Pakistan Letter of Invitation – $80

Pakistan is hands down one of my favourite countries to go backpacking in the world, unfortunately this is a country with fairly strict visa rules and without a Letter Of Invitation (LOI) to visit Pakistan it is almost impossible to apply for a visa, read this post carefully!

Although it remains the decision of the individual embassy at which you apply; some are more liberal than others, it is almost certain you will be required to submit a Letter Of Invitation as part of your visa application to visit Pakistan as a tourist, so be prepared.

Update, 17th April 2018: Read the full god-damn page before posting questions in the group that are answered here. 

Update, 2nd April 2018: Karakoram Bikers were our recommended LOI provider but as of now they are unable to provide LOIs for independent travelers who do not book some tour services through them. 

Independent travelers from certain countries will find it harder to source an LOI on account of recent events within Pakistan regarding a foreign tourist who went well and truly off the beaten track and got in trouble with the police for not being on an organised tour.

A letter of invitation to Pakistan can only officially be issued by a registered tour company within Pakistan.

There are a couple of companies who will issue the Pakistani letter of invitation to solo travellers for a stand-alone fee, but most tour companies will only issue a Pakistan LOI if you book a complete package tour through them.

These few companies issuing letters to solo travellers are in some cases charging a fee as high as one hundred euros per person and for some nationalities, such as Americans, it is pretty much impossible to get an LOI without booking a tour.

Conditions from LOI issuers, recently updated after chatting to several sources…

  • AMERICANS need to book a tour
  • Please note, LOIs will only be issued for the purposes of tourism in Pakistan. If you are visiting Pakistan to visit a boyfriend, to work on a charity project or to do anything other than tourism then no tour company will be able help you.
  • No business or private visa support possible. The Pakistan letter of invitation is provided for tourist visas only.
  • LOI for citizens of Middle East and Bangladeshis is provided only when they purchase a tour or book hotels for the whole period of their travel in Pakistan.
  • Be aware that if you venture off the itinerary you specified for your visa application, you may be scrutinised by the police.
  • LOI for citizens of USA, Middle East, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Central Asia States, Gulf States, Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria and Bangladesh is provided only when they purchase a tour.
  • No LOI possible for Afghanistan and Indian citizens. This includes people who used to have an Afghan or Indian passport but have changed citizenship since.

If you need a letter of invitation to Pakistan, you have three remaining options that I know of…

  1. Book a full tour with Find My Adventure Pakistan (get 10% off with code TBBT10).
  2. Book a full or partial tour with Lizzy and Shah at Karakoram Bikers
  3. You could try Caravanistan’s recommended LOI supplier and buy the LOI for a fee

Please note: Visa conditions are CONSTANTLY changing in Pakistan. Officially, you can only be issued an LOI by a tour company if you book a tour with them. If you go with Shah and Lizzy from Karakoram Bikers, they may be able to provide you with the LOI in exchange for a partial tour or motorcycle rental but they are no longer able to issue LOIs for purely independent travelers. 

You can pay for your LOI using Transferwise.

Tours to Pakistan

In 2017 we ran our first adventure tours to Pakistan. This was an awesome success and in 2019 we will be running at least four more adventures to this amazing country.

Exciting news! We have launched our new tour company and website which you can check out at epicbackpackertours.com. Please visit the new website or email pakistan@thebrokebackpacker.com to find out more, or simply sign up to the Broke Backpacker mailing list to be kept in the loop.

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If you want to go on an adventure tour of Pakistan and Epic Backpacker Tours are either full or our dates do not work for you, I highly recommend checking out Find My Adventure Pakistan – run by my good friend, and one of Pakistan’s youngest entrepreneurs, Komail.

Komail works alongside EBT tours on the ground and we trust and recommend FMA wholeheartedly. TBB readers get 10% off FMA services with the coupon code: TBBT10

Please leave a review of your experience getting your Pakistan letter of invitation in the comments below 🙂

 


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56 Comments

  • Avatar Ronda says:

    Where are you traveling from? They just change the rules for visas. Call the embassy.

  • Avatar Gemma Wilkens says:

    Hi. Thanks for the great information. I will be receiving an LOI from my friend and staying at their house for the entirety of my trip to Pakistan. I have booked my ticket for the first week of March and will be applying for my visa in the coming week. I am concerned that I will only have 4 weeks before my flight to receive the visa. Do you think I will receive my visa on time? Is there a way to expedite the visa process? Would applying for my visa in person make it a faster process versus mailing my application?

  • Avatar Suzanne says:

    Hi
    I am thinking abt visiting Pakistan next June.
    I would like to join a local tour to visit Fairy Meadows and do some hiking.
    After reading the posts I understand I need a visa and to get the visa I need an Loi.
    I assume the tour company will be able to send me the Loi???.
    Also, after the tour I want to visit Lahore and Multan on my own.
    Is it possible?
    Can you recommend a cheap enough tour to FM?
    Should U book the tour now or will it be ok when I reach Islamabad?
    Thx fr ur help

    • Avatar Ralph Cope says:

      Yes, you will need an LOI to visit Pakistan at the moment and, yes, a tour company can provide you with said LOI.

