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Pakistan travel guide

About Pakistan

From the ancient Mughal city of Lahore to the snow-capped peaks of the Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan is a diverse nation defined not just by its natural beauty and architectural splendours, but by its friendly inhabitants, varied wildlife and rich culinary traditions.

Shame then, that political instability and sectarian violence has made large parts of the country a no-go for tourists, and prevented Pakistan from realising its potential as a top travel destination.

However, those daring enough to take a punt on Pakistan will be richly rewarded for their endeavours – particularly those with a penchant for the great outdoors. The North-West Frontier Province and Gilgit-Baltistan region are home to some of the world’s most famous mountain ranges, including Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush.

That explorers will have these sights more or less to themselves is another boon; gone are the well-marked routes and tea houses of India and Nepal, here lies real adventure.

From jaw-dropping mountain scenery to bustling conurbations, Pakistan’s vibrant cities each have their own distinct flavour. The super-sleek capital, Islamabad, is a modern metropolis bristling with contemporary architecture, world-class cultural attractions and some of the country’s finest restaurants.

Lahore is the very antithesis to Islamabad. Pakistan’s cultural capital, this ancient city abounds with UNESCO listed attractions, stunning shrines and ornate Mughal architecture. Its old town is a maze of bustling bazaars, which harbour mosques, museums and manicured gardens.

Karachi, the former capital and the economic powerhouse of the country, is a mega-city in every sense of the word, cramming 15 million or so into its boundaries. Meanwhile, Peshawar, in the North-West Frontier Province, remains a frontier town, sometimes dangerous and always intriguing.

Those seeking sun and seclusion, should explore Pakistan’s glorious coastline, which is home to some of the most pristine, crowd-free beaches in South Asia. While those looking to evoke the spirit a Kipling-style adventure should follow the ancient trade routes of the Khyber Pass, Grand Trunk Road and Karakoram Highway.

All of this and more lies in Pakistan, and all remains accessible to the more adventurous tourist.

Key facts

Area:

796,095 sq km (307,374 sq miles).

Population:

192,826,502 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

250.1 per sq km.

Capital:

Islamabad.

Government:

Federal Republic.

Head of state:

President Arif Alvi since 2018.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Imran Khan since 2018.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Pakistan on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Since 5 May, Pakistan has restricted the number of international flights to/from Pakistan.

On 20 March, the Pakistan government announced that entry restrictions for inbound travellers from the UK will be lifted from 0001 hours on 23 March. Travellers are still required to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before the start of travel.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Pakistan.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities and check with your airline.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Pakistan

Public transport has restarted across Pakistan with some restrictions.

Domestic flight operations have restarted at all airports in Pakistan.

Rail and bus travel has also restarted, including inter-city and inter-province travel. However, there are mandatory standard operating procedures for public transport including social distancing and restrictions on numbers of passengers. You must wear a face covering when in public across Pakistan including on public transport, punishable by fine.

Authorities can impose local restrictions on travel to prevent the spread of coronavirus. You should follow the federal and relevant provincial guidance, and monitor local media for updates.

Travel to the airport

You’re strongly advised not to travel to the airport if you’re displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, including a high temperature. When you enter the airport, you may be thermal scanned by the Pakistani authorities. If you have a high temperature or other COVID-19 symptoms, you will not be permitted to fly and may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days before you can travel.

Public places and services

Pakistani authorities have imposed restrictions on some public activities in Islamabad Capital Territory and parts of Punjab province due to rising cases of COVID-19 including a ban on indoor and outdoor dining, restrictions on commercial activities, educational institutes and gatherings. Restrictions may be lifted or re-imposed based on the levels of COVID-19 in the country.

There are mandatory standard operating procedures which must be followed in public spaces, including the use of face masks, temperature screening and social distancing. Across Pakistan, it is now mandatory to wear a face mask in public and not wearing one is punishable by a fine.

There are additional varying measures in force in each province including compulsory self-isolation for people who have COVID-19 symptoms, or people who have come into contact with others with COVID-19 symptoms. In some cases, authorities are locking down specific areas. Some provinces have introduced powers to fine or arrest anyone breaking the rules.

