Besides Russia or India, Singaporean passport holders require a visa to be applied in advance before being allowed to enter Pakistan. This can only be done at the home embassy of the applicant, so for travelers who are in the region now, they must send back their passport to their home country in order to apply for a Pakistan visa. Applying for a Pakistani tourist visa is a long process, because the embassy staff are not clear about the rules and they keep changing by the day. I only managed to get it right on the third try.
My first application was last year in August, I did not receive any outcome on the application. I concluded that because I had written India as the port of entry, they probably threw my form away. There is still much hostility between India and Pakistan due to their long conflicted history.
The second time was this year in May, I had applied too early, so the visa had expired before my trip. The consulate staff did not even inform me that the visa was valid for three months from the date of issue, not from the date that I requested in the letter of invitation. He had scanned through all my documents and promptly proceeded to collect money from me. My date of entry was supposed to be 31 Aug, but the visa was valid until 28 Aug. If only I had waited a few more days to apply for the visa. Even the Russian visa process was not that complicated.
So upon my third time, I just had to change the dates on the letter of invitation before I managed to get that coveted visa inside my passport. I was over the moon when I finally got the visa and my dream of visiting beautiful Pakistan was going to turn into reality!
How to apply for a tourist visa
Only Citizens of Singapore or Foreigners holding a Singapore Dependent pass is allowed to apply for a visa at the High Commission of Pakistan in Singapore. Travel agents are strictly not allowed to apply on behalf.
Submission Time: 10am- 12 noon, Monday to Friday
Collection: Date stated on receipt, Time: 4:30PM – 5.00PM
For the letter of invitation, you can either can it from a reputable tour agency. I recommend Vertical Explorers for their visa services and they provide good tours or trekking services too. Alternatively, if you have a Pakistani friend, he/she can help to write the letter of invitation (LOI). However, the embassy staff are quite strict and they would send someone from the Ministry of Interior Affairs to check on your friend’s house and interview them to see how they are related to the visa applicant. Upon arrival at immigration, the customs official will even make a phone call with your host to confirm that you are staying with the host.
– 2 Passport Size Photographs with white background
– Photocopy and Original of Passport (1st and 2nd Pages)
– Photocopy and Original of Singapore IC (PR/ EP/ WP)
– Confirmed Air Tickets and Hotel Reservations
– Invitation Letter from Pakistani Host/ Sponsor and copy of his/her Pakistani ID/ Passport
(Signature of Sponsor/Host is required on the Invitation Letter
– completed visa application form
Address of consulate:
1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #24 – 02/04, Singapore 228208
Despite the difficult bureaucracy, Pakistan is definitely worth a visit, especially for the mountains or even to the ancient cities of the Indus civilisation or Mughal empire. It is indeed off the beaten track and it rewards the traveler handsomely. It is generally safe to travel around, just avoid the restricted areas, which is also specifically mentioned in the visa.
Malindo air flies from Singapore to Lahore via Kuala Lumpur and has cheap flights if booked early
Thai Airways flies from Singapore to Karachi/Islamabad/Lahore via Bangkok
Emirates has flights from Singapore to Islamabad/Karachi/Lahore/Multan/Peshawar/Sialkot via Dubai, making it one of the international airlines with the widest network in Pakistan.
Alternatively, try Pakistan International Airlines which also flies from Kuala Lumpur to Karachi, and from Karachi take a domestic flight to Lahore, Islamabad etc.