      Once you’re in Pakistan, you are not restricted to staying with your tour organizer though and can explore. You’ll just need to make sure that where you’re going is safe beforehand.

      Shameless promotion now: our partner company Epic Backpacker Tours offers excellent tours and at very competitive prices. They visit Fairy Meadows so I suggest you look into them 🙂

  • Avatar Emma says:

    Hello! Firstly I would love to thank you a lot for all of the information and experience you are sharing! I am planning my trip to Pakistan in the next few months. In my country an invitation letter is required only for the visit visa and from my embassy they say it would take more time to get the visa. But for a tourist one only a flight itinerary and a hotell reservation are asked. My question is do I have to actually register in the booked hotel, is anyone going to check or I can easily cancel it after getting the visa. Because I have a friend with whom I can travel around and stay, but I prefer the faster way of receiving the visa. I hope I was very confusing and you will be able to respond to me. Thank you!

    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      Hey Emma, you could provide a hotel booking without actually staying there – book on Agoda and then cancel it. However, I’ll be really surprised if you can get a visa without an LOI.

    • Avatar Ronda says:

      Yes, you need to provide hotel booking when submitting for the Visa be careful of canceling the booking. When I arrived in Pakistan the immigration officers that stamped my visa asked to see my hotel reservation I was unaware that I would have to show them luckily I had it on an email.
      I traveled there from Nov. 27, 2018 -Dec 12, 2018, and it was an amazing trip. I will be back for sure.

  • Avatar Ronda says:

    Congrats! Good luck. Just google examples of LOI. You just need to include your information, where she will be staying, the dates she will be visiting and that you are taking responsibility during her stay. Also submit with copies of proper ID as well. They called my LOI person and asked a few questions. I was approved and recieved my visa with in three weeks of submitting all the correct information.

  • Avatar Nomi Ahmed says:

    Hello Ronda I am from Islamabad Pakistan.Its great to know you are planning your trip of Pakistan..I am inviting my fiancee here and we are planning to getting married over here. I need to send her LOI and I am bit confused here that do I need any kind of attestation or I just simply need to type a LOI explaining our relationship and send to her with my ID card and Passport photocopy. I know I am here in Pakistan and asking you but as I read you are already under the same process. So you may have some better info.

    Thanks

  • Avatar Ronda Montanez says:

    Scanned copy is fine I called the consulate and asked that question.

    • Avatar Nomi Ahmed says:

      Hello Ronda I am from Pakistan and having my fiancee in US. I need to send her invitation letter to visit me here and we may get married here in Pakistan. Please do suggest me about LOI. Do I need to simply type the LOI and send her with ID and Passport photocopy or I need to get it attested from any authority first from here. I know its bit awkward as I am local guy and asking you this question but as you are already in this process so you may have some better knowledge.
      Thanks!
      Nomi Ahmed

  • Avatar ronz says:

    Hi there, for the LOI does it has to be original LOI means originally signed LOI or just a scan copy is fine? TIA

  • Avatar Dominic says:

    Hey Will – thanks so much for all of your info on travelling in Pakistan; I’m pretty much set on it being my first destination next year (largely thanks to your writing).

    I am looking to apply for an LOI and visa. Any idea whether there could be complications as a result of regular visits to India? I have about 4 entry stamps per year (on a 5 year tourist visa). I’m a British citizen.

    Thanks!

  • Avatar Rakesh Das says:

    Can you do the same for an Indian? I am an Indian and long wish to visit Pakistan.

  • Avatar Shehroz Ali says:

    I just recently send a LOI to my Australian friend. We met just 10 days ago on couch surfing app i checked his review,social media and travelling history so i send him letter of invitation and he got visa . Best way to get LOI is to make a friend on couch surfing app before coming they will send you LOI. Minimum i will send that after verifying they are travelling for tourism and they also traveled in different countries.

  • Avatar Tim says:

    In a separate post you spoke about getting around northern pakistan with Rehman.

    Can he issue invitation letters?

    If not, what are the risks associated with obtaining a letter from a tour company but going off with Rehman?

  • Avatar Khan says:

    You do not need a LOI from a tourist company. Any Pakistani (a PK citizen with a valid ID residing in Pakistan) can send you an invitation letter. They just need to be honest about the nature of the relation they have with you. For example, a very common scenario: You met a Pakistani online, became friends or romantically-involved and now you’ve decided to visit them, they can either volunteer this information in the invitation letter Or hold it back and answer questions about the same when the embassy reaches out to them, to confirm the invitation. But eventually, they will be asked about their relationship with you, so they might as well be upfront about it.

