If you’re planning a trip to Afghanistan, chances are you’ll be crossing the Torkham border from Pakistan. It’s the most direct route from Pakistan to Afghanistan and is the most popular option. But there are a few things to remember when entering Afghanistan through Torkham Border. In this guide, I’ll go over what you need to know before your journey: What documents do you need to bring? What are the visa policies? How do you manage currency exchange? And what should you expect at the border checkpoints?
Get ready as I walk you through all the necessary steps for crossing Torkham Border and entering Afghanistan from Pakistan.
Overview of Torkham Border
The Torkham border crossing is a major border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, located along the Grand Trunk Road on the international border between the two countries. It connects Highway 7 in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan). It is the main point of transit for travelers and goods between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan and a trade route to Central Asian countries. The border is now open for trade and movement of people between the two countries.
Getting to the Torkham Border Crossing
Getting to the Torkham border crossing is the first step in entering Afghanistan from Pakistan. The Torkham border is about 30 kilometers east of Peshawar, in the Khyber region. If you’re coming from Kabul, you’ll have a long drive ahead of you—it’s about 350 kilometers away.
The journey can take up to 3-4 hours by car, depending on traffic or roadblocks, but it can be done faster if you take a taxi or an international bus line. If you’re coming from beyond any other part of the world and want to cross Torkham Border, you can fly to Peshawar International Airport or Islamabad International Airport and then take a taxi or bus to Torkham.
How to apply for an Afghan visa from Pakistan?
The Afghanistan tourist visa application process for local and foreign tourists is simple and quick as long as the necessary documents and information are provided accurately. By following these seven steps, Pakistani Or foreigners can ensure smooth and easy access to Afghanistan visit visas. Applying for a visa well before the scheduled travel date is recommended to ensure sufficient processing time and avoid unexpected issues.
The Afghan government may reject applications for several reasons, including providing inaccurate information, failing to meet requirements, or having a criminal record. In this case, the applicant must reapply and pay the visa fee again. There are two Consulate Generals of Afghanistan in Peshawar and Islamabad, where you can apply for the visa. The fast visa received by travelers is the same day in Peshawar but you can expect 2-10 days for the approval of the visa in some cases.
Gather all the documents required to obtain a tourist visa for Afghanistan, including passports and other supporting documents.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from arriving in Afghanistan. If not, apply for a new passport before applying for the Afghan visa.
- Complete the Afghanistan application form.
- Make an appointment with the Afghan Embassy or Consulate where you are applying. You can do this online or by contacting an embassy or consulate.
- Once done, please submit the required documents along with your passport, make the payment, and submit your visa application at the Afghan Embassy.
- After submitting your Afghan visa application, immigration officials will check your passport and any other documents. Visa applications will be approved or refused based on the information provided in the application form and supporting documents.
- If the application is approved, the applicant will receive Afghanistan in their passport and can collect the passport at the Afghan Embassy or consulate.
Afghan Visa Fee
The Afghan visa fee range from $80 to $210 depending on the nationality.
These visa fees can be different as it’s the information acquired from travelers and you can check the Afghan consulate website for the updated fee information.
Things to Remmeber at Torkham Border
You must apply for an Afghan Visa if you enter the border on foot or in a vehicle. All applications must be made through the Embassy in your home country or Pakistan before arriving at the border. Once you are at the Torkham border, purchasing a visa is impossible, so ensure you have one before arriving.
Crossing by foot is much quicker than crossing with a vehicle. To do so, you’ll need:
- A valid visa for Afghanistan
- A valid Hotel booking or Local Contact (Tour Guide Details)
- No weapons in your possession
- No narcotics in your possession
- Clean clothing for customs officials to inspect (recommended)
- Patience! It may take some time for the process to be completed.
Once you have fulfilled these all, head to the Torkham border, where multiple security gates can be seen that have been set up for crossing on foot, with special lanes marked for pedestrians crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan and vice versa.
After complying with the requirements and agreeing to customs inspections if required, you should eventually be allowed passage into either country, depending on where you travel. Remember that the process can take time, so ensure you’ve packed some patience and necessities!
