick-up. Office is closed on Saturday and Sunday. Friends applied visa extension in Islamabad. Seems to be more complicated and takes 10-14 days.
December 2017: Extended mine in Chitral through the Deputy Commissioners Office (DCO), anyone in the city can tell you where it is. Took a few days.
December 2017: in Islamabad it takes longer (7-15 days), than in Gilgit or Lahore (3-4 days).
October 2015: The office where you need to be is in the entry hall of the complex, recognizable by 3 desks and a waiting room. Opens at 10:00 but nobody showed up before 10:30. After we dropped our documents there we were given a letter of approval of the Ministry of Interior the next day in the same place. We had the assistance of a local.
Once we had this paper we went to Passports and Visa Office G8, open from 10 to 12. We came early with all our papers, then asked for the form for extension of 4 pages and filled it in. Got in line and played the foreigner card so as to not have to come back next day. Pingponged between the reception desk and the immigration officer a few times. Finally, you leave your passport and get a paper with your passport number and are told to come back between 7 and 15 days (even the same day is possible if you know people).
Don’t forget to make copies of your passport and visa page with stamp, as well as the letter from the Ministry, especially if you go to the North where many checkpoints will ask you for these papers. For these checkpoints, also prepare a paper with your name, visa validity, visa number, nationality and the license plate of your vehicle if you have one. Copy this 20 times. This will save you hours filling in forms.
To recover your passport, return to the passport office between 14 and 16 with your little paper and play the foreigner card once more.
Overstaying your visa in Pakistan is cheap: less than 2 weeks is free. After that, charges from 20$ up to 100$ for overstaying 1 year according to one source, 50$ for 1 month and 200$ for 2 months according to another source. But there’s an important detail. If you overstayed and you want to leave, all problems can be solved on the border (if not more than 2 months overstay).
But if you have already extended your visa and you then overstayed your extension, you should return to the Passport Office and extend your visa one more time.
We have a forum topic where we collect reports of overstays.
May 2013: US citizen with Turkish residence. The guy behind the desk kept going back and forth as to if he would even consider my application, but I was ultimately refused on the grounds that 1) I had to apply at the Istanbul consulate where my residency permit was based, 2) I couldn’t apply for a trip 6 months in advance, 3) my plan to enter by road (by bus, not bike) from China to Pakistan wasn’t allowed, 4) I hadn’t made any reservations yet etc etc. Ended with him looking me in the eye and saying, “my dear.”
Berlin embassy, Germany
December 2018: managed to apply by mail while not living in Germany with a fake residence permit. for an EU citizen. 3 week turnaround, no LOI needed.
July 2018: Applied via post. Received a 60-day visa after a 10 day processing time, valid for 3 months.
May 2018: Visa valid for 45 days within 3 months more than 6 months in advance. I applied by post with the embassy in Berlin, the first time around I received my passport back with the visa about two weeks after having posted it; the second time it only took two days. Details on the forum.
October 2016: 30 days within a 3 month period of our choice (5-8 months in the future). Processing time: 7 days. Price: 36 Euros
August 2016: Chinese passport holders resident in Switzerland need LOI. 1 month processing time.
If your country does not have a Pakistani embassy you can apply. A few days turnaround, no hassle. Bishkek updates posted here.
Updates in the Pakistan embassy in Brussels forum topic.
2019: no problem if you are not overlanding from Iran.
June 2018: the embassy needs permission from the MOI to give visas to overlanders crossing the border from Iran. This take 2 months or even longer. There is no point in saying you are flying in, since nowadays this information is shared with the border posts.
January 2018: visa without issues for overland travel from Iran.
June 2016: 6 months validity appears to be the norm here (upon entry you get 30 days). We also managed to talk our way around getting a LOI. 40 euros per person in total. 2 week turnaround.
May 2016: LOI was needed. They do not get many overlanders and were very cautious about giving us visas….in fact they made me sign an acknowledgement that we are going through a dangerous area and take full responsibilities for ourselves. My new friend in the embassy in Dublin steared me through and we had quite an email dialogue before. I made an appointment with my friend on a Thursday and received my visa by mail on the following Monday. Cost was 128 euro.
Unfortunately they made a mistake with a 3 month visa from date of issue. As a British passport holder requiring a Pakistan visa before applying for an Iran visa I needed a 5 month visa from date of issue. I returned the passport by post and within days I received the amended visa back by post.
Updates welcome in the Pakistan consulate of Glasgow forum topic.
January 2018: First got refused, perhaps because we said we were going overland. We applied via post and they told us to come in person. Applied again without mentioning overlanding, and got our visas in the mail 2 weeks later.
August 2016: We applied via post. At that time we were already in Georgia, so we had our application sent to the consulate, rigorously following the requirements on the consulate’s website. The light blue background was photoshopped into our photos in a Tbilisian photo shop. We did not submit any flight or hotel booking. Our passports arrived back 11 days after submitting them to the post. Visa are valid 3 months from the date they were issued and allow a 30 days stay. In total, it was a pretty quick and easy way to obtain a Pakistan visa for German travelers.
Hong Kong embassy
Full reports are posted in the Hong Kong Pakistan embassy forum topic.
October 2017: 30-day, single entry, valid for 3 months. The website said 6 months of your personal bank statement but 3 months is fine. Just make sure it gets stamped by the bank. Showed a flight reservation to Pakistan, but not a return flight. If you hand in all the proper documents with nothing missing, you can get the visa on the same day. Apply in the morning and get it back in the afternoon. No interviews or anything else.
