Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

English

Learn About Your Destination

Pakistan

Pakistan
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reissued with updates to health information.

Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to: 

  • Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping.
  • The immediate vicinity of the India-Pakistan border and the Line of Control due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict.

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue to plot attacks in Pakistan. Terrorism and ongoing violence by extremist elements have led to indiscriminate attacks on civilian, as well as local military and police, targets. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities. Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past.

Terrorist attacks continue across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KP, including the former FATA. Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in numerous casualties.

Pakistan’s security environment remains fluid sometimes changing with little or no notice. There are greater security resources and infrastructure in the major cities, particularly Islamabad, and security forces in these areas may be more readily able to respond to an emergency compared to other areas of the country. While threats still exist, terrorist attacks occur less frequently in major urban areas than other parts of Pakistan.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Pakistan due to the security environment. Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted, and additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel outside of U.S. diplomatic facilities may occur at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.

The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar is unable to provide any consular services to U.S. citizens.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Pakistan. 

If you decide to travel to Pakistan:      

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas. 
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and local events. 
  • Vary travel routes and timing, especially for routine trips. 
  • Be cognizant of your surroundings, particularly around public markets, restaurants, government and military institutions, and other locations. 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. 
  • Review the Country Security Report for Pakistan. 
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergencies. Review the Traveler’s Checklist. 

Balochistan Province – Level 4: Do Not Travel 

Do not travel to Balochistan province. Active terrorist groups, including an active separatist movement, have conducted deadly terrorist attacks against civilians, religious minorities, government offices, and security forces.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.  

KP Province, including the former FATA – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel to KP province, which includes the former FATA. Active terrorist and insurgent groups routinely conduct attacks against civilians, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government offices, and security forces. These groups historically have not discriminated between government officials and civilians. Assassination and kidnapping attempts are common, including the targeting of polio eradication teams and Government of Pakistan security service (police and military) personnel.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.  

Vicinity of Line of Control – Level 4: Do Not Travel 

Do not travel to the India-Pakistan border, including the Line of Control. Militant groups are known to operate in the area. India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border. The only official Pakistan-India border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the province of Punjab between Wagah, Pakistan, and Atari, India. Travelers are advised to confirm the status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. An Indian visa is required to enter India, and no visa services are available at the border.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.  

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months beyond the date of arrival

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


Two blank pages are required for entry and exit stamps

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Polio vaccination within one year before travel may be required to exit Pakistan. See Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements below and our Health Abroad page for more information.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Maximum $5,000 per adult per trip with a maximum of $30,000 per adult per calendar year. Minors are limited to half those amounts.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Islamabad

Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Islamabad, Pakistan
Telephone:
+(92)(51) 201-4000 or +(92)(51) 201-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(92)(51) 201-4000
Fax: +(92)(51) 282-2632
Website: https://pk.usembassy.gov/

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Karachi
Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road
Karachi, Pakistan
Telephone:
 +(92)(21) 3527-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(92)(21) 3527-5000
Fax: +(92)(21) 3561-2420
Website: https://pk.usembassy.gov/

U.S. Consulate General Lahore
50, Shahrah-e-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees,
(Old Empress Road) near Shimla Hill Circle,
Lahore, Pakistan
Telephone: 
+(92)(42) 3603-4000
Fax: +(92)(42) 3603-4212
Website: https://pk.usembassy.gov/

U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar
11 Hospital Road, Peshawar Cantt.20
Telephone: 
+(92)(91) 526-8800
Fax: +(92)(91) 527-6712
Website: https://pk.usembassy.gov/

**Consular services are not available in Peshawar**

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Pakistan for information on U.S.-Pakistan relations.   

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

The Government of Pakistan requires all travelers age 12 and over to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

All travelers are subject to random COVID-19 testing at all points of entry/exit.  This policy is in effect until further notice and affects all international airports.  U.S. citizen travelers are not exempt from this requirement and may be tested for COVID-19.

Those testing positive for COVID-19 with the rapid test at the point of entry to Pakistan will then have a sample taken for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and be given home isolation instructions.  Travelers should not expect to be returned to their previous destination, nor quarantined at the Port of Entry/Exit.

