I recently flew to Pakistan and was continuously doing Google searches and reading on various Facebook groups to be better prepared. However, I could not find a perfect answer; thus the reason I decided to write this post. Read on to learn the 6 things to know when you travel to Pakistan from Canada during COVID.
For your information, this post is written on October 19th, 2021. Please review the current requirements by visiting the travel document requirements for the country of visit.
1. The PCR Test Needs To Be Taken 72 Hours Before First Flight of Departure.
Since I live in Calgary, I had to travel to Toronto to start my journey to Pakistan. I verified from IATA and the airline that I used for the testing requirements. I was advised that as long as I take the test within 72 hours from first point of departure on my ticket, I will be ok.
My ticket had departure on a Monday from Toronto. I got my PCR test done on Saturday before it from a Travel Clinic in Calgary. The result came within 6 hours and I printed the results for safe keeping. If you live in Calgary, you can also use this clinic called Ranchlands Pharmacy and Travel Clinic.
My test results were checked when I went to board the flight in Toronto. Same was done for verification in Dubai for my connecting flight. By the time I reached Lahore (my final destination), my test was already more than 72 hours old.
However, make sure you always read the website for Pakistan and see what they ask. Right now they say ‘Test taken 72 hours before travel to Pakistan’.
2. Complete The Pass Track Form To Enter Pakistan
The Pakistani Government has created the Pass Track tool to ensure that a standard form is completed by all who wish to travel to Pakistan.
You can create a login and password for Pass Track and enter your travel details, travel documents, vaccine record and PCR test in it. For your information, since October 1st 2021, Pakistan requires all 18+ to be fully vaccinated to enter. Exceptions are explained on the website.
Once you complete this, do take a print out of the form completion page. This will be requested from you at point of departure and transit points only. I was asked for it in Toronto and Dubai.
3. You Will Get A Rapid Test Upon Arrival In Pakistan
Once you come off from your plane, the first thing will be that you will receive the Rapid Test. This done through a Nasal swab and is dropped in the Rapid Test kit, which is similar to an over-the counter pregnancy test. You will be asked to carry this down with you to immigration.
This test is done for free and was completed for all adults. Do check the Pakistan government website for information on child age exception.
4. You Will Not Nessecarily Be Able To Retain A Porter
Now I am not sure if this was something that the porters made up or it is a rule, but there were no Porters available at Lahore Allama Iqbal International Airport when I arrived at a 2 am flight. The few that were in the luggage carousel area were helping with off loading suitcases and putting them on trolleys.
I found one to help me through the scanning and clearing the customs. However, he kept insisting that due to COVID they are not allowed to take luggage to the car any more. Since I was not the only one who was pushing my own cart once I left the arrival terminal, I assume this was the common practice.
I did see women with very young children and being pregnant struggling as no porter was available to help them. Do keep this in mind as a possible challenge upon arrival.
5. Print Everything!
While I had my COVID vaccine, PCR test and Pass Track ready on my phone, I had read enough on social media to print them all out. Please ensure you print and keep copies of your Vaccine Record, Covid PCR Test and Pass Track for verification at all points of departure, transit and arrival.
6. Your Transit Time Does Not Devalue Your PCR Test
An interesting learning for me was that once I started my journey from Toronto to Lahore, the transit time in between was not to impact my PCR test’s acceptance. So as long as you are ‘Transiting’ and NOT taking a ‘Stopover’, your test will be valid.
For further clarification, do call and ask your traveling airline. They are best suited to advise you.
So here you go, these are the 6 things to know when you travel to Pakistan from Canada during COVID.
Let me know if you have any questions!
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