You should follow the federal and relevant provincial guidance, and monitor local media for updates. Plan any movements accordingly.

At the airport

You must wear a face mask at the airport. You will need to bring your own mask with you. Airlines and airport authorities will not provide masks.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) require the plane to be disinfected prior to departing for Pakistan. Luggage will also be disinfected before it is loaded onto the plane. Cabin Crew will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Healthcare in Pakistan

There is a risk that the healthcare system will come under significant strain as the number of COVID-19 cases increases. Access to routine and emergency healthcare may be limited.

The Pakistani authorities have announced a helpline (on phone number 1166) for people who have COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you’re worried about the virus, or suspect you may have contracted it, call the helpline and follow the guidance given by the authorities. You can also check the official government of Pakistan website on COVID-19.

If you’re running out of medication or have medical needs, you should speak to your travel insurance company for advice and seek local medical assistance, including from pharmacies. Pharmacies remain open in Pakistan and many medicines can be purchased over the counter. If your usual medication is not available, speak to your travel insurer, ask a local doctor or request advice from your UK doctor.

Pharmacies have remained open during COVID-19 lockdowns as they are exempted from lockdown closure. Major hospitals have pharmacies which operate 24 hours a day and there have been no restrictions in accessing hospitals during COVID-19 lockdowns.

If planning to travel to Pakistan with your medicine, please consult NHS advice before travel.

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Pakistan.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Pakistan

As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

The Pakistan authorities have started the rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines. Official guidance states that those who meet the eligibility criteria with a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) can register for a COVID-19 vaccine. Non-Pakistani nationals, including those with a Pakistan Origin Card (POC), will need their passport number and a valid mobile number to register. Call or SMS 1166 or https://ncoc.gov.pk/covid-vaccination-en.php for more details.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organisation COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

There is a range of financial support from the government that you can access if you’re unable to return due to coronavirus restrictions.

Further information

You can find further information on Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus pandemic at the official government of Pakistan COVID-19 Health Advisory page.

Crime

Be aware of the risk of street crime and take sensible measures to protect yourself and your belongings. Take particular care of your passport, bank cards, bags, jewellery, laptop and mobile, especially on public transport, when travelling to and from the airport and in crowded areas including markets. There is an active black market in forged and stolen passports. Credit card fraud is common.

Exercise caution when moving around urban areas at night, especially if travelling on foot. The threat from criminal activity is increased at this time.

British nationals of Pakistani origin have been targeted by criminals, including kidnappers, as they are often perceived as being wealthier than locals.

Much of Balochistan, rural Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including the areas formerly known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Agencies, have a high level of lawlessness.

Political situation

Public demonstrations are common in Pakistan. Protests can occur with little warning and while most remain peaceful, they can turn violent quickly. During elections, political events, rallies and polling stations have been the target of targeted terrorist attacks. You should avoid all political demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events.

Local travel

The Pakistan authorities currently advise that “all foreigners, including diplomats may not move out of their city of residence without proper security and without prior co-ordination with the law enforcement agency”. This requirement has not been rigorously enforced, but you should consider informing local authorities of any travel plans, and be prepared to be stopped and challenged by officials, who may instruct you to turn around.

When travelling in Pakistan, you or your travel company should contact the local authorities of your destination in advance to check the local security situation. They may arrange police protection as necessary and will advise whether you need a No Objection Certificate issued by the Pakistani Ministry of Interior.

You should exercise care in selecting accommodation and take precautions to maintain safety and keep a low profile.

Border areas

The FCDO advises against all travel to the immediate vicinity of the Line of Control.

Except for official border crossing points, foreigners aren’t allowed to travel within 10 miles of Pakistan’s international borders and the Kashmir Line of Control, or within 30 miles of the Afghan border in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Islamabad

Police and security agencies have a significant presence in Islamabad. You should exercise caution in the outlying districts, such as I8, I9, I10 and areas further west, where security forces have conducted operations against suspected criminals and terrorists.

