Latest information November 2019
Before May 2019 – Getting a visa on the road was not possible, but you could only get it from your home country or country of residence.
After May 2019 – They have finally introduced an e-visa system and up to
176 nationalities can now apply for a Pakistani visa online.
How to apply for a Pakistani e-Visa
Things you need to know about the e-visa:
Visa length – Officially, you can get a visa for up to 3 months. The
application says that you can get up to 12 months but so far, there
aren’t any reports from tourists who have been able to get one.
Multi-entry – You can also apply for a multi-entry visa valid for up to 1
Price – It depends on nationality and the length of your trip.
Timing – The application says the process may take up to 7 days but it
also may depend on your embassy. Sometimes within just one day, mostly it takes several days. It is recommended to apply in advance.
Passport – You should have atleast minimum 6 months validity of your Passport. If you will stay there for 1 month and you only have 6 months in your passport its not advisable to apply, better renew it before planning to apply your Pakistan e-Visa else your application might get disapproved.
Important – After submitting your application, your embassy has the right to call you for an interview, which means that you would need to be in your home country. However, this only happens in rare cases.
How to make a visa extension
Would you like to spend more time in Pakistan? No problem. Extending your visa while traveling in Pakistan used to be a confusing process, as everybody has different experiences and rules were constantly changing but, finally, you can get your visa extension through the regular e-Visa portal, as long as you are already in Pakistan and in possession of an e-Visa.
If you traveled to Pakistan with a regular visa, you can only extend it at the
passport office of any major city, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad,
Peshawar, Chitral, Gilgit, and Skardu but, the easiest place is Lahore.
What’s like to travel in Pakistan today
The security situation in Pakistan has dramatically improved and the Northern Areas of Pakistan are, once again, filled with intrepid backpackers who want to visit some of the most jaw-dropping mountain scenery you will ever see, and experience the hospitality Pakistan is famous for.
Nevertheless, despite this massive tourism increase, Pakistan still remains
raw, authentic, and genuine, and it will stay like that for a very long time,
especially because it is not an easy country to travel to. Tourist infrastructure is in an embryonic stage, it is difficult to move around and you won’t meet many foreigners. If you want to roam around make sure you have trusted friends with you or go along with your group and tour guide. Pakistan is safe, but it would be more safer if you have someone with you whom you can trust and knows how to communicate in Urdu or Hindi for better understanding with the community and you will enjoy more.
DO’S AND DONT’S
Cultural behavior and facts when traveling in
Pakistan Urdu, is the official language – However, each region has its own (or several) local languages, so different from each other. English is widely
spoken among educated people,
Pakistan is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries
– From the South Asian looking people of Punjab and Sindh; to the people of the Pashtun areas, closer to Iran or Afghanistan; the pagan culture of Kalash; the Shias from Gilgit and Nagar; the Ismailis of lower Hunza and the Wakhis (and also Ismailis) of upper Hunza. Traveling in Pakistan is like traveling in several, different tiny countries. It’s fascinating.
Remember, you are the guest – People tend to say that, in Iran, Sudan and Iraqi Kurdistan, you find the most hospitable people in the world. Well, clearly, they haven’t visited Pakistan. Whereas it’s true that these countries are very hospitable, Pakistanis bring it to the next level. In this country, you are the guest, which means that the locals strive for you to have the best possible time in their country or region.
The hospitality can even be overwhelming – During your trip to Pakistan, you’ll be invited for lunch, dinner and even to stay at people’s houses so many times that, on many occasions, you will have to refuse.
After your refusal, they will insist once again, over and over. hahahaha!! They will also insist on carrying your bag and offering you food one hundred times even if you say that you are full. These are their cultural rules and you are the guest.
Paying for meals – For some reason, Pakistanis always want to pay
for your meals to the extent that it gets awkward. I personally didn’t like it,
especially when I could see that the local people didn’t have much money. If possible, try to back them up. Security and safety when you travel in Pakistan is not dangerous but you should be cautious.
You might have read from other blogs that Pakistan is one of the safest
countries in the world. Personally, I wouldn’t say that. Whereas I think that
Pakistan is not a dangerous country, in some areas, it’s better to be cautious, especially in the region bordering Afghanistan. However, the situation is only getting better and better – Seriously, safety in Pakistan has improved exponentially.
Police are there to help you
Throughout your Pakistan travels, you’ll be continuously interrogated by
dozens of different policemen and people from the army. Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you going? Unlike in other countries, in Pakistan, the police and military are pretty cool and, for your own security, they are commanded to ask you these questions. You will have to register at more than 100 security check posts. Sometimes, to get from one
destination to another, you have to register more than 10 times! At each check post, you have to get off the car or bus and write down all your personal information in a notebook. This will slow down your journey considerably.
Bring one thousand passport & visa photocopies
It’s good to bring loads of photocopies because, at some check posts, if you
have a passport copy, you don’t have to get out of the car. Otherwise, you are going to waste your time. Occasionally, you get a personal guard, for free – it’s not a joke! For security purposes, in some areas, you will get a personal armed guard. Sometimes, you might have to pay for his meals but, according to the police, you are not forced to.
Women traveling solo is more common and safer than you think – Women tell wonderful things about their experiences during their journeys through Pakistan. Pakistani intelligence is one of the best secret services in the world – One of the reasons why Pakistan is not a dangerous country is thanks to the Pakistani intelligence, which is considered the best intelligence corps in the world.
Bureaucracy and permits for your trip in Pakistan. Don’t trust any source of bureaucracy information, not even Against the Compass – In Pakistan, rules are not written and things are constantly changing. Places that no longer require a permit, might require it overnight, by the next day it was changing it back again. This information doesn’t flow throughout the country, so you will see that everyone (including national police, local police, the Army, the locals, travelers, and blogs) will always have a different opinion. Don’t trust anyone.
Internet and calling
The internet works fine throughout the country except in Gilgit-Baltistan, In the Northern Areas, the connectivity is awful or non-existent depending on where you go.
Ways of moving around when you travel in Pakistan
Public buses & minivans go everywhere – Like in most developing countries where most people can’t afford to buy a car, buses and minivans travel to even the remotest areas in the country. In Sindh and Punjab provinces, Daewoo is the most luxury bus. For traveling to Gilgit from Islamabad, you should definitely take NATCO VIP Bus ( around
Train – In Sindh, Punjab, and Peshawar, you can move around by train.
There are different train companies but you should always take the private
ones, as they are more punctual. Use AC standard, as it is the one used by
the Pakistani middle class. It’s not expensive, not smelly and comfortable
Hitchhiking is too easy – It’s so easy, that sometimes, it’s
faster and easier than taking public transport, especially on the Karakoram
Highway (from Gilgit to Khunjerab Pass). Everybody will want to pick you up Plane is pretty convenient – Traveling by bus from Islamabad to the northern areas, including Chitral, Gilgit and Skardu takes ages (from 15 to 20 hours). There are flights connecting Islamabad with all these cities. Book your flights here. Please note that, for flying to and from Gilgit, you must book several days (even weeks) in advance. Also, bear in mind that many flights get canceled due to the weather condition. Accommodation when you are traveling to Pakistan Prices can be negotiated to the extreme –
Whenever they tell you the price, ask if they have a cheaper room.
In most of Pakistan, you are covered – In Pakistan, there is a lot of domestic tourism, so most touristic areas are filled with hotels for absolutely every budget, from hostel to mid-range and luxury rooms.