Opening a bank account in Pakistan as an American

Gabriela Peratello

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.

📑 Table of Contents


Can you open a Pakistani bank account as a non-resident?

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.

How to open a bank account in Pakistan: step by step

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:

  • Valid passport or CNIC if you’re a Pakistani citizen

  • Proof of address

  • Proof of employment/ income

  • Documents proving the origin of the funds for your initial deposit

Can you open a bank account in Pakistan from the USA?

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:

  • Copy of your CNIC/SNIC/NICOP/POC

  • Passport copy with entry and exit stamps

  • A live photo

  • Proof of profession

  • Proof of the source of income or funds being paid into the account

How to open bank account in Pakistan from USA: step by step

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

Which banks can you open an overseas Pakistani bank account with?

Many major banks offer Roshan Digital Accounts which can be opened by non-resident Pakistanis, or resident citizens who have assets overseas.

Can you find Pakistani banks in the USA?

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.

Can you open a bank account online 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:

  • Valid ID document, issued in Pakistan —  CNIC/NICOP/POC

  • Proof of occupation

  • Proof of income

  • Proof of address — such as a utility bill in your name

Depending on the account type, further paperwork or a minimum deposit amount may also be required.

How to open bank account in Pakistan online: step by step

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:
  • Check the product you’re interested in allows online account opening

  • Gather the documents needed to open the specific bank account type

  • Apply for your account online by uploading the required paperwork

  • Add funds to your account

  • Once your account is verified you can start transacting

Which banks can you open an online account with?

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:

  • UBL
  • HBL
  • Allied Bank
  • Askari Bank

How long does opening a bank account in Pakistan take?

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 type⁶Account opening time
Current account, opened in branchCan usually be opened on the same day
Current account, opened onlineVerification checks may take a day or two, depending on the account type
Roshan Digital account, opened onlineLikely to take about 48 hours, although customers may be required to complete a verification check via video call

Fees and charges for opening a bank account in Pakistan as a foreigner

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 chargeAmount
ATM fees

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.

Banking fees

While most routine bank fees have been reduced or even eliminated in recent years, you may still run into:

  • Account maintenance fees

  • Account minimum balance maintenance fees

  • Check cashing fees

  • Transfer fees

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.

What’s the best Pakistani bank to open an account with?

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:

National Bank of Pakistan⁷

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:

  • Current and Savings accounts

  • Online transfers

  • Pay orders

  • Cash cards

  • Advance salaries

Habib Bank Limited (HBL)⁸

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:

  • Basic bank accounts

  • Savings accounts

  • Loans for home and car

  • Debit cards

  • Internet banking

United Bank Limited⁹

United Bank Limited (UBL) has 115+ branches in Pakistan, alongside countless ATMs. Customers choose UBL for:

  • Consumer loans

  • Debit, credit, and cash cards

  • Deposit accounts

  • Priority banking

  • Corporate banking

  • Investment banking

MCB Bank Limited¹⁰

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:

  • Personal and business deposit and checking accounts

  • Internet banking

  • Mobile banking

  • Home remittance

  • Consumer loans

  • Cards

Are there any international banks in Pakistan?

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:

  • Citibank
  • Standard Chartered
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Bank of China
  • International and Commercial Bank of China

Send money to your Pakistani bank account with a quick Wise transfer

If you need to send a payment to Pakistan, you could save with Wise.

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.

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in just a few clicks 🌐

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.


  1. SBP
  2. MOPSS - FAQ
  3. MOPSS - Documentations
  4. UBL Digital - Open a bank account online
  5. HBL - Basic banking account
  6. HBL - Roshan digital account
  7. NBP
  8. HBL - About
  9. UBL Direct - Branch locator
  10. MCB
  11. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  12. 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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