Categories
Pakistan Travel

How to Apply for a Pakistan Visa-on-Arrival & What Happens When You Land?

Applying for a tourist visa-on-arrival for travel in Pakistan is an easy online process. Although it’s not truly a visa-ON-arrival as you first need to fill out a quite lengthy form and pay a fee before you fly.

I’ll walk you through the entire process and what happens when you arrive at an airport in Pakistan with your “approval to travel” document (I’ve done it twice now!).

Many people don’t even know visa-on-arrival exists for Pakistan. It was introduced by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019.

If you’re Indian and want to visit Pakistan, I’ve written an article about how you can, or more likely, can’t.

Visa-on-arrival length & extensions vs. Tourist Visa

Pakistan visa-on-arrival has a maximum stay of 30 days and cannot be extended.

If you want to stay longer in Pakistan, you must apply for a normal tourist visa which can be granted up to 3 months with up to 6 months extension. But it’s more difficult to get, and you may have to go for an interview at your local Pakistani consulate.

How to apply for a Pakistani tourist visa-on-arrival aka “tourist visa in your inbox”

Since applying for my two visas-on-arrival, they’ve changed the name to “Tourist Visa in Your Inbox,” which is confusing but a more appropriate name.

First of all, it’s not a true visa-on-arrival where you land at an airport and are issued the visa on arrival. You first have to head over to Pakistan’s Official Visa Portal (https://visa.nadra.gov.pk/) and apply to be eligible to travel to Pakistan and receive a visa-on-arrival when you land.

You can’t just turn up in Pakistan for a visa-on-arrival. Hence the name change to “Tourist Visa in Your Inbox”, I guess. Select this option when applying for your tourist visa.

You have to provide a ton of information, including family info and everywhere you’ll be going and staying in Pakistan. But most importantly you need a hotel booking or invitation letter.

If you’re travelling without a tour guide or alone, submit your hotel booking.

If you’re travelling on an organised tour, the company will provide you with an invitation letter and their Govt. approved tourism dept. ID.

Once you’d submitted your application and paid the visa fee, then within 48 hours, you’ll get three emails. Mine both came within 2 hours of applying.

Note: Some readers’ visas have taken longer than 48 – 72 hours because the immigration official wanted more documents from them. So do apply at least two weeks before your flight.

The first is a payment confirmation with the subject: “e-Visa Application Fee Submission.”

The second is an application confirmation with the subject: “Pak-Visa Successful Application Submission.”

The third is your approval to travel to Pakistan. It looks like this:

Subject: Pak-Visa TRAVEL INTIMATION.

Dear Karl,

ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization)

Thank you for intimating your intention to get Visa on Arrival under Tourist Category. We are pleased to inform that you are Authorised to Travel to Pakistan and seek Visa on Arrival through the concerned Immigration Authority Counter at the Airport.

This is your approval to travel to Pakistan. The email contains your Visa Tracking ID too.

Print this email and carry it with you to Pakistan.

The Electronic Travel Authorization is all you need to travel to Pakistan.

They’ll then issue you a visa on arrival at the airport and a copy is emailed to you for your records with the email subject: “NOTIFICATION OF VISA APPROVAL.”

How long is a Pakistani valid for?

All visas are valid for entry into Pakistan for 6 months from the date of issue. If the visa has not been used during this period, it becomes invalid.

What is the ‘Visa End Date’? (Important!)

This only applies if you applied for a normal tourist visa (individual) (not a visa in your inbox). Be aware that the “Visa End Date” on your ETA / Visa Grant Notice is the last day you can be in Pakistan.

Don’t enter 2 days before the visa end date thinking they’ll give you the full 30 or 90 days. You’ll only have 2 days left on your visa. You have to leave before the “Visa End Date.” I found this out the hard way!

Can you apply for a tourist visa in your inbox from India?

This is the error you’ll get when trying to access Pakistan’s visa portal from India.

If you’re travelling in India and want to go to Pakistan next, for some reason, the visa portal is blocking internet connections from India.

To bypass that, you’ll need to get someone overseas to access the site for you or use a VPN.

