All foreign nationals who wish to enter Pakistan are required a visa for any type of purpose like leisure, business, mass media and investment. Exceptions are made for individuals coming from countries where Pakistan has Visa Abolition Agreements. The Diplomatic Missions is responsible for issuing visas. The Pakistan Embassy can provide vital information and other requirements needed for entry into the country.

Pakistan Immigration

The Diplomatic Missions only handles visa applicants living within its jurisdiction. If the applicant has no definite place of residence, the Diplomatic Missions that has jurisdiction over the current place of residence during visa application will handle the case. Being granted a visa does not guarantee foreign nationals from entering the country. The Immigration Officer still holds the final decision of allowing foreign nationals to enter Pakistan territory.

Immigration Laws

According to the 1951 Pakistan Citizenship Act, foreigners or aliens are described as individuals who are not citizens of Pakistan or the Commonwealth. Thus, entry into the country will require a passport, travel documents, and a visa regardless of the purpose of visit. Minors are also described as individuals below 21 years of age. In special cases, the Federal Government may grant citizenship to minors.

The law also takes into consideration the 1948 British Nationality Act. Some individuals are considered as “British protected persons” because of the act. The Federal Government may grant citizenship to people who have migrated into Pakistan from any Indo-Pakistan subcontinent territory after the Pakistan Citizenship Act Commencement and before January 1, 1952. Statutes that protect workers both local and foreign are also present.

Visa Immigration Services

All foreign nationals coming into Pakistan are required visas with the following exceptions:

•    Foreign nationals holding Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) of any citizenship for unlimited or long-term residence;
•    Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago or Tonga for unlimited or long-term residence;
•    Citizens ofMaldives, Zambia, and Iceland for a maximum of three (3) months;
•    foreign nationals of Nepal and Samoa for a maximum of thirty (30) days;
•    Chinese nationals with passports issued in Hong Kong for a maximum of thirty (30) days;
•    holders of UN Laissez-passer; and
•    individuals who are in transit within twenty-four (24) hours by the first or same connecting aircraft provided that they have onward or return documentation, and these passengers are also not allowed to leave the airport premises.

Visitors who have stayed more than thirty (30) days in Pakistan are required to report and register to the nearest Foreigners Registration Office. Special precautions are provided for travel to the Northern Areas, Province of North West Frontier and Baluchistan. Israel foreign nationals are not allowed by the Government of Pakistan to enter, even for transit. Afghanistan foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the country if their passports or tickets provide evidence of boarding or transit in India.

Pakistan Missions abroad have the authority to grant tourist visas for three (3) months validity and stay with double entry to foreign nationals of List-A comprised of 175 countries. RPOs have the authority to extend tourist visas up to a maximum of six (6) months, which includes the initial visa period and condone overstay up to fifteen (15) days upon payment of visa fee. For Northern Areas, the Deputy Commissioners have the authority to extend visa for three (3) months and one (1) re-entry to the tourists in Northern Areas, with visa fees charged for every policy.

Applications should be forwarded to the Consulate or Consular section at Embassy or High Commission. Documents required include:

•    Original passport and photocopy valid for six (6) months beyond the planned duration of stay
•    One (1) application form
•    Two (2) passport-size photos
•    Confirmed return or onward ticket
•    Proof of adequate funds for the duration of stay
•    Fee payable in cash or postal order only
•    Letter of invitation from Pakistan-based companies (for business trips)

The time it takes for visa issuance will depend on the nationality of the applicant. Pilgrim visas usually take two (2) months to process. The prices of visas vary depending on the nationality of the applicant as well as the type of entry (single, double, or multiple entry). On average, prices can range anywhere between £45 to £90. Prices tend to be cheaper for Pakistanis holding dual nationality.

Applicants with parents who are Pakistani passport holders have the same concession, and are required to submit their parents’ original birth certificate and Pakistani passports. Some foreign nationals are issued visas for free, but acquisition should be done before traveling.

All individuals entering Pakistan on specific assignments (official or business) should include all supporting letters and documents from sponsors or employees of all parties involved. The parties should indicate the nature of assignment, length of stay and names of companies or organizations involved, as well as the programs available, if there are any. Incomplete and unsigned documents will not be processed. The grant of a Pakistan visa cannot be considered as a right, and the issuing authority can refuse the application without having to provide any reason.

