Travel Requirements & Visa Formalities: Bhutan Tourism

Bhutan is a unique destination in Asia, so there are several things that you need to know. Here I’ll be discussing all the travel requirements and visa formalities when you’re planning a trip to Bhutan.

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Travel Requirements & Visa Formalities to Visit Bhutan
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Bhutan is a unique destination in Asia, so there are several things that you need to know. Here I’ll be discussing all the travel requirements and visa formalities when you’re planning a trip to Bhutan.

Generally, the visa procedure is quite simple for Foreigners and for Indians too. However, some basic formalities have to be carried out in the process.

For Foreigners, the visa process is different whereas, for the people of India, Bangladesh and Maldives, the process is different.

Unlike in almost every country, visas are issued from embassies and stamped into your passport. But for Bhutan tourists, it’s different in every respect.

All the foreign tourist except the visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives planning to visit the country Bhutan must obtain a visa clearance prior the travel to Bhutan.

Tourism Council of Bhutan situated in Thimphu the capital of Bhutan approves all the visas issued to tourist who has booked the tour.

You can see the comprehensive list of licensed Bhutanese tour operator here.

Passport for Foreigners and a valid Government ID for Indians along with the Visa or Entry Permit is a must-have document to enter and exit Bhutan.

Travel Requirements and Visa for International Travellers

All international travellers require a visa to enter Bhutan which must be pre obtained through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners.

To get the visa, tourists have to book the tour with the licensed local tour directly or through a foreign travel agent.

For instance, visa clearance will be done within 72 hours once the full payment of your holiday along with your visa fee has been wire transferred in the bank account of Tourism Council of Bhutan.

Related: Places to visit in Bhutan

At the point of entry, the visa will be stamped in your passport. Visa is provided for 7 days that can be extended later in Thimphu.

Travel Documents Required for Visa

As it is mandatory to book a tour through a licensed Bhutanese Tour operator who will apply for your visa on behalf of you.

Generally to apply for a visa all you have to send the photocopy of your passport to your travel operator.

The company or your tour operator agency will be taking care of all your travel-related needs. They will submit the visa application on your behalf for approval to the Tourism Council of Bhutan once you’ve deposited all the fees in advance.

Visa Cost for Foreigner

A visa costs USD$40 for the International tourists visiting the country.

Travel Requirements and Visa for Indian Travellers

Generally, a visa for Indian Travellers and the people of Bangladesh & Maldives is not required. Entry Permit/Pass is considered as a visa and it is easily provided on presentation of a registered government Id proof.

If Indian citizen is entering the country by air then they can obtain the Entry Permit on the Paro Airport itself.

Bhutan Entry Permit
Entry Permit | Source: https://loiteringsouls.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/bhutan.jpg

If in case they are entering by road from the border entry points, entry permit can be obtained from the immigration office in Phuentsholing, Gelephu or Samdrup Jongkhar.

Every tourist needs a special area permit to visit other places in Bhutan.

Travel Documents Required for Visa

Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months or voter ID card or Citizen ID card is required to apply for Visa (Entry Permit). Few other documents that are required are:

  • A duly filled form
  • An itinerary on an A4 sheet
  • Booked Hotel’s Voucher (Mandatory)
  • Passport Size Photo
  • An Undertaking Letter (Only for Solo Travellers)
  • Visa For 18 years old copy of the birth certificate can be considered in case if there’s no other ID proof.

Please note that the Aadhar Card is not considered a valid document while applying for Entry Permit to Bhutan.

Visa Cost for Indians

As of now, an entry permit is free for the people of India, Bangladesh and Maldives.

Timing for Bhutan Immigration Office

Border Immigration Office is open on all working days (Monday to Friday) from 0900 IST to 1700 IST. Same goes with the office in Thimphu.

Please note the offices are closed on Saturday, Sunday and all the Public Holidays.

So if you’re planning to enter the country on the weekend, make sure to change your plan.

Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you answer all the questions you were looking for related to the travel documents and visa formalities to visit Bhutan.

I’ve summed up a few most popular questions I receive with an easy and simple answer.

Do Indians need a visa to visit Bhutan?

No. Citizens of Indian, Bangladesh and Maldives don’t need a visa to visit Bhutan. Entry Permit is provided instead of Visa to visit the country.

Can I visit any part of Bhutan with just a visa?

With Visa or Entry Permit you’re only allowed to visit the Thimphu and Paro. In brief, to visit other parts of the country you need Route Permit and that’s only available at Thimphu Immigration Office.

What is the Validity of Entry Permit?

Entry Permit is valid only for 7 days. However, it can be extended for a maximum of 30 days.

What’s the cost of the Entry Permit for Indians?

It’s free of cost. So what are you waiting for?

How much the Visa costs for Foreigners?

A visa costs USD$40 for the International tourists visiting the country.

How long it takes to get the Entry Permit for Indians?

To get the permit if would take roughly 30 minutes.

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