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  #1  
Old 15 Sep 2012
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Pakistan Visa - more questions (LOI, general advice, tips)

Hi guys,

I have searched the forum and found some valuable info, but unless Im looking in the wrong places a lot of it seemed a bit dated. I wondered if anyone as applied for the visa recently?

I'm sat here with the Visa forms half filled in and my head is thoroughly boggled already. hah.

I've heard a few people say you shouldn't mention the 'motorcycling' part? Not sure how feasible that is? I'd like to submit my application this week and I'm cutting it fine time wise so I want to have all my ducks in a row when I visit the (by all accounts) dreaded London consulate.

So if anyone has processed this visa recently I'd love to hear your thoughts/tips/advice.

Which leads me to my apparent main hurdle - where did you guys get your letter of invitations? Will a hotel do it? Will a hotel letter suffice? How long did you allow to ride through Pakistan?
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Old 16 Sep 2012
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Sorry dude don't I have time to go over it again currently in Ecuador with crap wifi.
The info you have found is correct, if you choose to go to London, mention overland travel, motorcycling etc you WILL NOT get a visa, full stop.

These guys will do you a LOI Lost Horizon Treks and Tours - Northern Pakistan's friendly, professional tourism experts

Go to Birmingham, tell them you are flying into Islamabad and treking in Hunza, bingo 30 day visa in passport. They are a little less twitchy if you have visited before (which I assume you haven't?)

HTH
Pete
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Old 16 Sep 2012
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Thanks McGiggle! I'm just trawling through all your comments and looking at all the ones mentioning Pakistan... has lead me to some handy info!

Has anyone gone for the visa in London and told them the white lie about flying in?
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Old 16 Sep 2012
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yes I did, I booked a hotel room in ISB and Lahore. Trouble is they only gave me a 7 day visa. It works but make sure you have some sort of itinerary that means they give you a longer visa.

I did manage to extend in Gilgit a few days ago but it was a right hassle.

A co traveller went to Bradford, I think he mentioned m/cing and got a 3 month visa on the spot, same day. London is a nightmare.
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Old 16 Sep 2012
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Go to the consulate in Birmingham, very smartly dressed (suit,tie, etc), be very confident and professional, it will work out to your favour, you must remember that in countries like Pakistan the image you portray says a million words, rock up in jeans and a run down tee-shirt and wave goodbye to you ever seeing the country!
Don't see it as lying, the consulate want you to visit you just need to tick the right boxes and then they're happy.
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Old 16 Sep 2012
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Thanks again for this info. Crikey. Suit and tie? The plot thickens. Will have to visit a charity shop. haha.
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Old 17 Sep 2012
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You have to be carefull mentioning trekking these days, they have been asking for trekking permits. I'm surprised you managed to extend in Gilgit, we tried in May and were given the run around before being told we didn't need to anyway as we were allowed 2 weeks grace (overstay). We tried again in Chitral and met with a similar responce, we eventually left after 6 weeks (2 weeks over) without to much hassle (half hearted attempt at 'baksheesh' by the immigration at Waggha). Incidently, if your heading to Waggha and don't fancy the carnage of the GT rd, we managed to use the new motorway ( Peshawar-Islmbd-Lahore), officially bikes are not allowed, however we found that if you ask politely and act respectful, they will make exceptions for foreign visitors, and believe me, it's well worth it, beautiful road with very little traffic.
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Old 17 Sep 2012
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Once inside Pakistan it is VERY easy to extend your visa. You are allowed to extend up to 6 months! Gilgit has an office and so does Scardu.

Make sure you have an Itinerary, the visa application actually asks for it! Just go to LP website, jot down the top 10 places and write that down. It doesn't matter if you end up visiting those places or not.

If you have to show a booking of some sort - just book online somewhere and get the confirmation email, print and include in your application or just fake it! It doesn't matter - they just have to tick the boxes.

As for trekking Permits - it depends on where you are going and what kind of trekking you are doing and where you are doing it.

As for getting my visa - I got it in Australia (sending my passport from India) and I told them I was motorcycling, I included a support letter from Australian Geographic and they were happy to give me a three month visa straight away.

Best of Luck
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Old 18 Sep 2012
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Thanks again for everyone's input.

For reference I heard back from Lost Horizon Treks and Tours, they are still issuing LOI but are charging $50 for them.

Which although is another expense - is fair enough I think. Seems like a lot of hassle to do for free if you're not planning on booking anything with them. To be honest I'll just be relieved to have all the boxes ticked.

Last edited by fraserbyrne; 18 Sep 2012 at 12:17.
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Hey guys,

So I've been issued with my visa. Wasn't as painstaking as I thought and the process took about 3 weeks.

I'll post my info here for future reference.

I got LOI from Lost Horizons ($50- bit pricey, but didn't have many options).

I then handed in the following to the London High Commission:
1 completed visa application forms

2 passport photograph(s)

Proof of UK residency
Recent bank statement (showing a minimum balance of £3000)

Copy of your full itinerary

Letter from employer confirming return

Invitation from agent in Pakistan
Passport.


I said I was flying in, no mention of motorcycle. The guy probed me a tiny bit at the counter, but it was so busy it was all very vague. Think once he saw I'd ticked all the boxes he just wanted me out of his hair.

I tried to chase them up by phone, didn't anser the phone once. So I dropped into the (London) High Commission and by chance it had been approved the day before. £100 later and its sorted..

So not as heinous a process as I thought, still a pain in the ass, but aren't all visas?
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Cool, glad it worked out, gob smacked London did it.
I'm not suprised the guys at LHT are charging now, we did promise we would stay at their guest house (which we did).
If you're doing a round trip it's simple to get in New Delhi for the return, just make sure you tell them you've been before and then he'll ask how long you would like to stay this time
Cheers
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Old 15 Oct 2012
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Cheers McGiggle. yes I was relieved. One more tick on a never ending list of to dos sorted. ha.
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