With the Pakistan’s tourism still relatively untapped, authentic experiences of vibrant cultures and blissful landscapes await all who visit Pakistan. But booking a holiday to Pakistan can leave you with a lot of questions, like how can I get a Pakistan tourist visa online, how can I get to Pakistan and how much money should I take with me?

How to Get a Pakistan Tourist Visa Online

Getting a Pakistan tourist visa used to be a challenging task, with endless paperwork to complete.

 Thankfully, it’s a different story today. The Pakistan government has recently introduced a new policy that has made it much simpler for visitors to apply for visas through the Pakistan Online Visa System.

 There are three main types of visa you can apply for when visiting Pakistan:

Visa in Your Inbox

If you’re from any of this list of 50 countries, you can apply online for a Visa in Your Inbox. If successful, you’ll be emailed an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) which will allow you to enter Pakistan and obtain your visa upon arrival. 

Tourist/Visit Visa

A Tourist/Visit Visa is suitable for tourists that aren’t from the list of 50 countries above, whether they’re general tourists or travelling to Pakistan to climb mountains and/or trek on specified treks. Anyone from this list of 191 countries can apply online for a Tourist/Visit Visa but it’s worth keeping in mind that processing time is significantly longer for mountaineering tourists at four weeks. For general tourists, on the other hand, the processing time for a Tourist/Visit Visa is seven to ten days.

Pilgrim Visa

Pilgrim Visas are suitable for Sikhs who are foreign nationals of Indian origin and intend to travel to Pakistan for religious tourism. The processing time for Pakistan Pilgrim Visas is ten days.

Applying for a Pakistan Tourist Visa

When applying for a Pakistan tourist visa, visitors can either apply for a new visa or a visa extension. Below is a list of the documents that you’ll need to apply for either:

      A good quality headshot photograph

      Your passport

      An invitation letter from a sponsor or your hotel booking details if you’re an individual tourist

      An invitation letter from a tour operator if you’re travelling as part of a group (see below for a list of tour operators designated by the Pakistan department of tourist services)

      Proof of legal residence if you’re applying from any country other than your home country

If you’re applying for a visa extension, you’ll also need proof of your valid Pakistan Visa and the entry stamp on your passport.

New visas are valid for stays less than three months and for single or double entry. Visa extensions are valid for up to six months and even more in some cases, subject to approval. Those from any of the countries listed here might also be eligible for double entry tourist visas.

Applying for a Pakistan Tourist Visa in Your Inbox

Travellers from any of a list of 50 countries are eligible to apply for a ‘tourist visa in your inbox’, which are valid for multiple entries for 30 days.

If you’re visiting from any of the 50 listed countries, you’ll still need to fill out a Pakistan visa application form to submit intent to travel and the required documents through the Pakistan Online Visa System.

 As long as your application is approved, you’ll be sent an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). The ETA isn’t your visa but does allow you to travel to Pakistan, where you should then be able to obtain your visa from the Immigration counter at the airport upon arrival. Tourist visas in your inbox take between 48 and 72 hours to be processed so you should submit your intent to travel at least three days before you plan to arrive in Pakistan in order to receive your ETA in time.

 The required documents you’ll need to submit are:

      A good quality headshot photograph

      Your passport

      An invitation letter from a sponsor or your hotel booking details if you’re an individual tourist

      An invitation letter from an authorised tour operator if you’re travelling as part of a group (see below for details)

Pakistan Pilgrim Tourist Visa

Thanks to its countless religious sites, many flock to Pakistan for religious tourism. If you’re Sikh and identify as a pilgrim tourist, you can also apply for a visa through the Pakistan Online Visa System. Those from the list of 191 countries are eligible to apply, as well as Indian nationals that have a legal permanent residence in a third country.

 There are three categories of eligibility for a pilgrim tourist visa, as below:

      Category A: Foreign nationals of Indian origin

      Category B: Those with a legal and permanent residence in a third country other than India

      Category C: Children and spouses of those from Category B.

 The required documents for Pilgrim Tourist Visas are:

      A good quality headshot photograph

      Your passport

      An invitation letter from a sponsor or your hotel booking details if you’re an individual tourist

      Proof of legal residence in a third country (for Category B) or proof of legal residence in a third country of spouse/parent (for Category C).

Keep in mind, if you’re applying for a Pakistan pilgrim tourist visa, you’ll need to allow up to 10 days for processing.

Pakistan Visa Fees

Pakistan tourist visa fees vary depending on your nationality. For example, a Pakistan visa for a British national will cost 60USD. For a Japanese national, the fee would be 8.18USD. Whatever nationality you are, there is an additional 40USD processing fee too. You’ll be asked to pay the total fee as part of your application process.