Visitors arriving within six (6) days from any country with endemic yellow fever are required yellow fever vaccination certificates. Babies below six (6) months old are exempt if the mother has a vaccination certificate proving that she has been vaccinated before delivering the baby. All countries and areas within the endemic zone are considered as infected.

Cholera vaccination certificates are no longer required per the WHO guidelines issued in 1973. However, special precautions are still advised.

Typhoid precautions are also advised. Individuals who plan to stay for more than one (1) year in Pakistan are also required to show certification of being HIV-negative.

Pakistan has visa abolition Agreements with following 36 countries. The foreigners holding diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders of the following countries can enter in Pakistan without visa for the period mentioned against each. After expiry of the period, extension of visa would be required through Ministry of Interior.

Types of Visas

Two types of visas are available for Pakistan entry, namely:

•    Tourist Visa; and
•    Business Visa.

These can be further categorized according to the number of entries, such as:

•    Single transit; and
•    Multiple entry.

Businessmen and commercial travelers coming into Pakistan time and again for leisure, investment and transactions can be granted single, double or multiple entry visas. Validity period is usually up to six (6) months maximum within a given period but not more than one (1) year.

Diplomats and officials of foreign governments with relations and accreditation with Pakistan can be provided with “Diplomatic” or “Official” visas. These are good for single or multiple entry and are normally free of charge.

Passengers moving to their final destination can pass through Pakistan provided that they have the necessary travel documents and only stay within the airport premises. Transit visas require passengers to have the following:

•    confirmation of onward journey of the applicant;
•    documents related to the applicant for the country of destination and;
•    countries enroute and destination are in order.

Requirements for Pakistan Tourist Visa for individuals from the U.S. include:

•    a passport with a minimum of six (6) months validity remaining;
•    one (1) application form, signed and completed properly;
•    two (2) passport-size photos;
•    a notarized copy of the Green Card if a US citizen or a valid visa back to the US if the applicant is not a US citizen;
•    evidence of adequate funds to support stay in Pakistan; and
•    confirmed itinerary and onward or return tickets.

Requirements for Pakistan Business Visa for individuals from the U.S. include:

•    a passport with a minimum of six (6) months validity remaining;
•    one (1) application form, signed and completed properly;
•    a notarized copy of the Green Card if a US citizen or a valid visa back to the US if the applicant is not a US citizen;
•    evidence of adequate funds to support stay in Pakistan;
•    confirmed itinerary and onward or return tickets;
•    a letter of invitation from the host Pakistan-based company; and
•    a letter from the US company indicating the purpose and length of stay.

Once the visa is issued and provided, it is valid for six (6) months since the date of issuance for stays with a maximum of three (3) months. A multiple entry visa allows up to six (6) journeys over a period of time not exceeding one (1) year. Individuals with multiple-entry visas can only stay up to three (3) months per visit.

Work Visa (For Expatriate Personnel)

The work visa has a validity period of three (3) to five (5) years or until the passport of the applicant expires. The Pakistani Mission abroad is responsible for granting work visa based on the authority given by the Ministry of Interior Affairs. This modified procedure for foreign nationals entering Pakistan to be employed under private organizations and companies is effective starting January 1, 2000.

Foreign expatriate personnel will not be given work permits except for technical and managerial positions to implement the government’s obligation of prioritizing job opportunities for Pakistanis. There may be special cases requiring the employment of foreign personnel due to possession of special skills and traits. The work visa will be granted provided that similar skill sets will be created within Pakistani manpower over an agreed period of time.

The Regional Passport Offices at Islamabad as well as at Provincial capitals, have been empowered to allow one year extension in business visa on submission of the following requisite business related documents.

a. Valid passport / business visa.

b. Documents showing substantial investment / export / import during last year.

c. Registration letter from Tourism Division (in case of hotel business)

d. Other business documents (i.e. letter from Chamber of Commerce & Industry / Registrar of Company, partnership deed, article of association etc.)

The extension of the granted visa beyond one year would be granted by the Ministry of Interior upon production of the requisite business documents.