My Experience of Applying for a NICOP Online

Posted on August 27, 2008
Filed Under >M. Amir Haque, Education, Law & Justice, Pakistanis Abroad
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M. Amir Haque

Recently I went through the whole process of applying for NICOP online through NADRA’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 weren’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 (isn’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, that’s currently a savings of $124 for people living in US (if you are a US citizen, travel on US Passport and don’t have a valid Pakistani Passport)

2. NADRA now requires every overseas Pakistani Citizen to obtain a NICOP.

3. It’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 don’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 wife’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 ‘Family Head’ 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 it’s a great deal and I thank our government for not robbing us, though they recently increased the fee (from $15 to $25 – this did affect me, I paid $25 plus delivery charges, totaling $37.11) & lowered the validity period (from 10 to 7 years – this didn’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.

Editor’s Note:

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.

Reference:

NADRA’s website at: http://www.nadra.gov.pk

ATP’s Related Post:

Should Foreign Men Marrying Pakistani Women get Pakistani Citizenship?

33 Comments on “My Experience of Applying for a NICOP Online”

  1. ASAD says:
    August 28th, 2008 1:37 am

    very useful information. But frankly, I think they are charging too much for this for the benefit one gets from this.

  2. Imran says:
    August 28th, 2008 5:45 am

    “paying $124 for a Pakistani visa was just out of the question”

    Is this cost of an in individual Pakistani Visa for Americans these days?

    I guess they want to keep visitors out of Pakistan?

  3. rohail says:
    August 28th, 2008 6:02 am

    hey THANKS for this lovely info

    this is really something new which i heard today now going to nadras office is a big headache

    aab GHAR bethay shanakhtiii CARD banao

    yeahhhhhhhhhh

  4. Shaji says:
    August 28th, 2008 7:51 am

    Just thought I’d set your mind at ease about the validity period, if the same algorithm is still being used.

    The validity period of each card depends on the age of the holder and increases with time. A younger person will have a shorter period of validity as compared to an older person for one very simple reason… change in physical appearance.

    Faces change as people grow old and the change is more visible in younger age than older. In order to help the authorities BETTER IDENTIFY the subject, there is the need to have the most current physical identification in the shape of the photograph on the card.

    Same logic is applied for capturing other identification data such as the thumbprint; but that is generally more so in the case of CNIC where it is technically feasible at the moment via the SRCs.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Aamer says:
    August 28th, 2008 10:11 am

    I had the experience of applying for NICOP for 4 of us, just over 2 years ago as well. I really liked the convenience factor as well. Although I was a little skeptical after I applied, as to how long will it take and will I ever get my cards. But I did, I am not sure how long it took, but I received them via DHL (from Pakistan to Chicago), in a reasonable amount of time.

    Another thing I liked about the process was the possibility to check the status online after I have applied.

    Soon after I went to NADRA’s site to check it out again and the website/process was not working (the usual fate of a website for a business located in Pakistan). Glad to hear that it is still operational.

    One thing I would like to clear is that if you are US citizen, you don’t necessarily need a Pakistani passport to get into Pakistan, you can just get a visa ($120). But of course NICOP is a much better and cheaper alternative.

    @ASAD you are just making a comment without reading up or knowing enough about the costs/benefits. Compare the cost of visa ($120) versus that of NICOP (lets say $40) and the validity period 5 years versus 10 years or more, respectively, and you will get your answer.

  6. August 28th, 2008 12:00 pm

    Imran,
    Yes, that’s right … i.e. the fee part, I don’t think Pakistan wants to keep any visitors out, though worsening law & order situation is a major concern for everyone, overseas Pakistanis or anyone, see: http://www.pakistan-embassy.org/consa8.php

    Shaji,
    I liked your logical explanation, but are you really really sure about this or just guessing? :) Cos, at least in my case it does not apply as you have outlined, i.e. my daughter’s (8 months) NICOP expires in 2023 (this is where logic presented by you applies inversely), my wife’s (younger than me) in 2018 and mine in 2020. So your logic seems to apply here but my wife is several years younger than me, not just 2 years … So you see, I can’t find much logic to it, though I will be happy to learn about any logic if there happens to be one.

    Cheers!

  7. Aamer says:
    August 28th, 2008 3:26 pm

    http://www.pakistan-embassy.org/consa8.php
    Good to see them accepting Visa/MC. The fees of course is
    higher when paid via a credit card vs check ($124 vs $120)

  8. Shaji says:
    August 28th, 2008 4:48 pm

    M. Amir Haque, that was a layman/marketer’s explanation.

    When the system for NICOP was designed, it was supposed to be the English version of CNIC and therefore used the same methods to assign individual and family identification numbers. We were only privy to certain details of the entire operation for sake of protection and privacy.

    I’m not saying that the system is perfect. Even we had some issues regarding the validity periods, but we never received any serious complaint so the system is/was assumed to be working fine most of the time.

  9. shamshad says:
    August 28th, 2008 11:58 pm

    I think NADRA’s online service for NICOP is really awesome. Pakistan has sold this application to a few other countries. Its pretty convenient. Very few had any bad experiences. I don’t think that its expensive.