You should avoid all protests. Crowded areas such as the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) and Aabpara Market in G6 have been a focal point for protests in recent years.

Karachi

Karachi has seen an improvement in the overall security situation in recent years. However, the city is still prone to high levels of violence, and the safety of daily activity can be unpredictable. It is vulnerable to violent ethnic conflict between different communities. Criminal and political violence is also common including armed carjacking, robbery, kidnap and murder. Strikes called by various religious and political parties are capable of causing significant disruption across the city and can occasionally lead to violent civil unrest. Smaller scale labour strikes are also a common occurrence and cause regular disruptions on a more localised scale.

Despite a general improvement, terrorist related activity still occurs in Karachi. Public service and health officials have also been subject to attacks in the past whilst delivering health programmes. There is also a risk of violence in parts of the city which include government offices. Major hotels and the financial district are generally regarded as more stable, though there remains a risk of violence, particularly following Friday prayers.

You should carefully plan any travel within the city, taking into account all the threats. You should take advice from hosts or trusted contacts, abide by direction from law enforcement officers and be prepared to cancel or curtail your plans. Lyari, Malir, Quaidabad and Orangi Town have a greater risk of violence based on past activity. Exercise heightened vigilance if visiting these areas.

On 29 June 2020, armed militants attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi. 8 people died in the attack and 7 were injured.

Lahore

Lahore is the capital of Punjab province, and attracts large numbers of tourists and business travellers. While the city has a widespread police presence, there have been a number of terrorist attacks in recent years. These have targeted public places and government or security forces. On 8 May 2019, a bomb exploded near a police vehicle outside Data Darbar shrine in central Lahore. You should avoid religious events or gatherings, public events and large crowds of people throughout Pakistan.

Balochistan

There is a significant risk from kidnapping and militant activity in much of Balochistan. The FCDO advises against all travel to most of the province (see Summary) other than the southern coast of Balochistan where we advise against all but essential travel. The southern coast is defined as the area south of (and including) the N10 motorway as well as the section of the N25 which runs from N10/N25 intersection to the Balochistan/Sindh border, including the port city of Gwadar.

On 21 April 2021, a bomb exploded outside the Serena Hotel in Quetta, Northern Balochistan. Five people were killed and twelve injured. There are frequent sectarian attacks in and around Quetta.

If you intend to visit Balochistan, make sure you have the necessary permission from the authorities and proper security arrangements in place.

Gilgit-Baltistan

The terrain in Gilgit-Baltistan is mountainous, with remote and isolated locations that are difficult to police effectively. You’re strongly advised to obtain and follow local security advice and make appropriate personal security arrangements in advance of any visit. There are also occasional outbursts of sectarian violence in and around Gilgit.

All foreign nationals must register with the local authorities when visiting Gilgit-Baltistan. You may need a permit for mountaineering or trekking, in particular for mountains over 6,000 metres. The process can take up to 2 months and is best organised through a travel company. The validity of your travel insurance policy may be affected if you do not have the correct permits.

Use reputable trekking agencies, stay on established routes, and always walk in groups. Do not trek alone. Be aware of the risks of altitude sickness.

Karakoram Highway

The Karakoram Highway runs from Hasan Abdal in north Punjab towards Gilgit and the Chinese border. The FCDO advises against all travel on the Highway between Mansehra and Chilas via Battagram, Besham City, Dasu and Sazin. You should avoid travelling on the Highway at night - the road can be narrow with sudden steep drops. All sections of the Highway north of Batagram up to the Chinese border have experienced landslides.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

On 16 December 2019, a bomb exploded outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and Peshawar High Court.

There is occasional military or militant activity in the districts of Swat, Buner, Malakand, and Lower Dir. Localised curfews may be imposed at short notice.

Arandu District to the south and west of Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is sometimes subject to cross border attacks.

Pakistan-administered Kashmir

The FCDO advises against all travel to the immediate vicinity of the Line of Control.

Following a terrorist attack in Pulwama on 14 February 2019, there are heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, particularly across the Line of Control.