What arrival forms do foreigners have to fill out before landing in Pakistan?

There are two forms, a Disembarkation Card and a Personal Declaration of Origin and Health. Both will be given to you during the flight, so keep a pen with you.

What happens when you arrive at the airport in Pakistan with your approval form?

I’ve covered travelling from India to Pakistan in one of my YouTube videos, but I’ll go in-depth for you here.

When you arrive at immigration, they’ll be a booth labelled “Visa-on-Arrival.” Go there.

Present the above email, and they’ll take it from you and feed that paper into their printer and print your visa onto the backside! Weird, I know.

They’ll stamp both your passport and your visa paper.

This is what the actual visa in your inbox “visa grant notice” they issue you looks like. They’ll email you a copy too.

I take a photo of that paper right away. But don’t worry if you lose it; you’ll be emailed a “Subject: NOTIFICATION OF VISA APPROVAL” with the information.

It usually takes 10-15 minutes at the visa-on-arrival booth. It seems they do some real-time analysis there on the spot before issuing you your visa. It’s not instant.

In this video, I cross on foot from India to Pakistan! I have no idea if visa-on-arrival is available there actually, I know it’s available at airports. Comment if you know!

You may have to have a Rapid Antigen Test on arrival

As of 5/01/2022, you may have to do a rapid antigen test upon arrival. I did it, and it was a very quick process. If you test positive, you’ll have to quarantine in a hotel.

That’s it. Get your bags and welcome to Pakistan. Enjoy your trip!

By Karl Rock

Karl Rock, is a Hindi speaking Kiwi ex-pat who take viewers behind the scenes of incredible India and its neighbours. He has visited every state and union territory in India, and its culturally similar neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh, and aims to make others fall in love with India and the subcontinent.

89 replies on “How to Apply for a Pakistan Visa-on-Arrival & What Happens When You Land?”

Hi Karl

I am Indian living in NZ. Recently got my NZ citizenship. 🙂
I have friends living in Karachi. I am planning to visit them next year during my India visit. Since I know you are in Auckland these days. Would love to meet you and get some useful tips before I travel to Pakistan on NZ passport. Also Me and my son love to watch your travel videos and big fan of yours.

Please advise

Thanks

Hey Aman. Pakistan has recently made it easier for OCIs from US/Canada to travel to Pakistan. I dunno about NZ, but hopefully it’s the same for you too. Good luck Bro

Hey karl, I received this email right after when i applied on arrival visa online. Can i travel to Pakistan on this email? I have flight on 29th of may.

Dear Maria Noor,

Subject: Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)
This email refers to your online visa application ID # X, which was lodged through Pakistan Online Visa System on 2022-XX-XX. It is to inform you that you are authorized to travel to Pakistan. You need to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) while travelling to Pakistan, which you can download from Pak-Visa Application.

Hi Maria! Yes, that’s all you need. Print it out. They’ll complete the visa when you arrive at the airport. Enjoy your trip. (Ps. I’ve removed the personal info from your comment).

Hello Maria
Did it Work for you?
I have received the same Mail as you.
I have booked hotel and still waiting to Get E visa.

Hello sir. I apply for visa inyour inbox. But in aeroport they not allowed. They want visa grant notice that paper. What should todo

Hello Ji. That’s strange. They should print the Visa Grant Notice on the backside of your ETA at the airport. That’s what they’ve done for me multiple times. Ask to speak to someone senior and ask why they are not accepting your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization).

Salamolaikom shafiqullah
Ma ticket ahestai ho sirf agha email rata ragalai kam ki ye lekalii se Pakistan ta travel kawalaisam. Ta prehwadai pa aghai email?
Qatar Airways na me ticket ahestai.
Sa moshkil ho ba na ye ?
Ta sanga chal oka bia?
Manana.

Hey,
I applied for the same visa type, visa on arrival. Is it ok if my flight date and reservations are different than that in the original application form???. Because i postponed my arrival for one week, please reply back

Another question Karl,
When you got that “ Pak-Visa TRAVEL INTIMATION” in your mail was your Passport number in small letters too ? In my application form i wrote it down in capitals. Will this affect on boarding the flight in the airport ?