  10. Usman says:
    August 29th, 2008 6:22 am

    Not to forget, the new NICOP program was initiated under Musharaf’s administration.

  11. Aamer says:
    August 29th, 2008 11:41 am

    Why do we start associating every good and/or bad thing with politics?

    #
    Usman says:
    August 29th, 2008 6:22 am

    Not to forget, the new NICOP program was initiated under Musharaf

  12. Abid Nadeem says:
    August 30th, 2008 5:38 pm

    I can’t think what’s the logic behind segregation of overseas and local Pakistanis. Why can’t they issue one bilingual ID card which is valid in Pakistan and overseas. They should make things simpler. Now there are many people who alternate their stay in Pakistan and overseas. E.g. stay 3 year overseas then come back to Pakistan. Stay another 3 years and then again some more year overseas and so on. So they are going to change their ID card every time! And each time they change an overseas country they are going to change the card as well. Ridiculous…

  13. Sean Carter says:
    September 5th, 2008 9:41 am

    How did you get the attestation? It says you have to have someone with a NICOP…. but I do not know anyone in the family for this part?

  14. September 5th, 2008 4:04 pm

    Sean Carter,
    Nope, you don’t need someone with a NICOP to attest your application, anyone having a CNIC or a NICOP can do that for you. Related info is here: http://www.nadra.gov.pk/site/452/default.aspx

    “Attester: NICOP form has to be attested by any CNIC/NICOP holder. Blood Relative cannot attest the application form e.g. (Father cannot attest his son

  15. ali says:
    November 4th, 2008 8:59 pm

    thanx for the information .
    but i would like to bring up an issue.

    i have valid us and paki passport and CNIC.
    i am applying for NICOP but recently i called pakistani embassies in chicago/new york/ washigton and i told them that i have dual citizenship like many others and i have both passports valid ..they told me that i have to get VISA for pkaistan other wise FIA WILL DEPORT /FINE ME .
    if i dont have NICOP yet i will need visa.
    and i said why do i have to get visa when i have a valid paki passport.
    they were rude and said ” we will not be responsible ‘
    i work for airline and i have never seen any rules like this in TIMATIC which is the airlines document checking system which giving airline all entry rules for all countries.
    it doesnt sound rite to me but i thought to just share with u .
    can anybody VERIFY this.

    i have pakistani passport valid untill 2013 and i was told to get a visa for my own country .

    thanx

  16. Aisha says:
    November 5th, 2008 9:12 am

    We applied from the Embassy in New York City for both NICOP AND POC CARDS rather than online and received our cards quickly (less than 4 weeks) via regular mail. There is just something comforting about doing this in person plus the people working at the embassy were very helpful with any questions.

    Ali:
    Insha’allah your NICOP will arrive soon. See this website for valuable information regarind nic, cnic, nicop, and poc cards. http://www.pakistan-embassy.org/nicop.php

    DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all of Pakistan’s laws affecting U.S. citizens, individuals who also possess the nationality of Pakistan may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on citizens of that country. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

  17. Aisha says:
    November 5th, 2008 9:32 am

    Pakistan detains, releases man with U.S. citizenship – CNN.com
    A Pakistani man with dual U.S. citizenship was questioned and released after being detained in a dangerous area of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, Pakistani …
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/14/pakistan.man.detained – 71k – Cached

    This was interesting.

  18. Mashkoor says:
    November 12th, 2008 1:26 pm

    If my child was born in the US and I am applying for a NICOP card for him will a birth certificate and copy of my CNIC card suffice? Also do I choose “dual citizenship” in the status part of the application?

  19. kashif says:
    January 11th, 2009 12:28 pm

    will any body tell me about the ID number difference of CNIC and NICOP? normally CNIC number is like 12345-1234567-1 but in NICOP it is written as 123456-123456-1 …. is it correct? or is it mistakenly printed like that?

  20. IBRAHIM says:
    June 13th, 2009 8:28 am

    Hello,

    i need a help, i have a question!

    CAN MY FOREIGNER WIFE (NON PAKISTANI) CAN APPLY FOR POC????

    I HAVE A VALID PAKISTANI PASSPORT SO CAN SHE APPLY FOR POC ON THE BASIS THAT SHE IS LEGALLY MARRIED TO A PAKISTANI?

    NADRA , PAK US EMBASSY, PAK RUSSIAN EMBASSY AND MANY OTHER WEBSITES DOES MENTION THAT FOREIGNER SPOUSES OF PAKISTANIS CAN APPLY FOR POC BUT PRACTICALLY WHEN MY FAMILY WENT TO NADRA OFFICE IN ISLAMABAD THEN THE GUY OVER THEIR TOLD THEM A STRANGE STORY AND SAID THAT ITS NOT POSSIBLE……..

    PLEASE TELL ME WHATS THE REALITY?

    IF ITS NOT POSSIBLE THEN WHY THOSE WEBSITES ARE MENTIONING FALSE INFORMATION???

    PLEASE REPLY ME

    KINF REGARDS,

  21. Owais Mughal says:
    June 13th, 2009 10:18 am

    Ibrahim, short answer is yes she can.