Requirements for entry and exit:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid Pakistani visa
  • Dual nationals only: National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP)

Obtain your visa at the Pakistani Embassy or a Consulate prior to initiating travel to Pakistan. Visit the Embassy of Pakistan website for the most current visa information, and please understand that the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan cannot assist you with Pakistani visa issues. 

All U.S. government employees and immediate family members must follow appropriate procedures for official and personal travel to Pakistan. All official U.S. government travel requests must be submitted via the normal country clearance process and will be limited to mission-critical travel only. U.S. government employees wishing to conduct unofficial travel to Pakistan must contact the appropriate office in their home agency to determine whether there are any limitations or restrictions.

Dual Nationals: Be aware that different visa requirements may apply if you hold both U.S. and Pakistani citizenship. For more information see the Embassy of Pakistan’s information regarding National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) and Pakistan Origin Cards (POC).

When you travel to Pakistan, you are subject to the laws of Pakistan. If you travel to Pakistan on NICOP or POC cards, you are considered citizens of Pakistan, which may limit the amount of assistance and communication we can provide should you be arrested. For more information see Government of Pakistan Directorate General of Immigration and Passports.

You must obtain advance permission from local or federal authorities to travel in:

  • Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)
  • Various districts in Azad Kashmir
  • Province of Balochistan

Operational and personal security policies for official U.S. government personnel change frequently.

Stay in compliance with Pakistani immigration regulations. If you overstay your visa or violate the terms, you may be detained, arrested, fined, and/or imprisoned. For further details see the Ministry of Interior website or call +92-51-920-7290.

Keep copies of your U.S. passport data page, Pakistani visa or ID card, and Pakistan immigration entry stamp with you at all times. Consider downloading these documents to your mobile phone in case of emergency.

Vaccinations: With the exception of COVID-19 vaccination, no routine vaccines are required when entering Pakistan from the United States, but proof of polio vaccination within one year may be required to exit Pakistan. See the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for recommended vaccinations and health tips for travel to Pakistan. For further updates, contact the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, telephone: +92-51-910-7307, or email: contact@dra.gov.pk.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Pakistan.

Find information on dual nationality,prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Extremist groups within Pakistan continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit, including government facilities and public locations, such as schools and universities, shopping malls, markets, hotels, clubs and restaurants, , transportation hubs/stations, minority neighborhoods, and outdoor recreation areas. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates  prohibit personnel from visiting houses of worship. Terrorists also target Pakistani officials, government facilities, security forces, religious minorities and facilities including Sufi shrines, and regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military and police installations, and airports. Primary terrorist tactics include suicide operations, gunfire, and bombings (including vehicle-borne explosives and improvised explosive devices), while other actions include but are not limited to assassinations, carjackings, and assaults. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in major cities, and these measures can vary from day to day. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates regularly assess security situations and restrict the movements of official personnel.  

Demonstrations, political rallies, or large religious gatherings intended to be peaceful can become confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. We advise U.S. citizens to avoid areas where large crowds of any kind gather. U.S Embassy and Consulate personnel are routinely instructed to avoid areas of any demonstration. During demonstrations or periods of civil unrest, the Pakistani government has in the past disabled cellular telephone and internet service, making it difficult for individuals to contact each other or the U.S. Embassy or Consulates.

Celebratory gunfire may occur at any time but is most likely to occur during wedding celebrations, which are frequent from October to May, and on holidays such as New Year’s Eve. Although the likelihood of being struck is remote, falling rounds can cause injury or death.

We recommend you limit the frequency of travel and minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, and other public locations. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates prohibit personnel from using public transportation or taxi services. With few exceptions, official visitors are not authorized to stay overnight in local hotels anywhere in the country; we strongly urge you to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates sometimes place areas such as tourist attractions, hotels, markets, shopping malls, and restaurants off-limits to official personnel. 

Threats to civil aviation in Pakistan are not limited to attacks in which militants target airports. The U.S. government is aware of narcotics smuggled onto flights from Pakistan, which may indicate broader security vulnerabilities at Pakistani airports.