There is regular military activity on the Line of Control. Although a ceasefire has been implemented, there remain significant tensions between India and Pakistan and there is a serious risk of small arms fire (roughly up to 300 metres from the Line) and occasional mortar fire (roughly up to 7 kilometres from the Line).

Make sure you have the necessary permissions to travel. Specific requirements can change and you should check the latest requirements before travelling. A No Objection Certificate is always required for foreign nationals to travel within 10 miles of the Line of Control or to enter Pakistan-administered Kashmir via Muzaffarabad.

Punjab

If you travel to southern Punjab take advice about the local security situation in advance. There are frequent reports of criminality and public order incidents.

Sindh

There is a very high risk from crime and kidnapping in Interior Sindh. There are reports of increased criminality in Hyderabad.

Air travel

Domestic flight operations have restarted at all airports in Pakistan following the COVID-19 related disruptions earlier this year.

There is limited public transport from the Islamabad International Airport (IIAP), but taxi services are available.

Security was tightened at Pakistan’s airports following a number of terrorist attacks on key airports and aircraft in 2014. Allow yourself enough time to get through enhanced security checks, but do not linger unnecessarily. Be vigilant, follow instructions from security and airport personnel, and contact your airline in the event of any disruption.

From 1 July 2020, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended permission for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate services to the EU and the UK using their own aircraft and crew, on safety grounds. However, on 14 August 2020, the UK Civil Aviation Authority granted PIA permission to resume services to the UK using replacement aircraft and crew provided by EASA approved operators.

The FCDO can not offer advice on the safety of individual airlines, whether operating internationally or domestically. The International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

British government employees in Pakistan are advised against using domestic flights with airlines that are not EASA approved, except when operationally necessary. This position is kept under review.

A list of recent incidents and accidents including the location, type of aircraft and operator can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

Rail travel

Avoid using the railway network, which has been subject to frequent attacks and derailments. There have been attacks on railway stations in Punjab, and militants have planted bombs on the rail network in Balochistan and Sindh.

Road travel

You should have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Pakistan. 1926 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted. You can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel.

Pakistan has a modern and efficient motorway system between the major cities. The quality of other roads is more variable. Take particular care on long road journeys and when travelling cross-country. Local driving standards are erratic, especially at night. Road conditions can be poor and there is a risk of carjacking.

Avoid using street taxis. Only use taxis from reputable companies which are radio-controlled.

For security reasons, you should avoid using public transport, including the Metro Bus which operates between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The north of Pakistan is mountainous, with some of the highest peaks in the world contained within this area. As a result many roads are inaccessible at certain times of the year due to extreme weather conditions, and landslides frequently block or destroy roads. The N15 Highway between Chilas and Babusar in Gilgit Baltistan is closed at certain times of the year due to weather and is susceptible to landslides.

It is recommended that you only use experienced local drivers when traversing these routes and should only attempt to do so in clear weather conditions.

Sea travel

The threat from piracy within 12 nautical miles of the Pakistani coastline is low, but you should be aware of the significant threat piracy poses in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Pakistan.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a high threat of terrorism and sectarian violence throughout the country. The main terrorist threat comes from Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of groups primarily based in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Daesh is also active. While both groups’ activities are primarily directed against the Pakistani state, they have in the past stated an intent to launch attacks on western interests. TTP and Daesh conduct attacks throughout Pakistan.

Further attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Previous methods of attack have included grenades, shootings, bombings and suicide bombs. Militants can launch complex and deadly attacks. Be vigilant, keep a low profile and vary your routes and timings if you make any regular journeys. You should avoid large organised gatherings which may expose you to higher risk, such as public protests, religious gatherings and processions, and political rallies. Courts and government buildings, security facilities or personnel can also be the target of attacks.

Foreigners, in particular westerners, may be directly targeted. Densely populated and unsecured areas, such as markets, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, airports, public transport, schools and educational institutions are potential focal points for attacks. Additionally, take care if you’re planning to attend sporting events or live music venues. Attacks have previously targeted places that could be considered by militants to be un-Islamic, including CD/DVD shops and barber shops. In recent years, the Pakistani authorities have reintroduced major sporting events into the country, including the Pakistan Super League in cricket. Increased security measures are in place at these events. You should be extra vigilant at all times in such areas, follow the advice of security personnel and minimise your exposure to areas that pose a higher risk.

