Living in Pakistan
Advice for British people living in Pakistan, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.
This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Pakistan, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what our consular staff can and cannot do for British nationals. This information supplements the travel advice for Pakistan.
You should ensure that you have adequate medical insurance as Pakistan has extremely limited free medical care and, whilst costs are generally lower than private treatment in the UK, they can rise steeply. Medical facilities are good in major cities, but limited in rural areas. There are some endemic diseases in Pakistan, including malaria and dengue in low lying areas. If you need emergency medical assistance, dial 15 and ask for an ambulance. Immediate cash payment could be required for any medical service. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
There are government run schools are available either free of charge (in Punjab) or for a nominal fee. However, most expatriates who choose to educate their children in Pakistan (and many don’t due to the security situation), send them to private schools. There are a range of International, American and British schools in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.
Employment and recognised qualifications
Most British qualifications will be recognised in Pakistan and British nationals may work in Pakistan if they have an appropriate visa and work permit.
Entry and residence requirements
British nationals intending to reside in Pakistan must be in possession of the necessary visa or a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in Pakistan. Further information, including contact details, can be found at Directorate General of Immigration & Passports and National Database and Registration Authority.
There are no state benefits available to British nationals in Pakistan. British nationals may find more information here.
Driving licences and vehicles
Pakistan drives on the left. UK or international driving licences are valid for driving in Pakistan for six months following arrival in the country. After that period you will need to be in possession of a Pakistan driving licence. To arrange for a driving test, you will need to contact the traffic police office in your province of residence. Road conditions and driving standards in Pakistan can be challenging. Vehicles are often in a poor condition and can be found driving on the wrong side of the road, reversing and making u-turns unexpectedly. Care and patience is required to navigate safely. At the scene of an accident crowds can gather quickly and tempers can fray, potentially leading to violent confrontation. If involved in an accident call the police immediately and remain calm. Vehicle insurance is not mandatory under Pakistan law; a fact that should be borne in mind should you be involved in an accident.
Residents can open an account at most banks in Pakistan. Valid ID is necessary. The bank may have additional requirements depending on your residence status, type of account, business/income source etc
Property and Property Disputes
You should take legal advice before entering into any agreement over the ownership or use of property or other assets.
Disputes over property ownership are common in Pakistan. However, these are civil matters and the British High Commission cannot intervene in these matters. Consular Staff are not legally trained and cannot, therefore, offer legal advice. If you are unable to reach an amicable solution to the situation, you may wish to consider taking legal advice and engaging a lawyer to act on your behalf. It may be necessary to take legal action through the courts in order to achieve a lasting resolution to the disagreement.
British nationals will be prevented from departing Pakistan if not in possession of a valid visa/entry stamp or a valid National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in Pakistan. Further information, including contact details, can be found at Directorate General of Immigration & Passports and National Database and Registration Authority.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published: 5 December 2013
Updated: 2 May 2014
- Addition of information
- Updated 21 Jan 2014
- First published.
Related guides: Notarial and documentary services guide for Pakistan