Hey Annie, it doesn’t matter. Passport numbers are not case-sensitive. If there are any small issues like typos when you arrive, they’ll get fixed by an immigration official at the airport.

Hi Annie, so you traveled with just that travel intimation email? For some reason I am nervous to book my ticket as my online status still says in process, yet I got that email 2 days ago.

Hi Susan,
Any update on your online status? I also received the travel intimation email (literally a few minutes after submitting and paying!). Also feel nervous to travel on that email alone!

Hi Dr Abid, I contacted the consulate in Islamabad and they told me the letter was fine. You will get visa on arrival. You must print the email and give the copy to immigration as it says. He said the online app status will change once the visa is issued at the airport. So all is good with that letter alone. Susan.

Hello! So the only email we need to print and bring to Pakistan is our ETA? I got it within seconds after applying for my visa so I am kind of scared.

Hey Karl,I am from India my friend lives in Karachi Pakistan .I am planning to visit Karachi in December 2021.. is that any problem to meet him can I go to pakistan easily ? Please reply

Hey Carl, my apologies says in process for the past 5 days, does that mean I am approved or what do I need to do. I did reach out to them, and have not heard anything back. I’ve already booked my ticket.

Hey Ali. I don’t think there’s anything you can do but wait if you’ve already contacted them. I applied for another country’s visa recently and their website said 24-hour turnaround, but it took them 3 weeks.

I’m trying to spend 2 months in Pakistan visiting some Family with my mom and my sister, is there anything I should know about when applying for a family visa? Will I have to pay the fee again if I get rejected? and do I have to include my relatives addresses on the application? I’m new to the whole visa process since the last time I went to Pakistan was when I was a child.

Hi Danyal. Don’t worry, it should be an easy process for you if you have family there. They don’t give refunds, so just make sure you choose the right visa type for your trip. Enjoy.

Hi Karl, I recently applied for a Pakistan visa – Visa in Your Inbox and within 2 hours I got an email saying I could travel to Pakistan. I see you wrote about this. Is this all I will receive, no official PDF or anything? Is this email all I need to travel, really? It seems really flimsy, haha. In my online application it still states “in process” – do you think it’s ok for me to go ahead and purchase my flight tickets? Thanks so much for your valuable advice. Susan.

Hi Susan. As long as that email says you are authorised to travel to Pakistan, then you’re ready to go. Just print that page and carry it with you. They’ll issue you the actual visa when you arrive in Pakistan, and email it to you.

Hi Karl, thank you for your very helpful post. My travel group applied for the Visa in your Inbox and everyone got it approved within minutes. However, we simply used a hotel booking and not a proper Letter of Invitation. I am a little worried we will be turned back at the airport if we cannot show a letter of invitation — is this fear justified? Did you use a letter of invitation? Thank you for your help!

Hi Karl,

I applied for a regular tourist visa, and they keep sending back my visa with more information needed. I did upload a hotel booking, and they came back saying they wanted to do a telephone interview, but I have not heard anything back from them. Have you heard anything about this?

I am also wondering if you know if its okay to apply for tourist in inbox if the regular tourist visa is taking too much time (7-10 processing days). Will they still consider the regular tourist in inbox visa if my regular tourist visa is taking too much time?

Trying to travel on 23 february to pakistan

Hey Sayeeda, sometimes you have to do an interview for a normal tourist visa. Just read the tourist visa in your inbox website and see if you’re elligable to apply, it’s worth a try if you can, it’s faster.

I just tried, it says I cannot apply for visa in inbox because I already have an application pending from regular tourist visa 🙁

Do you know what they would ask in telephone interview? I am just a little worried because I am traveling from USA and they asked for an accessible phone number, I gave my USA phone number, dont know if they willl call that, and it has been a few days since i heard from them.

Hi Karl,

I applied for the normal e-visa visa 2 weeks ago and it hasn’t come yet and i’m flying next week.Thats why Im scared it wont arrive and I will apply for the visa in inbox as my backup if it does not come. what documents do you have to send and how many days did you get you letter of intimation. How many days before the flight should I apply because I want to make sure I get it before I fly.

