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To work in Pakistan, the issuance of a work visa is solely at the discretion of the Government. Citizens of foreign countries, who wish to work and live in Pakistan, can apply for a work visa. Foreigners, who have a valid job offer and meet the requirements, are eligible to apply for this work visa. Without a valid work visa, it is unlawful for foreign citizens to work in Pakistan. Violations of this regulation might result in fines or even detention.

The Government of Pakistan does not grant work visas to the citizens of Israel. The conversion of a business visa into a work visa and vice versa has been discontinued. As immigration rules in each country change quickly, we recommend that for specific, up-to-date and accurate legal advice, people interested in a work visa for Pakistan should contact one of our Immigration Lawyers in Pakistan for further information.

To obtain a work visa, it is imperative that the applicant can show a valid job proof, such as a job invitation or job offer letter from a company which is legally operating in Pakistan. All work visas are granted for one year and are valid for multiple entries into Pakistan. Pakistani authorities can grant the extension of a work visa if you already have a valid work visa and are residing in Pakistan. The Ministry of Interior has the authority to grant a longer extension, in some cases.

Naturally, foreigners can travel to Pakistan on different visas such as job visa, driver visa, journalist visa etc. Each category of work visa has its own specific requirements. The work visa will be effective from the date of its issuance. There are numerous requirements to obtain a work visa or permit in Pakistan. Some of the mandatory documents include:

  • SECP registration letter of company
  • Photograph
  • Recommendation letter by the Board of Investment (In case of Extension Mandatory)
  • Passport
  • Contact Details of the Sponsor
  • Undertaking on company letterhead/In case of CPEC/Government approved project, letter from concerned department /ministry
  • CV of the applicant
  • Covering letter on company’s letterhead
  • Company profile
  • Employment agreement
  • FBR NTN certificate of the company

The process of applying for work visa is simple. After submission of the work visa application, the Board of Investment will rigorously assess the application. If your work visa application fulfills all the requirements, then the visa committee and chairman of the Board of Investment ought to approve the work visa and give their recommendation to the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Interior has the final authorisation and will use the Ministry of Interior’s advice to conclude the work visa application. If the Ministry of Interior gives approval, then the confirmation will go to the Regional Passport Offices for completion and the issuance of the work visa.

Sometimes the work visa application is sent back to the applicant for a review. The work visa application can be cancelled if the applicant does not resubmit the work application within seven days. It is a mandatory requirement and this period will not be extended for resending the review application.

The work visa application process is simple.  After fulfilling all the legal requirements, you can obtain a work visa within:

  • 48 Hours (Working Days – First Time Entry)
  • 37 days (Working days – First Time entry – For Afghanistan Passport Holders)
  • 4 Weeks (Working Days – Visa Extension)

It is pertinent that only citizens of China can apply for CPEC work visa, and it is a strict requirement. Journalists can apply for a work visa and this will only be granted for limited areas of Pakistan, such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. For a journalist’s work visa, it is mandatory to get a recommendation from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting/Press Attaché/Pak Mission Abroad.

Drivers and transporters of ECO countries can only apply for work visas subject to certain requirements. However, to apply for a work visa for all categories, you must have a valid job offer or invitation from a company lawfully operating in Pakistan.

You can get a single-entry work visa that will be valid for three months. However, if you fulfill the certain requirements, an extension can be granted for two years.

To do so, you must provide the correct and valid information. The Government of Pakistan says that it does not entertain incomplete work visa applications. The Government of Pakistan says that it will not accept incomplete application forms with insufficient entries.  Keep in mind that applicants may also need to go to an interview.

The Government of Pakistan usually encourages and supports foreign citizens to work and stay in Pakistan. In certain circumstances, the Government also provides security to foreign citizens working in Pakistan. Nowadays, Pakistan is a very safe and peaceful country. Recently, the numbers of foreign citizens are moving to Pakistan on work visas has increased.

Please contact one of our Immigration Lawyers in Pakistan for further information and to seek clarification on the law at the time of your enquiry, as immigration rules change quickly.