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Message for U.S. Citizens: Pakistan, Polio Vaccination Requirement to Exit Pakistan

South Central Asia > Pakistan; South Central Asia > Pakistan > Islamabad; South Central Asia > Pakistan > Karachi; South Central Asia > Pakistan > Lahore; South Central Asia > Pakistan > Peshawar

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan informs U.S. citizens that the Pakistani Government is now requiring all travelers exiting Pakistan who have spent more than four weeks in the country to produce a valid polio (poliomyelitis) vaccination certificate. The vaccine requirement is in response to a series of WHO recommendations aimed at stemming the international spread of wild poliovirus. In order to exit Pakistan, everyone who has spent more than four weeks in Pakistan must receive a dose of either the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) or Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to international travel, regardless of nationality or vaccination status prior to one year before departure date. Presently, the Pakistani Government has set up medically-staffed booths in the international departure terminals of all four international airports (Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar) where the oral vaccine is available free of charge. Recipients will then be issued a polio vaccination certificate and will be allowed to depart the country. The certificate, “International Certificate for Polio Vaccination,” will be valid for one year only. Airport vaccination is a temporary measure and the Pakistani Government has not indicated for how long this option will be available. If at all possible, travelers should not rely upon this method to satisfy the new exit requirement.

The WHO guidelines state that either a dose of OPV or IPV is acceptable. The vaccine is mandatory for all travelers regardless of age. Pregnant women are not exempt to the requirement, as the WHO has no evidence that OPV or IPV are unsafe for pregnant women and their unborn children. Even adult travelers who have previously received three or more doses of OPV or IPV will be required to receive another documented dose of the polio vaccine. It is not required that the vaccine be administered in Pakistan, but the vaccination certificate must be WHO pre-qualified and issued within a year prior to travel to be acceptable.

We remind U.S. citizens that the U.S. Department of State has an active Travel Warning for Pakistan recommending that U.S. citizens defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens currently in or traveling to Pakistan to ensure they have completed a primary course of polio vaccinations and a booster dose in advance of making travel plans. Those who are unsure of their polio vaccination status should consult their physician. We urge citizens to closely monitor any further developments in the news, check the U.S. State Department website for any new travel restrictions, and bring their vaccination record in their hand luggage to the airport.  Travelers can also refer to the U.S. State Department’s Polio Fact Sheet.

If further information not available in these guidelines is required, queries can be emailed to the WHO Polio Department at polioIHR@who.int or to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, telephone: 0092-(0)51-9202566, email: contact@dra.gov.pk.

Updated Information on Travel and Security

Updated information on travel and security in Pakistan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For further information, please consult the Travel Warning for Pakistan and the Country Specific Information for Pakistan, as well as the Worldwide Caution. You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which also contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Pakistan are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements and can also help your family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

To view emergency services to U.S. citizens in the different consular districts, please click on the links below:

Contact Information for All U.S. Mission to Pakistan Posts

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5; telephone (92-51) 208-0000;
Consular Section telephone (92-51) 208-2700;
fax (92-51) 282-2632;
website: http://islamabad.usembassy.gov;
e-mail address: ACSIslamabad@state.gov

The U.S. Consulate General Karachi, located at Plot No 3-5, TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road, Karachi, provides services to U.S. citizens by appointment only. Services can be scheduled by calling (92-21) 3527-5000 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday-Friday; fax (92-21) 3527-5885; website: http://karachi.usconsulate.gov e-mail: ACSKarachi@state.gov.

The U.S. Consulate General in Lahore is located at 50 Sharah-E-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road) near Shimla Hill Rotary. Consular operations in Lahore have been temporarily suspended. Please direct any inquiries to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad or the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi.