Can Foreigners Buy Property in Pakistan?
Foreigners often wonder about purchasing property in Pakistan. However, regulations governing foreign land ownership, defined by the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FEDA) of 1947 and the Pakistan Citizenship Act of 1951, limit ownership opportunities for non-nationals. Purchasing property in Pakistan as a foreigner is prohibited, with the exception of certain circumstances like joint ventures with Pakistani citizens, diplomatic missions, and foreign corporations. There is no cap on agricultural land, even though restrictions permit land ownership up to 18% of the total land area in certain situations. In spite of this, some have obtained the property illegally by transferring it to Pakistani relatives or using nominees; this practice puts the real estate at risk of being seized by the government. In 2013, Pakistan registered 17,677 foreign investors.
Restrictions on Foreign Property Ownership
- Limited Ownership: Foreigners can’t own property in Pakistan unless under unique circumstances like diplomatic missions or joint ventures with locals.
- Capital Restrictions: Ownership is capped at 2% of the total land area, and limits exist for land sizes in provincial capitals.
- Permit Requirements: Obtaining permits, including a property purchase permit from provincial governments and approvals from various authorities, is mandatory for foreign property ownership.
- Provincial Variances: Some provinces like Sindh and Balochistan restrict foreigners from owning any real estate.
Required Permits for Ownership
To own property in Pakistan as a foreigner, obtaining permits is crucial:
- Property Purchase Permit from the provincial government, generally granted to nationals of countries with diplomatic ties with Pakistan, costing approximately $2,000 and requiring renewal every six months.
- NOC from the Ministry of Interior, approval from the Pakistan Board of Investment, FERA clearance, valid passport and visa, and proof of funds.
Approaches to Purchasing Property
Two primary methods exist for property acquisition:
- Through a Pakistani National: A Pakistani national must purchase the property on behalf of the foreigner, handling legalities and interactions with authorities.
- Via a Foreign Investment Company: A foreign investment company can facilitate legal proceedings yet often charges a higher commission.
Key Considerations and Questions
When contemplating property purchase in Pakistan, it’s essential to consider:
- Reasons behind the purchase
- Financial feasibility
- Purchase procedures and associated risks
- Foreign ownership restrictions and market values
While foreigners do have an interest in Pakistani property investment, the regulations pose significant hurdles. Conversely, Pakistanis are also investing in properties globally. By lowering taxes and providing incentives, the government promotes the expansion of the real estate industry. Despite limitations, yes, foreigners can indeed buy property in Pakistan.
The agricultural sector of Pakistan has great potential to thrive in the country. It provides lucrative opportunities for investors to generate long-term wealth. However, investors should have a clear financial plan in mind before making hasty decisions.
Agricultural 1 acre land price varies from 10 lac to 30 lac depending upon location and availability of water.
Every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property in any part of Pakistan, subject to the Constitution and any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest.
In case of property grabbers/qabza group, you do not need to file civil suit in Civil Court instead of civil suit you are to lodge a complaint in the Sessions Court. Upon a complaint the court may direct the officer-in-charge of a police station and the concerned revenue officer to investigate in the case.
Azhar Rasheed is a Web Designer and Content Writer with a distinguished career spanning over 1.5 years.