We recommend you follow media coverage of local events and maintain good situational awareness and operational security wherever you travel in Pakistan. If you feel that your life is in danger in Pakistan, we advise you to report the threat to local police authorities and consider immediately changing locations or departing Pakistan.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.  

Crime: All travelers are advised to dress conservatively, with arms and legs covered, and to avoid walking alone. We recommend against travel on the streets late at night. Urban crime can be organized or opportunistic and conducted by individuals or groups. It can include fraud, theft, robbery, carjacking, rape, assault, and burglary. Incidents of crime and levels of violence are higher in low-income residential and congested commercial areas but are seen in wealthier areas as well. Pickpocketing, theft, and larceny are common on buses and trains at all hours of the day.

Take precautions to avoid crime, including:

  • locking home and vehicle doors
  • hiring a 24-hour guard
  • varying routes and schedules
  • keeping bags or valuables under your legs away from passing vehicle traffic and ensuring that bag straps are not visible
  • traveling in groups
  • being accompanied by someone with the ability to speak the local language if you travel outside urban areas
  • carrying your mobile phone

If you are assaulted, flee to a safe area and report the situation to local authorities by going directly to a police station or dialing 15.

Demonstrations occur frequently.  They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.  

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.  
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.  

During demonstrations or periods of civil unrest/heightened security concern, the Pakistani government has in the past disabled cellular telephone and internet service, making it difficult for individuals to contact each other or the U.S. Embassy or Consulates.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information. 

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. 

Report crimes to the local police at 15 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(92)(51) 201-4000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

Police responsiveness varies widely, and crimes often go unsolved or unprosecuted.

Dual U.S-Pakistani nationals may not be recognized as U.S. citizens by local authorities.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can: 

  • Help you find appropriate medical care  
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police 
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent 
  • Provide a list of local attorneys  
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution 
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home 
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport 

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or the Consulates in Karachi or Lahore for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities.  First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. The U.S. government may not act to circumvent local authorities or advocate for particular outcomes on behalf of private individuals. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates cannot offer “safe haven.”

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings or structures, particularly sensitive places like military installations, cantonments, and nuclear sites, but the law on this subject is vague and applied inconsistently.

It is illegal to import alcohol into Pakistan without prior coordination with the government and under only under very specific circumstances. Travelers entering Pakistan with alcohol face potentially severe penalties. Additionally, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could land you immediately in jail and result in severe penalties.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Pakistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences in local prisons, heavy fines, and sometimes even the death penalty.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Pakistani law enforcement authorities will typically not notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulates if a foreign citizen is arrested or detained, unless you request they do so. Pakistan’s regulations governing the travel of foreign diplomats and the procedures for gaining access to arrested individuals have delayed consular access in the past. In some cases, a consular officer may not be able to visit due to security-related travel restrictions.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information. 

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details::

LGBTQI+ Travelers: Same-sex sexual conduct is a criminal offense in Pakistan. While the government rarely prosecutes cases, society generally shuns lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons, and violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons occur frequently.

The penalty for same-sex relations is a fine, imprisonment (sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment), or both. No laws protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and LGBTQI+ persons rarely reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. 

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details. 

Travelers with Disabilities:  The law in Pakistan prohibits discrimination against persons with  physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, and the law is unevenly  enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure. The availability of rental, repair, and replacement parts for equipment and devices is limited, especially outside major population areas. Services for persons with disabilities may also be limited outside the largest cities.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.  

Women Travelers: We often receive reports of U.S. citizens subjected to domestic violence, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and forced marriage in Pakistan. There are also cases of individuals having their own and their children’s passports confiscated by spouses, parents, or other family members and having their freedom of movement severely restricted. Local police are not consistently responsive to reports of such cases. Nonetheless, if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, you are encouraged to call the police immediately and follow up with a call to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. We can sometimes connect you with a Pakistani non-governmental organization that may be able to provide assistance.