Regards

Thanks Asad,
So they do all the necessary checks of your documents in Pakistan then?

Is it normally an easy process?

Thanks for the help.

Hello Faisal so I boarded my flight just now from uk and they just checked that eta print that email and my passport that’s all you need they will issue you a visa on arrival at Islamabad airport

Faisal,

how did you apply for a visa in inbox if you still have the normal e-visa in process? I tried to do that because I applied for regular tourist visa a few weeks back, and still have not heard back, and I wanted to apply for the visa in inbox, but it is saying i cannot apply because I already have an application in process. I am trying to fly on 23 Feb to pak

Hi Sayeeda

You would have to cancel the regular tourist application to apply for the visa in inbox, I got my regular tourist visa yesterday so literally last minute it came luckily, so I would wait until the final week and really push and email to check where your application is, if it doesn’t come in the last few days, I would cancel the regular tourist visa and apply for the visa in inbox.

Hope that helps.

Hi Faisal,

Thanks for replying. I have been pushing, on the Nadra website I keep sending messages asking what else they need, and asking about the status. It is still saying in process. The last message they sent me was that they wanted to do a phone interview, and I gave my USA number, and they still have not acknowledged that they will call me or anything.

I will wait until a few more days, and then do visa in inbox if I dont hear back anything. How do you cancel the regular tourist visa? I dont see the option to cancel that to apply for the visa in inbox.

Thanks for replying.

They don’t check anything. You hand over the letter, they eventually print out your real visa and you hand it to the immigration officer. He kept mine and then I got the visa in my inbox afterwards which I printed at my hotel. It was all easy as. Don’t worry.

Hello Karl I am traveling to Pakistan in mid March when do you suggest to file for the visa, I dont want to file too early and by the time I am traveling it is expired.what do you recommend.

Hi Asad,

Did you ever end up getting your regular tourist visa? Or did you just show visa in inbox? I applied for regular tourist visa a few weeks ago, and they keep sending it back with more information needed.

Is it ok to apply for visa in inbox if you already have an application pending for regular tourist visa?

Salam I had this same problem too. You have to cancel your first application first. Keep on emailing them to cancel. I got mine canceled within a couple of days and right after I applied for visa in your inbox and I received my ETA within seconds. Just email then to cancel then you are all set! Good luck!

Salam! When you went to the Airport do you just need to show them your ETA? I only received my ETA and I haven’t received my Visa Grant Notice yet, thank you so much.

Hello
Was it enough with that Mail where its written that you Are authorized to travel to Pakistan

Hello Karl! I applied for Visa in your Inbox and as soon as I payed for the application I received my ETA. Its been 48-72 hours, do I need to wait for my Visa Grant Notice or will I receive that email when I arrive in Pakistan. After I received my ETA am I all set? Thank you so much, I love your channel. Im actually flying to Pakistan to marry the love of my life! Watching your videos makes me happy and I am praying for you to reunite with your lovely Wife in India very soon. Thank you, take care!

Hi, my friend and I are planning a small trip to Lahore, I’m a Pakistani National (so no issues for me) but my friend is from Brazil but he lives in Dubai on employment visa. We are planning to live with our friend in Lahore. Just wanna know if he applies for visa in your inbox option, what kind of invitation letter would he need from the friend? does that invitation letter need to be approved or attested from somewhere? or does he need a hotel booking?

Thanks !

Hi Taimor. I don’t know exactly. But I’d upload a letter from your friend saying “My friend NAME AND PASSPORT NUMBER is coming to stay with me between DATES and is staying at my home at ADDRESS. His relationship with me XXXXXX. I’ve known him for X years. We plan to travel to LIST OF PLACES.” Something like that. Then he should sign and give his Full Name, address, phone number, passport number or National ID. Try that. Hotel booking also works easily too. Good luck.

Hello Karl. I would like to ask your opinion. As I should have flight from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Lahore, Pakistan however Qatar Airlines did not accept my ETA as they are saying it is not a valid visa. Do you have any idea about this?

