Pakistan — Visas and Vaccinations
Visitors from all countries are required to obtain a visa, including those from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Most visitors are compelled to apply for the tourist visa before departing for Pakistan, but the recently compiled ‘Tourist Friendly Countries’ list grants exemptions for certain countries, including the United States. Citizens from these exempt countries are permitted to obtain a visa on arrival at one of the many ports. All visitors are required to produce a passport valid for at least six months after leaving the country.
Health and Safety
Healthcare in Pakistan is quite basic, even in the larger centers and particularly in the more remote areas. Travelers are advised to take out medical or travel insurance before departing their home country. Many medications are also not readily available so it would be best to take a supply of any specialized medications along as well.
There is a high risk of contracting malaria, especially in the coastal and low-lying areas and dengue fever is a danger all over the country. There are a few immunizations which travelers should acquire before leaving for Pakistan including: typhoid, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis B and tetanus-diphtheria.
The water in the country is not safe to drink and even local Pakistanis boil the water used for drinking and cooking. Travelers should sterilize or boil all water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice. It is also imperative that travelers check the seal on bottles of water and juices as many are tampered with or have contaminated water added to them.
At the moment Pakistan is not the most politically stable of countries and certain areas are off limits. Such areas include the Federal Administered Tribal Areas and regions which are particularly close to the border with Afghanistan, Swat, Buner and Dir, which have constant reports of militant activity.
In the last few years the country has experienced many bomb attacks and many protests and demonstrations continue to occur. Travelers should avoid military convoys and groups of demonstrators. Travelers should also refrain from discussing politically sensitive topics such as the divided region of Kashmir.