If you are victimized overseas, you may be entitled to receive compensation for counseling and/or other services such as relocation back to the United States. For further information, visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime committed in Pakistan

 See our travel tips for Women Travelers

Health

The Government of Pakistan requires travelers age 12 and over be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Basic medical care is available in major Pakistani cities but is limited in rural areas. Facilities in cities vary in quality and range of services and may be below U.S. standards; facilities in rural areas are consistently below U.S. standards. Medical facilities require pre-payment for services, and most do not accept credit cards.

Effective emergency response to personal injury and illness is virtually non-existent in most of Pakistan. Ambulances are few, lack medical equipment, and are not necessarily staffed by medical personnel. Visitors and foreign residents should bring sufficient supplies of prescription and commonly used over-the-counter medications. Many U.S.-brand medications are not available, there is a high incidence of fake pharmaceuticals, and the quality of locally produced medications is uneven. 

A CDC Level 1 Travel Health Notice regarding extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid in Pakistan has been in place since 2018. Review the Travel Health Notice.

A CDC Level 1 Travel Health Notice regarding global increase in the number of cases of measles including in Pakistan. Review the Travel Health Notice.  

There is a risk of transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other communicable diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, in Pakistan. Travelers are urged to use the same cautionary and protective health measures they would in their own country.

For emergency services in Pakistan, dial 15.

We do not pay medical bills.  Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. 

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover possible medical evacuation. If you plan to engage in high-risk outdoor activities in Pakistan, it is essential that you engage the services of a travel risk and crisis management provider.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Government of Pakistan to ensure the medication is legal in Pakistan.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality:

Air pollution is a significant environmental problem across Pakistan. Throughout the country, air quality varies considerably by city and fluctuates greatly depending on the season and local weather patterns. We encourage you to consult with your doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you. It is typically at its worst during the winter in Pakistan. Anyone who travels to areas where pollution levels are high is at risk. People at the greatest risk from pollution exposure include:

  • Infants, children, and teens;
  • People over 65 years of age;
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema;
  • People with heart disease; and
  • People who work or are active outdoors.

Air quality data for major cities in Pakistan can be found on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

Water Quality

  • Throughout Pakistan, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water. 

  • Sanitation in most restaurants is inadequate. Diarrheal illnesses are common. Travelers to Pakistan are at risk for other infectious diseases as well. More information about these illnesses and how to protect against them can be found on the CDC webpage for Pakistan

Adventure Travel: Pakistan’s mountains and glaciers make it a tempting destination for adventure enthusiasts. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, assisting visitors lost or injured in such remote areas can be difficult. In recent years, several U.S. citizens, including expert climbers, have lost their lives while climbing in the Karakoram mountain range, where rescue missions are often difficult or impossible to execute. Costs for emergency rescues start at $15,000, and payment is required prior to commencement of a search operation.

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Pakistan.   

 

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Pakistan, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below about Pakistan is provided for general reference only, and it might vary in a particular location or circumstance.

Traffic Laws: Traffic in Pakistan moves on the left; the opposite of U.S. traffic. Roads are crowded, drivers are often aggressive and poorly trained, and many vehicles, particularly large trucks and buses, are poorly maintained. Local drivers may drive head-on in your lane of traffic if they believe it helps them get to their destination more quickly. Animals, horse carts, bicyclists, and pedestrians can pose roadside hazards in some areas. Roads, including most major highways, also suffer from poor maintenance and often have numerous potholes, sharp drop-offs, and barriers that are not sign-posted. Drivers should exercise extreme caution when traveling at night by road, since many vehicles do not have working headlights or dimmers, and many roads are not illuminated or signed. We recommend driving with experienced local drivers or guides.

Public Transportation: Avoid all trains, taxis, and other forms of public transportation or online ride hailing services. For security reasons, U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using all forms of public transportation. See the Safety and Security section above.

See our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of Pakistan’s national tourist office and Pakistan’s national highway authority.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards  for oversight of Pakistan’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Pakistan. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: January 11, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Islamabad
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5 Islamabad, Pakistan
Telephone
+(92)(51) 201-4000 or +(92)(51)201-5000
Emergency
+(92)(51) 201-4000
Fax
+(92)(51) 282-2632

Pakistan Map