Recently I went through the whole process of applying for NICOP online through NADRAâ€™s website and received our cards by mail a few days back. It was kind of a roller coaster ride as some aspects were clear in the beginning and others werenâ€™t. The whole process has educated me enough that I wanted to pass my experiences on to others who are interested in applying online for NICOP.
Why Apply Online?
I would highly recommend to my fellow overseas Pakistanis to apply online if:
1. You want it as soon as possible (I got mine in less than 3 weeks!)
2. You hate working with papers, photocopies and filling forms (I really hate that!)
3. You are comfortable working with websites and online services (e.g. if you pay bills online)
4. You can operate a scanner and a few easy to use photo editing software with instructions (isnâ€™t everyone into digital pictures these days?)
Getting NICOP is a Good Deal!
Here are some other compelling reasons to go get your NICOP.
1. Visa free entry into Pakistan, thatâ€™s currently a savings of $124 for people living in US (if you are a US citizen, travel on US Passport and donâ€™t have a valid Pakistani Passport)
2. NADRA now requires every overseas Pakistani Citizen to obtain a NICOP.
3. Itâ€™s also a requirement now for the issuance of Pakistani Passports by our consulates/ embassies in foreign countries. Though you can still get a passport using your CNIC, but donâ€™t count on it for too long. They will eventually expire as well and can only be renewed while you are in Pakistan, so you will need a NICOP eventually.
4. CNIC is printed in Urdu and targeted towards local population in Pakistan, NICOP is printed in English and thus targeted towards overseas Pakistanis. It serves as an identity in situations where you may need to prove your Pakistani Citizenship in the absence of a valid Pakistani Passport.
5. In my case it was a superb deal and best value for my money. My wifeâ€™s CNIC was about to expire so getting her a NICOP was a just investment. I needed a NICOP for my daughter who was born here in US so that she can enter Pakistan on our upcoming trip, and paying $124 for a Pakistani visa was just out of the question for a guy like me who keeps a very tight control over waste of his hard earned salary.
6. In the end I was the only one with a valid CNIC, which was good for another 5 years, but had to go get one as applying for NICOPs for your whole family at the same time is the best way to go, plus being the â€˜Family Headâ€™ I had to get it, as I needed to prove my status as such so that they can issue a NICOP to my daughter.
7. Our NICOPs are valid until 2018/2020/2023 (see my little concern below on validity periods) and we paid $37.11 (NICOP Fee) + $1.11 (Foreign Transaction Fee, charged by my credit card issuer), a total of mere $38.22 (per card) for them.
8. I personally think itâ€™s a great deal and I thank our government for not robbing us, though they recently increased the fee (from $15 to $25 â€“ this did affect me, I paid $25 plus delivery charges, totaling $37.11) & lowered the validity period (from 10 to 7 years â€“ this didnâ€™t affect me, as mentioned above the validity of our NICOPs is in the range of 10 to 15 years) but it still is pretty cheap, at least in my personal view.
Concern: I never understood why they issue CNIC/NICOP to everyone with totally different expiry dates, even if the cards were issued at the same time! All of my family members got our CNICs back in Pakistan at the same time and only a couple of us had the same expiry date or validity period, some had the validity of 5 years, others for 10 and 12 years! Same issue is there with our NICOPs.
Amir Haque has detailed a very informative step by step procedure (with screen shots) of how to apply for a NICOP online. We were not able to accommodate that informative part of his post here but we recommend a visit to Amir’s web site here (http://amirhaq.blogspot.com) to get further information on this topic.
NADRAâ€™s website at: http://www.nadra.gov.pk
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