There are certain things when crossing the Torkham border:
- The border crossing has a terminal, a gate, and other associated infrastructure on both sides. It is the busiest port of entry between the two countries, serving as a major transporting, shipping, and receiving site.
- The border crossing operates from 6 am to 8 pm, seven days a week, except on national holidays in both countries.
- The border crossing has different procedures for immigration, weighing, registration, physical examination, and customs clearance for vehicles and goods crossing the border.
How to reach Afghanistan from Pakistan?
If you’d like to cross the Torkham border, you can do so on foot or by vehicle. Both methods have rules and regulations, but the process should be simple if you adhere to them. From Pakistan, you can take the following route to reach Torkham;
- GT Road Peshawar—Jamrud—-Khyber Gate— Tokham Border
From these points, you can also hire a shared taxi or local bus to take you across the border.
- GT Road Taxi/Bus stop (700-2000/-PKR per person)
- Kharkhano Market Taxi/Bus Stop (400-1000/- person)
From Khyber Gate to Torkham, the area is about 38 km, covered within 1:30 hours. The road to Torkham is mountainous, and you will only find people who speak Urdu or Pashto, a complete Pashtun belt. So, it’s better to have a translation app for easy communication.
You can ride the local bus or shared taxi that charges around 300/- to 1000/- PKR respectively to cross the border. Border crossings usually take 3 to 4 hours, which include traveling, checking, and waiting in the queue.
There is an immigration office before the flagpost, where you must stamp your passport to enter the Afghan zone.
Exchange Currency Before Crossing or in Afghanistan
Crossing the Torkham border from Pakistan to enter Afghanistan is relatively simple, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. One thing that you should consider is currency exchange.
You can exchange your money before crossing into Afghanistan at the border or in Afghanistan. Both have pros and cons, so consider if you want to spend time exchanging money at the border or if you’d rather wait until getting into Afghanistan.
Exchanging your money before crossing into Afghanistan is ideal if you plan on traveling directly away from the border and don’t want to waste time looking for an exchange office. Furthermore, most local shops and service providers close to the Afghanistan side of the border accept Pakistani rupees and American dollars as payment, so it’s best to bring these currencies with you.
Exchanging your money in Afghanistan would also be a better option if Pakistani rupees are unavailable where you travel or prefer a certain currency like Afghanis (the official currency). However, it’s important to note that exchange rates in rural parts of the country may be less favorable than those near big cities like Kabul. You can exchange or give your currency according to their exchange rate.
In sum, deciding whether or not to exchange currency before crossing Torkham depends on where exactly you’re traveling in Afghanistan and what type of currency is accepted there.
Pro Tips To Follow
At the checkpoints within Afghanistan, they check thoroughly and search, so pack carefully, as luggage can get damaged in scanners. Keep most of your cash in your luggage or somewhere discreet on your body. You may be questioned about foreign currency.
With preparation, awareness, and caution, independent travel is possible – though securing a local male companion provides the most hassle-free experience.
- Share taxis from both sides of the border cost around $12-$36, depending on your destination. Take note of locations in Peshawar where you can find taxis to the border.
- Be aware of any restrictions on items you can bring across the border. As the Afghan government strictly restricts what they don’t allow.
- Declare any items you are bringing with you. You may need to fill out a customs declaration form or pay a duty fee for some items.
- Check your vehicle for prohibited items. Ensure your car has no weapons, drugs, or other illegal items.
- Be prepared for inspections. You may have to undergo a security check, a baggage scan, or a vehicle search at the border. Be polite and cooperative with the border officials.
- Have a copy of your itinerary. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your itinerary, including your accommodations and contact information, in case you are asked to provide it at the border.
In conclusion, entering Afghanistan through the Torkham Border can be complicated, but with the proper preparation, it can go smoothly. To successfully cross the border, have valid travel documents, secure the necessary visas, and be aware of the items prohibited at the checkpoint. Additionally, checking the most up-to-date regulations and border hours is always a good idea to ensure the smoothest crossing experience possible. With your bases covered, you’ll be ready to explore Afghanistan and all it offers.
Disclaimer: All information above is gathered from travelers and can be different from the actual situation.