Travel Alert Status
Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk; Please read the entire Travel Advisory. Do Not Travel to:
Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping.
The immediate vicinity of the Line of Control due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict.
Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Pakistan. A local history of terrorism and ongoing ideological aspirations of violence by extremist elements have led to indiscriminate attacks on civilian as well as local military and police targets. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities. Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past.
Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KPK, including the former FATA. Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in numerous casualties.
Pakistan’s security environment has improved since 2014 when Pakistani security forces undertook concerted counter terrorist and counter militant operations. There are greater security resources and infrastructure in the major cities, particularly Islamabad, and security forces in these areas may be more readily able to respond to an emergency compared to other areas of the country. While threats still exist, terrorist attacks are rare in Islamabad.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Pakistan due to the security environment. Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted, and additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel outside of U.S. diplomatic facilities may occur at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.
The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar is unable to provide any consular services to U.S. citizens.
Safety and Security
Despite improvements in the security situation, terrorist attacks remain frequent in Pakistan. Extremist groups within Pakistan continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit, including government facilities and public locations, such as schools and universities, shopping malls, markets, hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, transportation hubs/stations, minority neighborhoods, and outdoor recreation areas. Terrorists also target Pakistani officials, government facilities, religious minorities and facilities including sufi shrines, and they regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. Other actions include but are not limited to suicide operations, bombings (including vehicle-borne explosives and improvised explosive devices), assassinations, carjackings, and assaults. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in major cities, and these measures can vary from day to day. The U.S. Embassy and consulates regularly assess security situations and restrict the movements of official personnel.
Demonstrations, political rallies, or large religious gatherings intended to be peaceful can become confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. We advise U.S. citizens to avoid areas where large crowds of any kind gather. U.S Embassy and Consulate personnel are routinely instructed to avoid areas of any demonstration. During demonstrations or periods of civil unrest, the Pakistani government has in the past disabled cellular telephone and internet service, making it difficult for individuals to contact each other or the U.S. Embassy or Consulates.
Celebratory gunfire may occur at any time but is most likely to occur during wedding celebrations, which are frequent from October to May, and on holidays. Although the likelihood of being struck is remote, falling rounds can cause injury or death.
We recommend you limit the frequency of travel and minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, and other public locations. We advise against the use of public transportation in Pakistan. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate prohibit personnel from using public transportation or taxi services. You are strongly urged to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures. Official visitors are not authorized to stay overnight in local hotels anywhere in the country, except in exceptional circumstances. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates sometimes place areas such as tourist attractions, hotels, markets, shopping malls, and restaurants off-limits to official personnel.
Threats to civil aviation in Pakistan are not limited to attacks in which militants target airports. The U.S. government is aware of narcotics smuggled onto flights from Pakistan, which may indicate broader security vulnerabilities at Pakistani airports.
We recommend you follow media coverage of local events and maintain good situational awareness and operational security wherever you travel in Pakistan. If you feel that your life is in danger in Pakistan, we advise you to report the threat to local police authorities and consider immediately changing locations or departing Pakistan.
Crime: Men and women are advised to dress conservatively, with arms and legs covered, and to avoid walking alone. We recommend against travel on the streets late at night. Urban crime can be organized or opportunistic and conducted by individuals or groups. It can include fraud, theft, robbery, carjacking, rape, assault, and burglary. Incidents of crime and levels of violence are higher in low-income residential and congested commercial areas but are seen in wealthier areas as well. Pick-pocketing, theft, and larceny are common on buses and trains at all hours of the day.
Take precautions to avoid crime, including:
locking home and vehicle doors
hiring a 24-hour guard
varying routes and schedules
keeping bags or valuables under your legs away from passing vehicle traffic and ensuring that bag straps are not visible
traveling in groups
being accompanied by a native Urdu speaker if you travel outside urban areas
carrying your mobile phone
If you are assaulted, flee to a safe area and report the situation to local authorities by going directly to a police station or dialing 15.
See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crime should first report the offense to local police by dialing 15 and then contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Police responsiveness varies widely, and crimes often go unsolved or unprosecuted.
Dual U.S-Pakistani nationals may not be recognized as U.S. citizens by local authorities.
We often receive reports of U.S. citizens subjected to domestic violence, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and forced marriage in Pakistan. There are also cases of individuals having their own and their children’s passports confiscated by spouses, parents, or other family members and having their freedom of movement severely restricted. Local police are not consistently responsive to reports of such cases. Nonetheless, if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, you are encouraged to call the police immediately and follow up with a call to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. We can sometimes connect you with a Pakistani non-governmental organization that may be able to provide assistance.