    The Process:

    1) Ask your Pakistani friend to email you a signed and dated scan of the LOI addressed to the PK embassy. It must bear their name, signature and contact information (phone as well as email).
    2) Print the LOI and send it to the embassy as part of your visa application packet.
    3) The embassy will reach out to your friend in Pakistan to confirm the information in the invitation letter. This could be a phone call, but more often than not, its a simple email conversation.
    4) You’re done!

    Understand that the LOI gives you certain rights over your Pakistani friend while you are in Pakistan. This includes your safety, boarding, lodging and medical. I would highly recommend that you live with your friend instead of in a hotel. This gives you an opportunity to experience the society up-close. No, you won’t be a burden. It is socially acceptable to live at friends and relatives homes for log periods of time, especially if you’re a traveler. You may contribute to their home to make it easy for them, like buy groceries now and then or help with chores. Your friend is the best person to show you all the hot spots in the area. They’ll also be invaluable when it comes to your interaction with the society at social gathering, parties and market places. Plus they can get you access to events and places that would otherwise be impossible.

    Note that Pakistan doesn’t issue tourist visas for Indian passport (this might change with the new government) and no visas at all for Israeli passport holders.

    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      Yes this is true but many people want to visit Pakistan and either don’t have a friend in-country or don’t want to spend their whole time hanging out at one persons house…

    • Avatar Ronda Montanez says:

      Where does my PK friend need to go to get LOI for me?
      Thanks.

      • Avatar Khan says:

        Ronda, your friend does not need to go anywhere to get the LOI. The LOI is simply a letter that your friend him/her self will write at home, sign it and then email a scanned copy of it to you. You will print it at your end and send it in as part of your visa application packet. In the letter, your friend will simply tell the Pakistani Embassy to let you visit Pakistan and that your friend will be responsible for your well-being while you are there. I hope that makes sense. If you need detailed answers, I would suggest you call the Pakistani Embassy that serves your area. They’re usually very helpful and will explain the process to you in much more detail then I can in this one comment.

  • Avatar Mee Huynh says:

    Hello, I and my team are from US, we’re willing to book a tour in order to get the LOIs, however do we have to stick with the tour itinerary or we can travel to wherever we want as soon as we arrive at Pakistan ?

  • Avatar Ravinder Birdi says:

    thank you for all the information here. I filled out the form and am waiting to get contacted back so I can get a LOI for a visit to Lahore for a couple of days in April.

  • Avatar Débora says:

    Hello,

    I have a place to stay, friend’s house, what she need put on the invitation letter?

  • Avatar Chandni says:

    Hi, at the risk of sounding ignorant – do the Karakoram Bikers count as a “tour operator”? How much does it cost to get a LOI from them?

  • Avatar Munira says:

    http://www.pakhc.or.ke/visas.html

    Requirements for kenyans. I don’t see loi as requirement.
    Fyi to kenyan readers 🙂

  • Hello,I would like to know If I need a visa for 90 days, is it possible to describe in the letter of invitation (LOI) the time of stay or an itinerary that helps me to obtain the visa for 90 days.? thanks for your help.

  • Avatar Rakesh says:

    Sadly, no LOI for Indians. I am interested to visit Pakistan and had been waiting for some opportunity. I had become hopeful but disappointment again !
    Will, is there any way for me (Indian) to visit Pakistan ?

  • Avatar Josh says:

    *Sorry by itinerary I meant schedule

  • Avatar Josh says:

    Hey, I’ve got the LOI from Karakoram Bikers (who were very helpful – thanks for the heads up!) but now I need to apply for a Visa in the UK. Apparently they need hotel bookings AND an itinerary. Do you need to stick with these once you are in Pakistan or can I cancel the bookings, and change my itinerary? Worried that this won’t give me much flexibility.

    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      Never fear dude, nobody will be checking up on you or making you stick to your itinerary – you can cancel bookings (or just fake them in the first place) and change as much as you want when you get in. Just try to make your itinerary look as vanilla as possible on paper.

  • Avatar Josh says:

    This looks like an awesome service! Is there a particular Visa service that you recommend using once I have the letter? I’m a UK citizen

  • Avatar Remi says:

    Is there any way to get a LOI without doing any tours or staying at hotels? I want to roam and camp

    • Avatar Will Hatton says:

      Hey man, the LOI is just a formality – I was not on any kind of tour whilst I was there and was camping and roaming myself, however; to enter the country you need a visa. To get a visa, you need an LOI and to get an LOI, in 99% of cases, you need to purchase the LOI from a tour operator – you are under no obligation to actually book a tour.

    • Avatar ruba says:

      yes there are so many couchsurfers …so you can stay in the house as well

  • I filled in the contact form on this page – a few hours later, I was contacted by the company in Pakistan who could help me. I paid, and less than two days later, I had my LOI and could go to the Pakistani embassy in Stockholm who are very quick, friendly and easy to communicate with. I had some wonderful two weeks in Pakistan in December 2016.

  • Avatar Ethan says:

    I am a US citizen. Why do I have to book a hotel for the entirety of my stay?

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