I hold both the Hong Kong SAR passport and US passport.
Visa application hours 10:00 – 11:30
November 2013: It is not easy to get it. I went several times and talked to a guy who doesn’t want to give visa. If you succesfully deal with the guy you will pay 70 usd to a Habibi bank in Çağlayan. They dont take the money in the embassy. To make them agree to give the visa is not so easy. I went 6 times to the embassy, in the end they agreed. 3 months validity, 30 days duration.
Kuala Lumpur embassy
8.30-11.30, Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri.
May 2018: 2-hour turnaround for Malaysian, 1-week turnaround for foreigner with Malaysian residence permit.
Reports collected in the London embassy forum thread.
April 2013: Trying to get a visa through Gerry’s… They say only a 5 day wait. Lots of documentation needed: 3 months bank statements, LOI and itinerary, Letter of employment, driving licence or recent bill with relevant address….
December 2012: You now need to go through a middle-man called Gerry. After 3 weeks, still no reply from the embassy.
Ottawa High Commission
Updates collected in the Ottawa forum thread.
March 2019: LOI needs to be sent from the tour operator directly. Quick turnaround of 1 business day.
Before going to the embassy, you previously needed to schedule an appointment. This seems no longer necessary, you can just turn up between 9.30 and 12.45, grab a visa number at the machine by the entrance door and wait to be called. If you need some information, you can call them by phone from Tuesday to Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. Updates are reported in the Paris embassy of Pakistan forum topic.
November 2018: express visa costs double, same-day pick-up. Very easy-going.
July 2018: Easy-going.
May 2018: Visa delivered in 5 days.
So far, only locals have managed to apply. Updates posted here.
December 2018 – January 2019: no visas for foreigners at the moment.
November 2018: No need to go directly to Pakistan, managed to cross over from China. You get 14 days which can be extended by another 14 days once in Pakistan. It has a validity of 2 months.
September 2018: 3 day turnaround with LONO, 87$ for transit visa (paid in new dollar bills)
January 2018: 4 days turnaround for 2-week transit visa, later extended in Islamabad for another 2 weeks.
November 2017: A 2-week transit visa is possible, if you have a visa for the country after Pakistan and a letter of no objection from your embassy.
September 2017: Tourist visa can be done here only if you will be going to Pakistan immediately after Iran. Will take a long time (over a month) to process apparently. Transit visa (15 days) is possible but expiry will be 1 month from date visa is processed. Must have visa of country you’re transiting to (and photocopy) to apply.
The Hague embassy
February 2016: If you have all the required documents, you will get the visa the same day. You need a letter of invitation, and filled in form, 2 passport size photos and air ticket confirmation. The price for the visa is €72 for most European citizens, but €130 for British citizens. We had to wait for about an hour and a half and walked away with a visa valid for 4 months before entering the country, and valid for 45 days once entering the country.
Updates posted in the Tokyo embassy topic.
October 2018: Australian with residence and Japanese citizen. Applied on Monday and received our passports back via post on Saturday. No LOI needed. We applied for 60 days single entry but received 90 days double entry. Very easy embassy to apply at.
Updates in the Vancouver embassy forum topic.
July 2018: An original, notarized LOI is required from someone in Pakistan. I used a tour company, which cost over $150 to get them to notarize and courier the LOI to me. The LOI has to be couriered to you from Pakistan now, it CANNOT be emailed to you. I tried to convince the consulate that this wasn’t gonna work for me because i couldn’t wait etc. but they stood their ground.
To get a multi entry, I included a short letter explaining why I wanted it and that I had a Pakistan visa once before.
In the end, they gave me what I applied for, a multi entry visa valid for 1 year. Once I sent the application and LOI, it took about 1 week to get the visa.
December 2017: I was already traveling in Central Asia so I sent my passport via DHL to a friend in Vienna. It seemed straightforward according to the information I found online on the embassy’s website, however, it wasn’t.
Note that you need to make an appointment first through their Online System. Apart from the documents mentioned on the website (filled out application form, 2 photos, passport & copy), you also need a proof of leaving the country (i.e. flight booking), hotel reservations, itinerary of your planned trip, and confirmation of your employer that you will have leave for the trip. Since I wasn’t there personally they also asked for a simple, formless, signed letter allowing my friend to apply for me (=Vollmacht). Austrians DO NOT need a letter of invitation.
For me some of this was tricky so I had to be creative. Initially I told them my actual plan (entering from China and leaving Pakistan to India overland), but they insisted on a proof of me leaving the country. So I booked a (fully refundable) flight to/from Islamabad and made up a 30-day long itinerary, basically doing all the touristy stuff in the safe parts of the country (it might be clever avoiding to mention critical areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, Baluchistan etc). I also made some hotel reservations on booking.com and cancelled them afterwards. Since I had quit my job a year earlier to go traveling I didn’t have an employer, so instead the embassy asked me for a bank statement showing sufficient funds – a simple copy of a current account statement will do.
Once I had all the documents together they gave my friend an appointment 10 working days later to pick up the visa. No problem there. Once you have got the visa you can enter/exit whichever way you like.
Washington, D.C. embassy
Updates gathered in the Washington, D.C. forum thread.
Comments are closed. If you have questions or embassy reports, head over to our forum’s visa section.