Yes it is. They are asking me a Visa in PDF before I can fly and have totally ignored my ETA. They asked me to contact embassy but I don’t know how as I applied online only, tried to call but no one is answering. And it is clearly mentioned in the Email I can travel with ETA. So I don’t know how this works.

Has anyone had any issues with Saudia airlines and the ETA/Visa in your inbox? They don’t seem to ask for any Visa in the website, I’m worried about issues at the airport though if they aren’t familiar with this type of travel authorization. Anyone have words of reassurance for me?

Hi Carl. Someone recently complained about Qatar not understanding their Visa-in-your-inbox. Call the airline and make sure they’ll accept Pakistan Electronic Travel Authorisation. Good luck.

I tried to cross the Wagah land border with the ETA (just the email) I got after applying for a visa in your inbox and after a 3hrs long wait they refused to let me cross, saying that the ETA mentions only entry through airports, even though my application specified I wanted to use the land border and was accepted… They also blamed the fact that my application was still under process in the website, which I’m here learning is normal and will only change once I get the proper visa.
I tried calling and emailing them to clarify but not answer so far…

Hello. Have you tried contacting Pakistan Visa Issuing Authority thru this site, https://visa.nadra.gov.pk/contact/ ? Same thing happened on me with Qatar Airlines. Contacted Pakistan Visa Issuing Authority thru the site and got a reply from them with the PDF Form Visa attached on it. However, there is no turnaround time for the reply. Got mine after 5hrs. I just raised a complaint in the message box that Qatar Airways does not allow me to travel with ETA only.

I was able to download my pdf from the pak-visa site. Hope that helps in the future. I was out of color ink so I went by a shop and they printed it out really nice for me on 28lb paper. It *feels* official now 😂

Hi Hanu, Any update? Are you able to cross the border to Pakistan with the Visa in you Inbox? Thanks.

Hey Karl,

Great article.

I was wondering how much space the passport stamp takes up with eta on arrival!?

I am also flying Qatar from uk via Doha on a UK passport, I spoke to them on the phone, but I am concerned about them not being aware of the new process, does anyone have more info?

Thanks

Hey Karl thanks for the article! Did you find out if it’s possible to use an ETA (Visa on Arrival) at the Wagah Land Border crossing?

Update: Qatar Airways were fine, but you need to print the pdf of your visa and fill in the pass track app, I would recommend printing these (as you will need to show them often, including if you are stopped at security checkpoints.)

On arrival the visa processing was slow and I’m not sure if all the staff were aware of the visa type.

Yes. Qatar Airways only accepts Visa in PDF Form, which I don’t know when I had my flight. They do not accept ETA which is contrary to what Visa in Your Inbox’s procedure. They will totally ignore the ETA and insist on providing them PDF form visa before departure. So once you receive your ETA, email Pakistan Visa Issuing Authority or lodge a request on Pakistan Online System thru Contact Us and ask for the PDF Form Visa. After some time, they will email you the same and it will be attached on the application you have made online as well.

It was a bit frustrating though that Qatar Airways didn’t understand the process of Visa-In-Your-Inbox.

I just downloaded it as a pdf from the pending application on the portal which was fine. Which airport did you check in at!?

Did you mean ETA in PDF Form? On the portal, it shows IN PROCESS status, and could not find any Visa in PDF Form. They insisted that my visa is in process as I showed them the portal and told me that I need to wait for it to be approved to have my visa in PDF Form.

Abu Dhabi, UAE airport.

Hi Karl, me and my nine months old daughter had that email printed but virgin atlantic denied us boarding our flight from london they want the actual ETA. This caused us lots if stress and money as i had hotel and everthing booked and my who is not well were planned to joun us. I dont know what to do, when i log on to portal my application shows recieving and there is no ETA to download, any help i send lots of messages they someone will get to you

Hey Jawid, the ETA is just the email you receive with the subject “Pak-Visa TRAVEL INTIMATION.” In that email, it says, “We are pleased to inform that you are Authorised to Travel to Pakistan and seek Visa on Arrival through the concerned Immigration Authority Counter at the Airport.” I’ve always only carried that email. You can’t download the “Visa Grant Notice” from Nadra until you’ve gone through Immigration after you arrive in Pakistan and they’ve issued it to you. Sorry to hear about your problems, others have had the exact same problems. The other option is getting a normal tourist visa from your nearest Pakistan embassy and not using the visa-in-your-inbox option.