Letter of Invitation

To apply for a visa, you’ll need a letter of invitation (LOA) from a contact who lives in Pakistan. This could be a friend or family member, but you can also obtain an LOA from the hotel or guesthouse that you plan to stay at. Send the hotel or guesthouse an email or give them a call and they should be able to supply you with the LOA. When you book with Pak Voyager, we’ll arrange for a letter of invitation to be sorted for you.

How Much Does it Cost to Travel to Pakistan?

How much money you should bring with you is, of course, dependent on your style of travel but Pakistan is generally a very affordable country to travel to.

 After you’ve booked your accommodation and paid for your visa, you’ll want to budget for food and anything else you’d like to do and see whilst you’re in Pakistan. When it comes to food, you can expect an average meal at a quality restaurant to cost around US$5. It’s also possible to find vegetarian dishes even cheaper, as low as US$2. Entrance fees to attractions are also quite affordable – you can expect to pay around $15 to get into museums, for example.

 As a guide, if you booked our eight day Budget Tour Package to Hunza Valley, spending money of around US$560 would cover everything you need after your airfare and tour package is booked. 

Pakistan Currency

Pakistan uses the Pakistani Rupee. The exchange rate is roughly 1USD to 155PKR or 1GBP to 210PKR.

 It’s best to bring cash with you to Pakistan. Though you’ll find ATMs in cities, not all ATMs may accept foreign cards and most places require cash payment. You can exchange your currency for Pakistani Rupees at the airport upon arrival. However, much better exchange rates can be found in market exchange houses. If you’re travelling to Islamabad, you’ll find many exchange houses in the Blue Area, the city’s central business district. 

Transportation in Pakistan

The roads in Pakistan are some of the most beautiful in the world. They’re also some of the most difficult. New roads are being built and repaired to make them easier and quicker to travel but many roads you’ll take are narrow mountain roads, some built along the edge of cliffs. That said, it’s absolutely possible to travel around Pakistan by road. Public buses are available but the best way to explore Pakistan is to hire a car for yourself. Not only does it mean you can get around on your own schedule but it also gives you the freedom to stop and admire the views any time you want. To hire a car in Pakistan, get in touch with us and we’ll arrange a car for your stay.

 Though it gives you plenty of time to take in the breathtaking mountains, rivers and lakes, driving long distances can take many hours in Pakistan. A quicker option is to take internal flights. Pakistan International Airlines operates a good number of flights that connect Islamabad with the prominent northern cities like Skardu, Chitral,Swat and Gilgit. Keep in mind, though, that unpredictable weather means that flights often get cancelled. 

Hotels and Accommodation in Pakistan

Accommodation in Pakistan ranges from budget stays to indulgent hotels. In the larger cities, you’ll find popular 5-star hotels, like the Marriott and the Serena Hotel in Islamabad. In the more rural areas, there are more basic homestays and lodges but many of these are comfortable and characterful.

 Hotels and other accommodation in northern Pakistan don’t operate on a star rating system. Instead, they’re classified into three categories: A, B and C. Hotels in category A are of the best quality as compared to others, those in category B are mid-level and those in category C are of a basic standard.

 One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to accommodation in Pakistan is that most can only take payment by cash and can’t be booked online. At PakVoyager, we’re proud to be able to offer online booking and payment via credit card for a great range of Pakistan hotels. To book your stay in Pakistan with card payment, get in touch with us.

Pakistan Travel FAQs

What documents do I need to get a Pakistani visa?

To apply online for a Pakistan tourist visa, you’ll need:

      A good quality headshot photograph

      Your passport

      An invitation letter from a sponsor or your hotel booking details if you’re an individual tourist

      An invitation letter from a tour operator if you’re travelling as part of a group (see below for a list of tour operators designated by the Pakistan department of tourist services)

      Proof of legal residence if you’re applying from any country other than your home country

 If you’re applying for a visa extension, you’ll also need proof of your valid Pakistan Visa and the entry stamp on your passport.  

To apply online for a ‘visa in your inbox’, you’ll need:

      A good quality headshot photograph

      Your passport

      An invitation letter from a sponsor or your hotel booking details if you’re an individual tourist

      An invitation letter from an authorized Pakistan tour operator  if you’re travelling as part of a group 

 

 To apply online for a Pilgrim tourist visa, you’ll need:

      A good quality headshot photograph

      Your passport

      An invitation letter from a sponsor or your hotel booking details if you’re an individual tourist

      Proof of legal residence in a third country (in the case of those with a legal and permanent residence in a third country other than India) or proof of legal residence in a third country of spouse/parent (in the case the applicant is a child or spouse of someone with a legal and permanent residence in a third country other than India).