Pakistani government personnel and institutions, and the security forces, including police, are prime targets for attacks, especially given the ongoing Pakistan military action in the areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province formerly referred to as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which may lead to retaliatory attacks. Avoid key government installations and gatherings of uniformed personnel, and be vigilant in areas around diplomatic premises throughout Pakistan.

Places of worship, including churches, religious sites, minority religious sects and shrines are often targeted. You should avoid religious events or gatherings and limit movements on Friday afternoons. During holy periods/religious holidays there may be a higher risk of targeted attacks, including on western interests and religious minorities.

Areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including Peshawar, suffer regular terrorist attacks. There are reports that extremists may look to carry out attacks in the districts of Dir and Chitral, including targeting foreign nationals. There are threats of attacks in Karachi and almost daily violence.

Areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, also experience frequent attacks. There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

You should keep track of the news. Incidents can occur and the security situation can deteriorate quickly. There may be increases in security force presence and restrictions on movement may be put in place at short notice.

Kidnapping

You should be alert to the threat of kidnapping throughout Pakistan. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain.

British nationals of Pakistani origin are at particular risk of kidnap for ransom. British and other foreign national kidnap victims have faced extended periods of detention. While some were ultimately released by their captors, others have been killed.

Those engaged in humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.

Local laws reflect the fact that Pakistan is a Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs and laws at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend.

Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours during Ramazan (Ramadan). There may also be a higher risk of terrorist incidents during this month. Avoid large gatherings and exercise caution and remain vigilant at hotels, airports, markets, shopping malls and restaurants. For more information, see our Travelling during Ramadan page and Terrorism section.

You should dress modestly at all times. Men and women should cover their shoulders and legs when in public. Women should cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places, and when travelling in rural areas.

Homosexuality is illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Cohabitation by an unmarried couple is illegal.

If you or your parents were born in Pakistan, you might be considered a Pakistani national by the local authorities even if you do not hold a Pakistani passport, and the British government may be prevented from providing the full range of consular assistance.

You should carry some form of photo ID at all times.

Possession of even small quantities of illegal drugs can lead to imprisonment. A number of British nationals have been arrested on drug trafficking charges and face long periods in detention on remand as their cases make their way through the Pakistan legal system. Drug trafficking can attract the death penalty.

Importing alcohol and pork products is illegal.

Blasphemy is illegal and has a broad definition in Pakistani law. It includes public and private comments in any form, including those on social media. The state enforces blasphemy laws and there are significant criminal penalties up to and including the death penalty. In addition, those accused of blasphemy are at significant risk of violence from members of the public. Religious minorities have been victims of blasphemy accusations and violence, including killings.

The death penalty can and has also been imposed for other crimes including murder, drug offences, rape and unlawful assembly.

Do not take photographs at military establishments, airports or any infrastructure, including bridges and dams including from aircraft. In the past British nationals have been arrested on suspicion of ‘spying’. Seek permission from any official, especially in border areas.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Pakistan on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Pakistan.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

Local medical facilities are not comparable to those in the UK, especially in remote areas. For psychiatric illness, specialised treatment may not be available outside major cities in Pakistan. Private medical care is available in all major cities, but expensive. The British High Commission Islamabad maintains a list of medical facilities in different cities of Pakistan. You’re strongly advised to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers the duration of your stay in Pakistan.

There is a risk that the healthcare system will come under significant further strain as the number of COVID-19 cases increases. Access to routine and emergency healthcare may be limited.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial Rescue 1122 which provides an ambulance service. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Other health risks

You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 15 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Take care when purchasing bottled water. A recent government report found a number of bottled water brands to be contaminated.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Pakistan

Since 5 May, Pakistan has restricted the number of international flights to/from Pakistan.