Hey Karl, thanks for providing this useful information. I just applied of my “visa in your inbox” and within seconds after payment already received my ETA. However, it states that the ETA is valid for 90 days after issuance, not 180 days as mentioned above. I will enter within 90 days, but I will not leave Pakistan within the 90 days period. Does anybody have experience if this will still work?

Make sure the airline accept that ETA email, virgin atantic denied me and my nine months old daughter boarding our flight in the middle of the night that caused us lots of stress and money, and my visa application still shows recieving for more than a month. I have send tens of emails asking for help and nothing has happened.

Me and my girlfriend both applied for a visa in your inbox, paid the fees, but after 3 days the status is still “receiving”, not even in process yet. We received 2 emails, but not the 3rd one with the approval. Ever heard that before? Our flight is tomorrow, so we are kinda scared…

On the 4th working day we got a request for uploading extra documents:

Kindly provide/upload following documents: 1. A written signed statement by you stating details and purpose of your visit to Pakistan along with details of areas to be visited. 2. If you know any Pakistani citizen, an invitation letter, his/her contact details along with copy of his/her Pakistani ID may also be provided.

We replied within minutes with the document on question 1 and said we don’t know any Pakistani for question 2.

And we got a reply on our email aswell:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Standard Visa Processing time for Tourist Visa is­ 7 to 10 Working Days after your last submission date. you will be notified as soon as it is processed.

Our last submission date changed with the extra documents ofcourse. So weird that they say on the website you can apply for the visa 48-72 working hours before your trip and now they talk about 7-10 working days which renew with every new upload request 🙁

Official website info not matching with reality sounds about right, unfortunately. It seems like they neglect to update their website. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll add it to this post.

We received the email on the 12th working day! To all: make sure you also directly send in a photo of a hand written statement of the trip you will do, including signature. That will save time!

It’s updated again, a little different than your posted layout:

Subject: NOTIFICATION OF VISA APPROVAL

————

Message: This letter refers to your online visa application with visa application id XXXXXXXXXXX, which was lodged through Pakistan Online Visa System on 2022-07-27

A decision has been made on this application and visa has been granted on 2022-08-12 to the applicant stated in the Notice.

You need to have Visa Grant Notice while travelling to Pakistan, which you can download from Pak-Visa Application.

————

So, it’s not just a print anymore of an approval email, but you can actually log-in to PakVisa and download your visa as PDF. Print it and take it with you to Pakistan.

Cheers! Nick

Hi Karl, big love

My fiance applied for pakistani visa on arrival. He is turkish. He received the ETA but oddly his full name is written as surname name instead of name surname. Is this something you faced as well? (american/British format perhaps?)

Also are there any additional docs you need at the airport for the visa?

Thanks a bunch!

Hi Ashna. Yes, on mine it’s also like that. Surname then first name & middle name. Nope, no other docs are needed besides a passport. But I’d carry whatever documents you submitted for the visa (like hotel booking) – although they’ve never asked me for any additional documents.

We applied for 2 tourist visa’s mid august. Had to send in signed itinerary afterwards, which reset the clock (after 7 working days). 1 of the applications is now ‘in-process’, the other one I got the same message to resend the signed travel plan. Now we are waiting for a reply. Already contacted them, but we got the answer we just had to wait our e-mail.

What to do if the travel date comes too close? Does it help to push the process if we call them, or will that just lower it?
Cancel and opt for visa in inbox? Is cancelling a current application easy? I don’t see the option (as mentioned above) to cancel. We are travelling in 2 weeks, which makes it rather stressful.

We had this situation aswell. No visa but our flight was going… so we did fly to Pakistan, couldn’t enter so stayed in Transit and booked a retour flight Pakistan-Oman and waited there for the visa in our inbox 😅

Leave a Reply