 Is it possible to be denied a visa on arrival?

If your ‘visa in your inbox’ application is successful, you’ll be granted an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). The ETA allows you to travel to Pakistan, where you’ll receive a visa stamp at the airport’s Immigration counter. It’s highly unlikely that a visa would be denied once a valid ETA has been granted.

 How can I apply for a Pakistan visa? What is the fee?

You can apply for a Pakistan visa through the Pakistan Online Visa System. After you’ve selected the type of visa you’ll need, you’ll be asked for your information and a range of required documents, including your passport and photograph.

 Pakistan tourist visa fees vary depending on your nationality, e.g. it costs 60USD for a British national and 8.18USD for a Japanese national. There’s also a processing fee of 40USD. The fee is paid during the online application process.

Who can apply for a tourist visa through the Pakistan Online Visa System?

Anyone from a list of 191 countries can apply for a Pakistan e-visa through the Pakistan Online Visa System.

How to select a Pakistan visa category?

Take a look through this list of 50 countries. If your home country is on this list and you’re travelling to Pakistan for tourism purposes, you can apply for a Visa in Your Inbox.

 If you’re from any of these 191 countries and are travelling to Pakistan for general tourism purposes or mountaineering/trekking purposes, you can instead apply for a Tourist/Visit Visa.

 Alternatively, if you’re Sikh, travelling to Pakistan for religious purposes and from any of this list of 191 countries, or an Indian national with a legal permanent residence in a third country, you can apply for a Pilgrim Visa.

 If you’re travelling to Pakistan for a purpose other than general tourism, mountaineering in Pakistan or religious tourism,our travel advice is to take a look at other options here.

 Which travel documents are generated by the Pakistan Online Visa System?

If your application is successful, the Pakistan Online Visa System will send you a visa grant notice, which acts as your visa, or in the case of a Visa in Your Inbox application, the system will send you an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). Whilst an ETA is not an actual visa, it will allow you to travel to Pakistan, where you should be granted your visa upon arrival.

Can an applicant make multiple applications through the Pakistan Online Visa System?

You can make more than one application through your account but these have to be for different people using different passports. You can only make a single application on one passport at a time.

How can I contact the support team of Pakistan Online Visa System?

If you have a query or need assistance, you can get in touch via a submission form on the Pakistan Online Visa System website.

 How can I access support material provided to apply through Pakistan Online Visa System?

If you need any further guidance, you can visit the Pakistan Online Visa System website. Under the help tab at the top of the page, you’ll find helpful pages, including ‘How to apply’, ‘How to upload documents’, ‘Photo guidelines’, ‘Important terms’ and ‘Application guide’. 

 How to get to Pakistan

One of the first considerations when you plan a visit to Pakistan is how you’ll get there. Luckily for travellers, Pakistan’s travel infrastructure has improved in recent years and it’s possible to reach the country both by road. Visitors can travel to Pakistan from China by driving along the Karakoram Highway and across the Khunjerab Pass and from Iran by driving the border crossing at Mirjaveh to Taftan.

 It’s also, of course, possible to reach Pakistan by air.

 How to reach Pakistan by air

There are a number of international airports in Pakistan that are served by popular airlines, including Emirates, Etihad, British Airways, Turkish Airlines and Qatar.

 One of Pakistan’s most popular airports among foreign tourists is Islamabad International Airport, situated in the north of the country. Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan and it’s the ideal first stop for those looking to explore the beauty of northern Pakistan. Other popular international airports in Pakistan include Jinnah International Airport in Karachi in the south, Peshawar International Airport in the north-west, Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore and Faisalabad International Airport.

Which International airlines operate in Pakistan?

A great number of international airlines run flights to and from Pakistan. These include:

      Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)

      British Airways

      Virgin Atlantic

      Qatar Airways

      Etihad Airways

      Turkish Airlines

      Emirates

      China Southern Airline

How to reach Pakistan by road 

With increasingly accessible roads being created, it’s also possible to reach Pakistan by road. Pakistan shares borders with Iran, Afghanistan, China and India. While it’s not possible to cross by land from Afghanistan into Pakistan, it is possible to pass from the other three countries.

 You can travel from China along the Karakoram Highway via the Khunjerab Pass, from India via the Wagah Border Crossing (keep in mind this isn’t possible for Indian citizens) and from Iran via the border crossing at Mirjaveh – Taftan.