On 20 March, the Pakistan government announced that entry restrictions for inbound travellers from the UK will be lifted from 0001 hours on 23 March. Travellers are still required to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before the start of travel.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

For information about this and possible quarantine periods on arrival please see Pakistan government advice.

The Pakistani authorities have closed land borders with Afghanistan, India and Iran. Despite this, there are ongoing limited border openings for repatriation and trade. Those crossing into Pakistan may have to comply with coronavirus testing and quarantine measures. The FCDO currently advises against travel to the most of the Afghanistan and Iran border areas.

Testing / screening on arrival

If travelling by air, you will be subject to Rapid Antigen testing on arrival at airports in Pakistan. From 1 May Pakistan government guidelines state that those testing negative will then need to undergo 10 days of self-quarantine at home. Travellers who test positive will be moved to a self-paid facility for 10 days quarantine. A second PCR test will be conducted on the 8th day of quarantine, following which a negative result will enable a passenger to proceed home and a positive result will necessitate a further quarantine period or move to hospital if required. Travellers to Pakistan will also be required to provide their contact information through the Pass Track App or through a web-based form. If necessary you may also be able to fill in a health declaration form on arrival.

Government guidelines, issued on 18 November, state that children under the age of 12 and disabled passengers are exempt from the COVID-19 test requirement and Pass Track App requirement. However they will be required to complete a health declaration form upon arrival.

You may also be required to follow special measures before boarding flights to Pakistan and while on board the aircraft, including the wearing of a face mask.

Pakistan government guidance, including links to the Pass Track App and web-based form is available on their COVID-19 website.

Screening on departure

If you’re leaving Pakistan, you will be screened at the airport for any symptoms of COVID-19. You may also be subject to thermal screening for high temperatures. If you’re free from symptoms you will be allowed to travel. If you’re suspected of having symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and breathing difficulty, you will be subject to a secondary screening by a medical professional. After which, you may be allowed to board if it is assessed that you do not have symptoms, have not been at risk of exposure and do not have a fever. If the secondary screening assesses that you may have COVID-19 you may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days before you can travel. You may also be referred to a medical facility.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

If you’re travelling to Pakistan on a British passport, you will need to get a visa before you travel. Visa violations can be treated as a criminal offence and could result in a fine or detention.

Journalists’ visas often have additional travel restrictions, which you should observe.

For further information consult the High Commission for Pakistan in London, including for information on any changes in visa process during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months at the time of your visa application.

National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP)

You can enter Pakistan visa free and remain there for an unlimited period of stay if you hold a valid National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) or Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (SNICOP). For more information visit the website of the High Commission for Pakistan in London.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are valid for entry into Pakistan. Holders of an ETD entering or leaving Pakistan will need to have either a valid visa or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) / Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (SNICOP) issued by the government of Pakistan.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Travelling with children

A single parent or other adult who is not the child’s parent may need to provide documentary evidence of parental responsibility, particularly if the child is of Pakistani origin, before the immigration authorities will allow the child to leave the country.

Exit requirements

All passengers leaving Pakistan must have a valid visa, a Pakistani national identity card or a valid Pakistani passport. If you are travelling on a British passport and your visa has expired you may not be allowed to board your flight unless you have a visa extension or an exit visa. Contact the Ministry of Interior, or refer to the website of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports for instructions on visa extensions and exit visas.

If you’re visiting Pakistan for more than 4 weeks, you may need to provide proof of polio vaccination when you leave Pakistan. For more information, see the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

The monsoon season in Pakistan is from late June to early October. Heavy rains can cause severe flooding, particularly in Sindh and Punjab Provinces.

Check local forecasts and news reports and be aware of the risk of landslides and road blockages, particularly in hilly and mountainous regions. Take extreme care crossing swollen rivers.

Earth tremors are common and mountainous areas regularly experience floods and landslides. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

On 26 October 2015, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake affected Pakistan. According to local authorities, over 220 people died and at least 1,600 people were injured as a result. The districts of Chitral, Lower and Upper Dir, Shangla and Buner were particularly affected.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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