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A visa is a necessary, but confusing and difficult part of any visit to Pakistan. Every foreign visitor must have some kind of visa to be able to enter the country and the process to obtain a visa is not always clear. Visas are not issued on arrival in the country; they must be obtained prior to your trip. Since Lost Horizon is a tourism company, we will only explain the process to get a tourist visa.
Tourist visas are the easiest and cheapest visa available for Pakistan. The visa process changes frequently, so it's best to contact the nearest Pakistan consulate for accurate information. At this time, the best way to get a tourist visa is to apply from a Pakistan embassy or consulate in your home country. Obtaining a visa from a country other than your home is much more difficult and not guaranteed. Each consulate seems to have different policies for giving out visas, but one very helpful thing to have is a letter of invitation (LOI). An LOI is a letter from a tour operator or travel agent in Pakistan saying that they have made arrangements for your travel in Pakistan and will be responsible for you during your time in the country. As part of our services, we are now offering LOI's and other visa documents for tourist visa applications. Please contact us for prices and details.
These are the things that you will need to apply for a tourist visa to Pakistan:
Visa Application – Applications can either be downloaded from the website of your country's Pakistan Consulate or received physically from the nearest Pakistan Consulate or you can apply online on https://visa.nadra.gov.pk.
Passport – Your passport must be valid with at least 6 months left before expiration and have 3 blank pages. If you passport doesn't meet these criteria you must either get a new passport or add pages to it before you can apply.
Passport Photos – 2 recent passport sized photos with a plain background.
Payment – Tourist visa costs vary depending on your nationality, but will cost between 50 and 100 USD.
Letter of Invitation (LOI) – An LOI is almost necessary to receive your visa at this time, so it is a good idea to have one before you apply. With an LOI you will have a much better chance of getting the visa. Send us an email for information about our LOI services. You will have your LOI within 24 hours. Cost 100 USD. Payment through paypal or via western Union. The LOI has no end date: Once you have it you can apply whenever you want.
The maximum length for a tourist visa is 3 months, but even if you ask for 3 months you may only get 1 month. One important thing to note is that your visa will come with a “good for journey up to” date. This is not the period of your visa! This is the window of time that you have to enter the country. If you do not enter Pakistan by the “good for journey up to” date, your visa will expire. If you enter the country before the date, your visa period will begin from that day. So, even if you enter Pakistan only one day before the “good for journey up to” date, you will still get your full visa time whether it is 3 months or 2 weeks. If you received less time on your visa than you applied for, don't worry. Tourist visas can easily be extended from within Pakistan. For some countries (USA), visa extensions are free and for some countries (UK) there is a fee. Tourist visas can be extended in Islamabad and Gilgit at the Passport Control Offices. Skardu has a passport office, but currently don't have the capability to extend visas. Americans can only get extensions in Islamabad. To get an extension you will need the following:
1 blank page in your passport
2 passport photos
Photocopies of your passport and original visa pages
Money for the extension fee if required
Lastly, we would like to cover the possibility of transit visas (2 week travel) issued from Sost to those coming from China. Pakistan has been issuing transit visas in Sost since 2007, but recently this has been stopped. It is no longer possible to get a visa on arrival in Sost. This is very bad news for tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan and we can only hope that they will re-open the visa-on-arrival process soon.
We hope that this visa information has been helpful for you. If you have any questions, please please send us an email. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible. Have an excellent journey and we hope to see you in Pakistan!
Lost Horizon Treks and Tours
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