Living in Pakistan

Information for British citizens moving to or living in Pakistan, including guidance on residency, healthcare and property.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Pakistani authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

This guide includes links to information provided by the Pakistani authorities, but not all relevant information is available online. You may be able to get more specific information by checking with contacts in Pakistan.

Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide sets out how British nationals can stay safe abroad and how the FCDO can help if you do get into difficulty.

If you are a dual British national living or travelling in the country of your other nationality, we would not normally support you or get involved in dealings between you and that country’s authorities.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date: follow UK in Pakistan on Facebook and Twitter.

Read about how our High Commission in Islamabad and Deputy High Commission in Karachi can help.

Before you go

See our travel advice for Pakistan and sign up to email alerts for up-to-date information on entry requirements, local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See our Overseas Business Risk guide for Pakistan for information on issues UK businesses may face when operating in Pakistan.

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Pakistan in our travel advice.

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.

If you’re travelling to Pakistan on a British passport and do not have a NICOP, you will need to get a visa before you travel. See how to apply for a visa to enter Pakistan.  If you have a valid visa, you can apply for a visa extension when you are in Pakistan.

See the website of the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports for further information on visa categories and visa extensions.

Dual Nationality

The UK and Pakistan recognise dual nationality.

The National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) and Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (SNICOP) are issued to citizens of Pakistan who are not resident in Pakistan. If you hold a NICOP or SNICOP, you will be recognised as a citizen of Pakistan. You can use the card as proof of identity and of Pakistani citizenship.

As a dual national, you have the same rights and responsibilities as any citizen of Pakistan. NICOP holders can enter Pakistan on a foreign passport without a visa, open bank accounts and buy and sell property in Pakistan. 

If you are a dual British national living or travelling in the country of your other nationality, we would not normally support you or get involved in dealings between you and that country’s authorities. Therefore, if you are a dual British-Pakistani national, we would not normally be able to intervene in dealing between you and the Pakistani authorities. This is a global policy and is not specific to Pakistan. Read more about who the FCDO can support abroad, including information for dual nationals.

Passports and travel

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Pakistan. You can also use this tool to check processing times. It is your responsibility to keep your documents up to date and you should allow enough time for processing.

The British High Commission has no involvement in passport applications.

Check the Pakistan travel advice for passport validity requirements.

Healthcare in Pakistan

Pakistan and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements.

You must ensure you have comprehensive private healthcare cover for Pakistan. Pakistan has extremely limited free medical care and, whilst costs are generally lower than private treatment in the UK, they can rise steeply. Immediate cash payment could be required for any medical service. You should contact your insurance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment

Medical facilities are good in major cities but limited in rural areas. See our list of medical facilities in Pakistan.

UK Travel insurance providers will not generally cover your healthcare costs if you live overseas.


If you are on a prescription for any medication you should ensure you have adequate supplies or are able to obtain it when in Pakistan. Certain medicines may not be available (including major brands readily available in the UK) and you may be prohibited from bringing them into Pakistan. You should consult your GP before travelling to Pakistan to find out about any alternative medication.

Shortages of medicines occur frequently. Restrictions on imported goods periodically occur and may include medical supplies. You should plan for this and keep an adequate supply of any medicine you need.

Read the guidance if you need to travel with medicines

If you have run out of medication you should seek advice from a local pharmacy.  Some pharmacies, particularly in cities and hospitals, are open 24/7. If your usual medication is not available or you need a prescription, visit a local doctor or speak to your UK doctor for advice on alternative medication that may be available in Pakistan.

Working in Pakistan

NICOP holders have the same working rights as any other citizen of Pakistan.

If you do not have Pakistani citizenship, you must have an appropriate visa to work. You must meet all visa requirements before you travel. See how to get a visa.

Most British qualifications will be recognised in Pakistan.

Studying in Pakistan

NICOP holders have the same access to education as any other citizen of Pakistan.

Most expatriates who choose to educate their children in Pakistan send them to private schools. There are a range of International, American and British schools in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Government run schools are available, either free of charge or for a nominal fee.

If you plan to study in Pakistan and do not have Pakistani citizenship, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel. See how to get a visa.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Pakistan to check what fees you may have to pay.


The UK has a double taxation agreement with Pakistan so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Pakistan. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Pakistan.

Read guidance on:


Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

There are no local state benefits available to British nationals in Pakistan.


Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in Pakistan, you can claim your UK State Pension or new UK State Pension. Contact the International Pension Centre for further information.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Money and banking

If you hold a NICOP, you can show this as evidence of Pakistani citizenship when opening a bank account.

