Pakistan - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
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Business Customs

In major Pakistani cities, men and women work together in offices. Corporate executives wear business attire, while women dress conservatively, often in local dresses. When traveling to Pakistan for business, western women should dress conservatively, in pantsuits or below-the-knee skirts or dresses with sleeves.

In many parts of Pakistan, meetings often start with an exchange of pleasantries and personal connections are valued in the business environment. It is customary for the host to offer tea to business visitors and business cards are exchanged at the start of meetings. Prompt communication is important and last-minute changes are common.

Travel Advisory

The travel advisory for Pakistan is available on the following website under the U.S. Citizen Services caption:

U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan

U.S. Passports and International Travel

Visa Requirements

AnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorFor business visits, U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa for Pakistan before arrival in the country and are advised to apply for their visas well ahead of their anticipated travel.  The Government of Pakistan has recently introduced an e-visa portal for more than 175 countries, including the United States, allowing travelers to submit visa applications, documents, and payments via this portal. Further information on obtaining a visa to Pakistan at:

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):  

State Department Visa Website

U.S. Embassy, Islamabad


The official currency of Pakistan is the rupee (sign: Rs; Code: PKR). The State Bank of Pakistan, the central bank, is officially responsible for the issuance, circulation, and control of currency in the country. The local currency denomination comprises coins (Rs.1, 2, 5, and 10) and banknotes (Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.75, Rs.100, Rs.500, Rs.1,000, Rs.5,000). Foreign visitors can utilize the services of local commercial banks and authorized foreign exchange dealers for a change of currency. In addition, Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are widely acceptable. For customers’ convenience, all local commercial banks operate a wide network of branches and ATMs in all cities.


The telecommunication sector in Pakistan has grown tremendously over the last few years.  Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), a private company, is the sole provider of landline services; however, there are now four cellular companies (Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, and Zong) operating in the market. In addition, several operators are offering Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service. 

Pakistan offers one of the lowest telecom rate structures in the region. The average tariff for the United States, using a pre-paid calling card, is currently Rs.  10 per minute (approximately less than a cent per minute). Internet is widely available throughout the country, and several companies offer good Fiber Optic, DSL, and Broadband connections. Most upscale hotels have business centers that offer a complete range of telecommunication facilities; most hotels now offer Wi-Fi networks for their guests.


In all large Pakistani cities, taxis are readily available, and fares are quite reasonable, although in most cases the fare must be negotiated in advance. Recently Uber and inDrive, the leading car-hailing services, started their operations in major cities in Pakistan. Due to security reasons, U.S. travelers are advised not to use taxis. Instead, it is recommended that travelers rent a car, preferably from the hotel or guesthouse where they are staying or can make use of radio cab services, which are available in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Most hotels and guesthouses in Pakistan provide complimentary airport pick-up service if informed in advance. When renting a car, either from the hotel or a rental agency, it is recommended that the services of a chauffeur are also acquired along with the car. All the major airports in Pakistan offer radio cab service at a fixed, non-negotiable rate.

Air Transport

No U.S. air carriers fly to Pakistan; however, there are several connecting flights from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Istanbul, London, and Asian cities to many Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Multan, and Peshawar. Other than Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Etihad, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, and British Airways provide convenient connections to New York, Chicago, Houston, and Washington, D.C. via Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul, London, and Doha. PIA offers the largest network of domestic destinations. In addition to PIA, there are three private airlines - Airblue, Air Sial, Fly Jinnah, and Serene Air, providing service to all major cities.  There are also private air charter services including Princely Jets.

Travelers on these carriers can now make reservations and obtain e-tickets through the Internet. The relevant websites are as follows:

Pakistan International Airlines

Air Blue  

Serene Air

Air Sial Limited

Fly Jinnah

Princely Jets


AnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorUrdu is the national language of Pakistan, but English remains an official language and is widely spoken and understood in most cities and urban areas. In rural areas, an interpreter may be required. All business correspondence is in English.


U.S. visitors seeking medical care in Pakistan will be expected to pay in cash at the time of service or on discharge from a hospital. Travelers to Pakistan are strongly recommended to verify that their insurance company will honor overseas claims. Also, business travelers are advised that the U.S. government will not arrange or pay for medical evacuations of unofficial U.S. citizens (private American citizens) overseas.

COVID: The Government of Pakistan has abolished pre-boarding negative PCR conditions for inbound passengers in its recent travel guideline, however, full vaccination is mandatory.

POLIO: Polio vaccination within one year before travel may be required to exit Pakistan. For more details, please see Health Abroad 

Food- and water-borne illnesses: When traveling in Pakistan, it is recommended to only consume bottled water and beverages. Eating thoroughly cooked hot foods can help prevent food-borne infections. Raw fruits should only be eaten if they have unbroken skin and can be peeled, or if they have been soaked in bleach. It is best to avoid foods that may have been unrefrigerated for over two hours, mainly those containing poultry, eggs, meat, and dairy products.

Healthcare facilities: Most of the major cities in Pakistan have good hospitals and healthcare facilities. The Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi, the Doctor’s Hospital in Lahore, and the Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad have several foreign-trained doctors.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Most private offices in Pakistan work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the week starting on Mondays and ending on Fridays. Some private sector offices observe a six-day week and are open on Saturdays, but banks are generally closed on Saturdays. Government offices are usually open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, most government offices close at 12:30 p.m. for weekly Friday prayers. Business visitors planning a trip to Pakistan should consider the following local holidays before finalizing their travel itinerary:

2023 Pakistani Holidays:

September 28, 2023           Eid Milad-un-Nabi

November 9, 2023             Allama Iqbal Day

December 25, 2023            Quaid-e-Azam Day / Christmas

During the Islamic month of Ramadan, observant Muslims do not eat, drink, or smoke between sunrise and sunset. During this month, travel is more difficult, the pace of business activity slows (many offices close by mid-day), and it is more difficult to accomplish business objectives. Ramadan begins 29 or 30 days before the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings: Current information regarding the temporary entry of materials and personal belongings is available on the Federal Board of Revenue website.

Travel-Related Web Resources

Pakistan Embassy, Washington, DC