There are different types of Pakistani visas you can apply for. Here, I breakdown the full process of applying for a US Citizen/Nationals (of non-Pakistani origin) visa + include how to get a Letter Of Invitation for those planning on not taking a tour for their entire stay in Pakistan. Regardless of the visa you apply for, the process is very similar. This posts includes important tips to get your Pakistani Visa Application correct the first time.
1. Check travel.state.gov For The Latest Country/Visa Information
travel.state.gov has great, country specific information and visa details for Americans. However, keep in mind that it is biased, being written from the U.S. Government’s point of view.
Regardless, the visa information is very useful and I highly recommend checking it out. From their home page you can click on (1) International Travel, (2) Country Information, and (3) type in the country you are looking to find information about.
Once there, scroll down to the Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements section for visa information. There will be an external link directing you to the embassy’s website.
2. Visit The Embassy or Consulate Website
You can also go to the country’s consulate website to download the visa application. Since I live in New York, I used the New York City’s Pakistani consulate website. From there, you can go to the Visa section seen below:
Choose the visa you need. We applied for a standard US Citizens/Nationals [Green Card holders] (of non-Pakistani origin) visa seen below:
3. Understanding The Pakistani Visa Requirements
After choosing the visa you need, you’ll reach a page showing you the documents needed for the visa application. The application will be at the bottom of the page and should be downloaded.
Below requirements are copied directly from the website screenshot shown above. Review my added commentary in Bold for tips and to avoid having to go twice to the consulate due to application errors.
- Duly filled-in Visa Application Form in all respects. Print 2 copies of the application. Fill out one to the best of your ability. Leave blank anything you don’t understand. When you arrive at the consulate, ask them for clarification. If you’ve made too many errors, fill out the 2nd copy correctly at the consulate.
- Two passport size recent color photographs with white background. You can go to CVS/RiteAid to have your passport photos taken. Check their websites for coupons to save a couple dollars.
- Money Order or Cashier’s check of US$ 192 for United States citizens payable to the “Consulate General of Pakistan New York”. Cash / personal check is not acceptable. You can get a cheap money order at Wal-Mart or the post office. Be sure to also bring a debit card. There are different fees for other nationalities which can be seen here. However, the fee list online may not be up-to-date. You can pay the difference using a debit card (We had to for the Turkish fee).
- Original US Passport with validity of more than six months along with its photocopy. Ensure the expiration date is more than 1 year to be safe.
- Applicants with non-US passport should also submit a Permanent Resident Card, Work Visa or another supporting documents. Bring a copy of your GreenCard if applicable.
- Original letter of invitation from Pakistani citizen on Stamp Paper duly notarized or attested by a Gazetted Government Officer along with an attested copy of his/her CNIC/NICOP. Will be discussed in the next section – 4. Getting an Invitation Letter.
- Proof of profession (job/studies, etc.) of the person inviting applicant. Will be discussed in the next section – 4. Getting an Invitation Letter.
- Proof of profession (job/studies, etc.) of the applicant. Have your employer write a letter stating that you are an employee with your position, start date, employer address & contact info. If you only provide pay-stubs they will call you and request you to email them an employer letter.
- Bank Statement of applicant (in case the applicant is dependent on parents, a letter from the father/mother conveying concern to meet expenses on the visit) Be sure it is the latest bank statement.
- Proof of residency is required for all applicants (State ID, Driving Licence or any utility bill). Copy of your State ID/Driver’s License will suffice.
- All applicants must be present at the time of visa application submission. (visa application must be notarized by local notary if the applicant is absent at the time of submission) Get there 20 minutes before it opens to be the first ones there. Most likely, there will almost be no line and you will be the first ones in and out.
- In case, a child is under 16, both the parents need to sign the visa application and Parents consent form along with there Current ID. ( form must be notarized in case the parents are not present at the time of submission)
4. Getting an Invitation Letter
There are different tour companies that can provide you an Invitation Letter. Some tour companies want you to sign up for a full tour for your entire stay in Pakistan. Others, are okay with providing you the invitation letter as long as you sign up for at least one tour.
We ended up booking an afternoon tour to the Wahga Border with Karakoram Bikers. If you book with them, keep in mind they are a motorcycle tour company, so they will pick you up by motorcycle. It’s much more fun that way anyways 🙂
Karakoram Bikers have a great FAQ section for what they do and don’t do with regards to providing an invitation letter. You can check it out Here.
Essentially, all you need to do is shoot them an email letting them know you want to book a tour and require an invitation letter.
Karakoram Bikers will tell you to email them (1) what you plan to do, (2) method of arrival, (3) contacts, if any, in Pakistan, (4) full name and address of yourself and an emergency contact, (5) copy of passport, and (6) payment confirmation of: the tour, Letter Of Invitation (“LOI”), add on witnessing to LOI, and international courier* (if applicable)
*Some countries (including the U.S.) require the original LOI for the Pakistani visa application.
You’ll be receiving the below 3 documents:
1. Letter of Invitation (mailed to you if required by the Pakistani consulate in your country)
2. Pakistani Tourism License (Ensure the [1.] end date is after the end of your trip. If not, then ensure, under the renewals section, the other [2.] end date is after the end of your trip. If it is not, the Pakistani consulate will not accept your application.) [Falls under Proof of profession of the person inviting applicant]
3. Pakistani Company Registration [Falls under Proof of profession of the person inviting applicant]
5. Finalization – Time & Costs
Once you have all of your documents ready to go, you can head over to the Pakistani consulate to apply. Be sure to get there 20 minutes before they open to be first in line. You’ll be in and out in less than 10 minutes.
The costs vary by the applicant’s country of origin and method of receiving the Letter of Invitation. For non-Americans Pakistani visa fees click here. Below is the full breakdown of visa/related-visa costs totaling $353:
- Visa Fee (For Americans) – $192
- Letter of Invitation (“LOI”) – $80
- Add on Witness to LOI – $19
- International Courier of LOI – $46
- Passport Pictures – $15
Once you have turned in your application and paid the visa fee, you will receive a little receipt like the one below. Don’t lose it! You’ll need it for when you pick up your passport with your Pakistani visa 🙂
It will take roughly 2 weeks or longer for the visa application process to go through. They tell you to call them in a week for an update but they never pick up the phone. The consulate will call you once it is ready for pick up.
Feel free to add any comments if you have any questions! Safe travels!