There are accounts specifically for citizens living outside Pakistan, More information is available from the State Bank of Pakistan. You may need to visit the bank in person if your account has not been used recently. If you hold one of these accounts and move to Pakistan, you should inform the bank.

Residents can open an account at most banks in Pakistan, but there may be more restrictions if you are not a Pakistani citizen.

You will need valid ID to open an account. You should check other requirements with the bank. These requirements may depend on the type of account and your source of income. You should check fees before opening an account.

Cards from UK banks can be used to make payments and withdraw cash from ATMs. Card payments are generally less widely accepted than in the UK.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

You should seek independent legal advice before entering into any agreement over the ownership or use of property or other assets.

You will need to pay annual property tax on property that you own. You should seek legal advice on property tax.

You may need to attend court in person to buy or sell property, or resolve issues around inheritance. You should consider your safety and security before travelling to Pakistan to deal with property.

If you are involved in a dispute related to property in Punjab, you can contact the Overseas Pakistani Cell of the Lahore High Court. They deal with legal cases involving Pakistani citizens living outside Pakistan.

NICOP holders have the same property ownership rights as any other citizen of Pakistan. If you are not a Pakistani citizen, there may be more restrictions on buying or owning property.

Disputes over property ownership are common in Pakistan and have been known to become violent.

The British High Commission cannot intervene in property disputes. If you are involved in a property dispute you should seek legal advice. Consular staff are not legally trained and cannot give legal advice. You may need to engage a lawyer to act on your behalf or take action through the courts. See our list of English-speaking lawyers in Pakistan.

If you are concerned about your safety, you should contact the police. You may also wish to use the services of a private security company.

Driving in Pakistan

Read the guidance on driving abroad.

If you’re asked for a letter authenticating, certifying or validating your UK driving licence, you should contact your UK issuing office (eg the DVLA).

Road conditions and driving standards in Pakistan can be challenging. Read guidance for travelling by road in Pakistan.

If you wish to take your vehicle with you, see guidance on taking vehicles out of the UK. You should also see guidance from the Federal Board of Revenue on taking vehicles into Pakistan,

UK and international driving licences are valid for driving in Pakistan for 6 months after you arrive in the country. After that period, you will need a Pakistani driving licence. To check the requirements and arrange for a driving test, you will need to contact the traffic police office in the province where you are resident.

Third party liability insurance is compulsory in Pakistan, but many drivers are uninsured. You should make sure that you have adequate insurance for your needs.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Pakistan, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority.


You can only vote in Pakistani elections if you are a citizen of Pakistan and are resident in Pakistan. This includes NICOP holders resident in Pakistan who have registered to vote.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnership


If your child is born in Pakistan you should register the birth with the local authorities. You can then register with the UK authorities and apply for a UK birth registration certificate.

If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.   


If a British national dies in Pakistan read our guidance on:

Marriage and civil partnership

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad. The British High Commission has no role in marriages in Pakistan.


If you are planning to take your pet to Pakistan, see information on taking your pet abroad.

You will need to apply to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock in Pakistan for an import permit. There are no strict quarantine regulations but you should contact a clearing agent for help and advice.


If you are concerned about your safety in Pakistan you should contact the police by dialling 15. Fire or ambulance services are available by calling 1122. Services may vary and will be more limited outside major cities.

The British High Commission cannot offer guarantees for the personal safety or security of British nationals, this is the responsibility of the Pakistani authorities in the same way that British authorities are responsible for the security of all people in the UK. If you have concerns about your safety or security you may wish to engage the services of a private security company.

If you’re the victim of a crime you should report this to the local police. If you have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, you can contact the British High Commission Islamabad or the British Deputy High Commission Karachi.

If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault in Pakistan, read guidance for victims of rape and sexual assault in Pakistan.  See also general guidance for victims of rape and sexual assault abroad.

Read the guidance on international parental child abduction if your child may be at risk of this.

Returning to the UK

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on bringing family members, tax and access to services.

You should ensure that you and your family have the correct documents to return to the UK.

If any members of your family have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, you should check that it has not lapsed and that they can prove their status. See Home Office guidance on ILR.

Published 5 December 2013
Last updated 11 December 2023 + show all updates
  1. More detailed information on issues affecting dual nationals has been added.

  2. New sections were added in the draft.

  3. Added a new heading on Covid19 guidance

  4. Addition of information

  5. Updated 21 Jan 2014

  6. First published.