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Pakistan may not be the most common destination for expats, but those who do make the move profit from Pakistan’s vibrant culture, rich history, stunning landscape and delicious food.
If you’re moving soon, you may be wondering if you can get your online bank account open in Pakistan before you leave.
This guide covers all you need including how to open a bank account in Pakistan from abroad, and the best Pakistan banks to look at.
Yes, though you’ll be limited to a non-resident account. Non-residents can open accounts with the bank of their choice, without needing any official approval¹ — but you will need to provide a suite of paperwork to support your application.
Read on for more about the best Pakistani banks for non-resident day to day banking, but don’t forget you may have different minimum balances, fees or services compared to resident account holders.
The process to open a non-resident bank account in Pakistan can vary from one bank to another.
In many cases, if you’re a non-resident Pakistani and have a CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) or other eligible Pakistani ID, you’ll be able to get your account set up online in just a few simple steps.
However, if you don’t have a CNIC you may need to visit a bank branch in person to open your account and provide your paperwork.
Here are the broad steps you’re usually required to take:
Step 1. Research banks and account products and pick the one that suits your needs
Step 2. Gather the documents needed to open the specific bank account type
Step 3. Apply for your account online or in person, showing or uploading the required paperwork
Step 4. Add funds to your account — a minimum opening deposit may apply
Step 5. Once your account is verified you can start transacting
|📄 Documents you’ll need to open a Pakistani bank account|
The exact documents you need will vary from bank to bank, and it’s a good idea to call ahead to find out what you need so you’re not stuck making multiple trips. Some documents that are fairly universally required include:
Yes, depending on your personal situation and the bank you choose. Many banks offer Roshan Digital Account products² which are aimed at non-resident Pakistanis and people with a POC (Pakistan Origin Card).
These can often be opened online in both PKR and foreign currencies like USD. If you have a CNIC you may also be able to open a broader range of digital account products.
However, if you’re not Pakistani and want a standard current account most banks still require you to visit in person, to show your documents and complete your application.
|📄 Documents you’ll need to open a Pakistani bank account from abroad|
If you’re opening a Roshan Digital Account from the US, you’ll usually be asked to provide the following³:
To open a bank account in Pakistan from the US you’ll usually need to take the following steps:
Step 1. Check you’re eligible for a Roshan Digital Account — or pick an alternative product which allows online account opening
Step 2. Gather the documents needed to open the specific bank account type
Step 3. Apply for your account online by uploading the required paperwork
Step 4. Add funds to your account
Step 5. Once your account is verified you can start transacting — this may take a couple of days
Many major banks offer Roshan Digital Accounts which can be opened by non-resident Pakistanis, or resident citizens who have assets overseas.
There are a few Pakistani banks which have a presence in the US — and also some global banking brands which you’ll recognize from the US which are popular in Pakistan.
Large banks such as UBL⁴ and HBL⁵ offer online bank account opening options for Pakistani residents with the appropriate paperwork.
You’ll be able to apply for an account and upload images of your documents, which must include an ID document which has been issued in Pakistan, like a national ID card or Pakistan Origin Card.
|📄 Documents you’ll need to open a Pakistani bank account online|
Different banks may have slightly different requirements when you’re opening a Pakistani bank account online. However, you’ll almost always need:
Depending on the account type, further paperwork or a minimum deposit amount may also be required.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to open your new Pakistani bank account online, from the comfort of home.
|🎯 Here’s what you’ll usually need to do:|
Most major Pakistani banks offer an online account opening option if you want a Roshan Digital Account or alternative product aimed at non-resident Pakistanis.
Additionally, a number of banks offer online account opening for basic or standard account types, for residents of Pakistan with the correct paperwork.
Ones to look at include:
- Allied Bank
- Askari Bank
The process of opening an account is pretty simple, and usually only takes a day. For standard accounts, if you don’t have a CNIC or POC you’ll need to make an appointment at your nearest bank, and when you go in you’ll be asked to fill out an application form and submit your documents.
You’ll probably find a banker who speaks perfect English, though you may want to bring a translator with you just in case. Here’s how long it’ll usually take to open different types of account:
|Account type⁶||Account opening time|
|Current account, opened in branch||Can usually be opened on the same day|
|Current account, opened online||Verification checks may take a day or two, depending on the account type|
|Roshan Digital account, opened online||Likely to take about 48 hours, although customers may be required to complete a verification check via video call|
No matter where in the world you’re banking, your account is going to come with fees. These can be fairly variable, and it’s a good idea to check out the bank of your choice’s price list before committing to opening an account there. Some fees you’ll probably face include:
|Type of charge||Amount|
Taking out cash at your own bank’s ATM usually won’t incur a fee, but withdrawing funds from another bank’s machine will cost you.
If you’re using a debit card from your home country, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for foreign ATM fees which push up costs considerably.
While most routine bank fees have been reduced or even eliminated in recent years, you may still run into:
|International transfer fees|
International money transfers can be more expensive than advertised, including a flat rate, a percentage of your transfer, and a markup on the exchange rate, which may not actually be disclosed.
If you do move money between countries often, it’s a good idea to use Wise.Wise cuts the cost of sending money overseas by using its own payment network, and promises to always use the mid-market exchange rate.
When it comes to the best bank in Pakistan for US citizens — or foreigners from other nationalities — it’ll mostly come down to what each person is looking for.
This means that you need to find the bank that best suits your needs, the type of bank account you intend to get and which banks you have available nearby.
Some of the most popular Pakistani banks are:
It’s no wonder so many Pakistani residents choose the National Bank of Pakistan, with over a thousand convenient ATMs and even more branches scattered across the country.
Some options for National Bank of Pakistan customers include:
With branches and ATMs across many major towns and cities, Habib Bank Limited is another common choice for residents of Pakistan. Some of the bank’s features are:
United Bank Limited (UBL) has 115+ branches in Pakistan, alongside countless ATMs. Customers choose UBL for:
Founded in 1947, MCB Bank is one of Pakistan’s oldest and largest banks, with branches in towns and cities across the county.
Some of the services MCB Bank offers include:
There are a wide range of local and international banks available, including some major players from across the globe like Citibank.
Some of the most popular international banks in Pakistan include:
- Standard Chartered
- Deutsche Bank
- Bank of China
- International and Commercial Bank of China
International transfers with Wise come with the mid-market exchange rate with no markup or margin added, and low, transparent fees¹¹. That can mean it can be far cheaper to send your money with Wise than it would be with your normal bank.
You’ll be able to set up your international Wise transfer online or in the Wise app in no time at all — and because 45%+ of Wise payments arrive instantly, your money could be deposited faster too¹².
Check out Wise for low cost, secure international transfers to Pakistan and around the world.
If you’re moving to Pakistan you’ll want an easy to use bank account which can hold and handle PKR for day to day use.
This guide covers all the basics about your options to open a bank account in Pakistan as a foreigner, or to open a non-resident bank account in Pakistan if you’re a Pakistani citizen or hold a POC.
Use it as a starting point to your own research to get the account you need, and don’t forget to choose Wise when you send money to Pakistan, to get your payment moving faster, and for a lower fee¹¹.
- MOPSS - FAQ
- MOPSS - Documentations
- UBL Digital - Open a bank account online
- HBL - Basic banking account
- HBL - Roshan digital account
- HBL - About
- UBL Direct - Branch locator
- Transaction speed claimed depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions
Sources checked on 08.10.2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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