Bhutan Visa - All The Procedures You Need To Know for A Hasslefree Trip

Bhutan is a treasure trove of experiences. The joy of participating in the colourful annual festival of Tshechu, eating the scrumptious regional food, speaking Dzongkha and most importantly seeing the beautiful surroundings and appreciating the glory of nature, is just one-fourth of all the experiences Bhutan blesses you with. But this fun venture does not come for free. There is a responsibility which comes with planning a fun trip to Bhutan that is applying for a Bhutanese Visa!

So, what all you need to keep in mind when applying for a visa in Bhutan, where you can apply for it and other FAQs will be answered in this blog.

Bhutan Visa for Indians

Indian Passport, Bhutan Visa
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This is great news for Indians travelling to Bhutan because there is no need to acquire a Visa to travel across the country. This is because of the 1949 treaty signed between the two countries which allow free movement of Indians in Bhutan and vice-versa. In fact, the same applies to travellers from Bangladesh and Maldives.

For these travellers, a valid passport applicable for at least 6 months is enough to travel to Bhutan an the other aforementioned countries. Indian travellers can use their Voters ID card also for this purpose if they do not have a passport.

Bhutan Visa for Foreign Nationals

For any traveller who is not from India, Bangladesh or Maldives, a visa is required to enter and visit the country. The visa is issued by Tourism Council of Bhutan, whose centre of administration is in Thimphu. However, if an individual holds a service or diplomatic passport of Switzerland or Thailand, then he/she does not require a visa to visit Bhutan for up to 90 days.

Application for Bhutan Visa cannot be filed directly by an individual. Rather, Bhutan's local and authorized tour operator, with whom the tour package is booked, does this on your behalf. A local tour operator can either be booked directly or through a foreign travel agent. 

How to Apply for a Bhutan Visa

DrukAir Flight, Bhutan Visa
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First of all, the entire trip needs to be planned in advance and booked by an authorized tour operator. The processing for the visa will start only after paying the full amount to the travel agent. A scanned colour copy of your passport is also needed for your visa to be approved. The passport must be valid for minimum 6 months after arrival in Bhutan. The DrukAir flight tickets need to be booked in advance before applying for the visa.

A compulsory daily fee of USD 200 is charged for a low season and during high season, the price is USD 250 per day. Your full number, occupation, email ID and contact number should be submitted to your Bhutan travel agent for the purpose. Students can also submit a scanned copy of their ID cards to avail the students' discount in various shops and showrooms.

After everything is done correctly, a visa clearance letter will be issued to you, which will be required for your entry into the country. The visa is stamped inside your passport.

Other Required Permits to Enter Bhutan

An 'Entry Permit' to enter Paro and Thimphu is issued to all the tourists upon their arrival. It is usually valid for 7 to 14 days. But all the other regions of Bhutan are restricted to visit and a special 'Restricted-Area Permit' is needed to visit those areas. This is arranged by the tour operator.

How to Obtain the Bhutan Visa

Visa of Bhutan (an older version)
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Your Bhutan visa would be enclosed as an electronic document and will be received 3-10 days prior to your departure. A print out of that needs to be taken out and shown at DrukAir flight check-in counter and at the immigration checkpoint in Paro International Airport.

So overall, it is a rather hassle-free procedure to obtain a tourist visa in Bhutan, provided you ensure you follow protocol. Everything is taken care of by the travel agent after you have submitted all the required documents online. No hard copy of passport or any other ID card needs to be submitted while applying for the visa as everything is processed online. After these formalities are all over, an amazing trip to Bhutan awaits you!

This post was published by Tina Garg

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