  22. IBRAHIM says:
    June 14th, 2009 6:33 am

    Well thanks Mr.Owais, its nice that you verified my doubt.

    Can you please guide me that how can I apply POC Practically?
    As NADRA website has permanently closed this online option so what to do?
    The guys who are sitting in NADRA Head Office just doesn’t wana help out and are just a source of false information plus they talk about some sttange things which have no logic.

    PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO? TO WHOM SHALL I APPROACH?

    Kind Regars,

    Thanks for giving your time!

  23. Owais Mughal says:
    June 14th, 2009 10:11 am

    Ibrahim, if you are outside Pakistan then you need to contact the PK consulate, they will help you. I believe all you need is to fill up POC form and send notarized copies of documents listed there. e.g. marriage cert, passport, NICOP

  24. Salman Hameed says:
    July 23rd, 2009 4:49 pm

    I need help too!

    My sister’s husband lives in the US. He went there in 2005. (When there was no NADRA system). He told me to send him some documents so that my sister (His wife) could go to US too. Now I am talking about the year 2009. He told me to get the English translation of my sister’s CNIC. So my sister went to local NADRA office and asked for it. They said that you are going abroad so you need a NICOP. My sister applied for it but the address on the card was of US. But She never went to the US. Now when she went for the passport, they rejected her forms. They said to bring the previous passport. But she never had a passport before. So she went back to NADRA and they gave her a document which stated that a citizen of Pakistan can get a NICOP without a passport. She took this document back to the Passport office and they accepted but the address was still of US where her husband lives in the database. She, again, went back to NADRA to change the address to the current address in Pakistan so that she could avoid future problems i.e., she could be asked why the US address in card when you never went there? Meanwhile the address changes but the country mentioned in the card is still US’s. Now my question is, did the Passport data also change? Meaning address changes in their database? Will she be eligible for going to US without any further problems? I curse both the departments for their non-professional behavior throughout this procedure. If they guide us in the very first place, we should not have any problems. But what can we say?

  25. husnain says:
    October 4th, 2009 6:24 pm

    the expiry date is kind of dark and evilish, its based on life expectancy, so if your old your cnic expires earlier, this is to prevent fraudulent voting. my father who is above 60 now, his cnic expires every 5 yrs, mine on the other hand will expire in 20.

  26. Suma says:
    October 18th, 2009 4:39 pm

    Hello, i want to apply online for NICOP, but the Nadra website doesn’t have an option to apply. please heL!P email me.

  27. Muhammad Yusuf says:
    February 11th, 2010 1:15 pm

    I have not found the online NICOP website or link.

    Could someone send me the link.

    Thanks

  28. Adalat Hussain says:
    March 2nd, 2010 9:39 am

    Please remove my earlier page and keep this.

    My name is Adalat Hussain and I am a British Pakistani who thought why don’t I apply for my NICOP card online. Looking back I wish I had not bothered.
    Here is what I process I went through step by step.
    02-11-2008 form completed and fee paid.
    04-11-2008 uploaded more info
    9-11-2008 passport image resubmitted
    12-11-2008 mother’s name mismatch English/Urdu rectified
    16-12-2008 they want phone number in Pakistan, submitted
    5-1-2009 they still want phone number in Pakistan
    11-1-2009 request for phone number in Pakistan/resubmit mother’s/father’s NIC card image
    Faxed two complain letters—– no reply
    Complained online — no reply
    Numerous phone calls— spoke to some Nasir, Rahat Ali, Mazhar Hussain,
    They have
    a image of :
    my British passport Page
    my Pakistan passport page
    my wife’s NICOP card
    my father’ NiCOP card
    My mother’s NICOP card
    My daughter’s NICOP card
    Yet they can’t process my application.
    By fate of miracle online status indicates that they have printed my ID card and despatched it. The despatch date was 13-02-2009.
    But I have not received it here in the UK nor has it been delivered in Pakistan. It is in limbo land
    This is very high tech NADRA system in Pakistan which has won award for innovation.
    The speed with which the case is being dealt with, is breath taking. We are a Muslim nation and so much better than Kuffar .
    Are we really? Corruption has no limit in Pakistan

  29. Jamil says:
    March 5th, 2010 9:37 pm

    Not able to find the link to apply on line at NADRA web site. No information as well anywhere in the NADRA web page, informing as some rules had changed…..

    Does anyone have latest update?

  30. roger says:
    August 27th, 2010 1:54 am

    they don’t do that online anymore, i applied 2 years ago but not anymore

  31. Meengla says:
    August 27th, 2010 3:46 pm

    I just acquired my NICOP through the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC.
    It was a great experience and I am impressed by the professionalism of the Embassy staff as well as of NADRA staff.

    Yes, it was mostly done online: Download form, fill it out, snail-mail. They send you a receipt with a tracking number which gave accurate, up to date information about my application. NADRA even had a DHL tracking number online which tracked my NICOP’s journey from Pakistan to my door step!

  32. saleeem says:
    October 5th, 2010 2:56 am

    where we receive watan card

  33. Hasnain says:
    November 17th, 2010 1:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this information. Greatly appreciated.

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