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Bhutan Visa Information

BHUTAN VISA 2023/24

A Bhutan visa is a must for all travelers coming to Bhutan. When Bhutan opened its gate to international tourists in the year 1974 the visa system was completely different. Now all visa for Bhutan is applied online and Bhutan travel has become easy.

The first tourist entered Bhutan from Phuntsholing southern Bhutan bordered India. Bhutan Flights were not yet introduced and tourists took a 2-day bumpy ride in Mahindra Jeep to reach the capital Thimphu. 

Tourism was not privatized yet and Government took care of all tourism businesses. Slowly the business was handed over to the private sector and over the years the number of tourists traveling to Bhutan grew by thousands. 

As per the Tourism Council of Bhutan, Bhutan issued 269000 visas and permits for Bhutan in 2019 making Bhutan the top 20 destinations to visit by lonely planet.

IS IT EASY TO GET BHUTAN VISA?

Getting Bhutan Visa looks complicated at first as no foreign embassy can process your visa for Bhutan. With the new Tourism Levy Rule 2022 anybody can apply for Visa by visiting the Immigration website. Upon arrival, you should have Hotel Booking not less than a 3-star Hotel, Licensed and safe Guide for approval of Visa at the Airport. Bhutan Tour

Who can apply for my Visa?

Anybody can apply for Bhutan Visa as long as tourists agree to pay SDF fees. Sustainable Development Fees for Foreigners other than Indian national is USD 200 per person per night and for Indian national is INR 1200 per person per night.

There is also another type of Visa that a Government foreigner can apply for. Different types of Bhutan visas and details are found here in MOFA.  

Visa for Indian nationals, Bangladeshi, and Maldives is different as they don’t need to pay the Visa fees of USD 40 or daily tariff like other national. There are three types of permits for this 3 nationality. They are Entry Permit, Route Permit, and Advance online Permit.

Entry Permit: The permit you get upon arrival at the airport or Immigration office is an entry permit. This permit is only valid to visit Thimphu, Paro, and Phuntsholing.

Route Permit: Route permit is a permit that allows you to visit other places like Punakha, Bumthang, Phobjikha, and Trongsa. You only get a route permit from Thimphu.

Advance Online Permit:

This permit is a special permit just like Visa for foreigners. Upon getting this permit you do not need to apply for a route permit. This advance permit covers all your approval to visit places. This advance permit is only given to those travelers having valid passports only.

 

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO APPLY PERMIT FOR A FREE VISA

You need proper documents like a passport or voter card to get the permit. OCI card holders for Non-Resident Indians do not qualify as Indian nationals, to enter Bhutan. You have to process the Visa just like a Foreign national upon paying daily tariffs and Visa fees. 

 

ENTRY INTO BHUTAN

Tourists can enter Bhutan either by flight or by land. Flight to Bhutan operates from Delhi, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Singapore, Kolkatta, Guwahati, and Bagdugra or overland road trip from Phuntsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, and Gaylegphu which is recently opened. Your Visa will be stamped upon arrival from the entry point.

 

5 Tips to know while applying for Bhutan Visa 2023/2024.

Bhutan Tour Itinerary: Your Bhutan Visa is issued as per your tour itinerary. A major change in the program is not entertained and places not mentioned in the visa will not be permitted to visit. So you should carefully plan your program before confirming your tour. 

Fight Tickets: Bhutan Visa is issued based on your return flight tickets. Visa also has your entry and exit sector. If you are entering Bangkok but your visa has Delhi Sector mentioned, then you will be denied entry into Bhutan. You need to check that beforehand when you get your Visa.

Hotel Accommodation: Your hotel accommodation is mentioned in your visa at each destination so that in case of emergency Government can extend help immediately.

Guide details: Visa contains the details of the Guide, his license number, and his name in your visa. Everything is organized well in advance so that you have a comfortable vacation.

Valid Passport: Your passport should have a validity of 6 months during your trip and at least a blank space for the visa stamp.

Applying for Bhutan Visa from India, Nepal, Thailand, the US, Canada, and America are the same and all should process either through an International company or a local tour operator.

 

BHUTAN TOUR COST AND WHAT IS INCLUDED:

With the minimum daily tariff lifted from 2022 the cost of the tour will depend upon the individual tour operator. 

Best Time to Travel in Bhutan

The best time to travel Bhutan is during Peak season. This time of the year has lots of local festivals and the weather is very favorable to explore the cities and valleys. Whereas the lean season is cold and monsoon rains are rampant and landslides and snow can be expected.

 Minimum Hotel allowed for tourists to stay in 3-star Hotel. 

The package cost includes the following services as follow:

1: Best Accommodation (3* Hotels) on twin sharing basis
2: All the meals
3: Land transport within Bhutan
4: Services of an English Speaking guide
5: Supply of pack ponies, yak, trekking crews and porters for the trek
6: All necessary camping equipment for Treks (excluding sleeping bags & sleeping mat).
7. All entrance fees.
8: Bhutan Visa
9: 37% Government TAX
10: Tea & Snacks

Package cost does not include:

1: Airfare
2: Laundry
3: Privates call
4: Beverages or Drinks
5: Insurance for travel and other contingencies.

Single supplement charges of US $ 35 per night halt per person will apply for any single room requirement.

 

IS THERE ANY RESTRICTION ON THE NUMBER OF TOURISTS?

There is no restriction for any number of tourists traveling to Bhutan as long as they fulfill the formalities. There is also no restriction on the nationality of tourists visiting Bhutan as people understand it. As long as the tourist pays the daily tariff and books through a licensed local tour operator of Bhutan, Bhutan Visa is guaranteed.

 

Why Sustainable Development Fees for Bhutan Visa?

For a Bhutan visa, 100% upfront payment of Sustainable Development Fees is mandatory. Service payments like Hotels, Transport, guides and meals will depend upon the service provider. You can negotiate the payment method with the Tour Operator or service provider.

Upon the receipt of the Sustainable Development Fees Department of Immigration will issue the Bhutan Visa.  

Is it safe to transfer all Payments in advance?

Yes, it is completely safe to transfer the tour payment. The government will release the payment only after your Bhutan tour gets over. Tour operators have to prepare the invoice and submit it to the TCB for payment. If any discrepancies arise during the tour then we will be denied the payment. So your payment is very safe.

Note: People misunderstand the process of full payment for the Visa but it is not. The Visa fee is only 40$.

The daily tariff covers the entire tour cost on a daily basis. So when the process of full payment is done, it covers the entire tour period but it excludes Air Fare.

 Is there any Visa Restriction for BHUTAN?

No there is no restriction on Visas. Some nationalities like Indian, Maldives, and Bangladeshi don’t need a visa and their visa is upon arrival.

What documents are required to process Bhutan VISA?

For Bhutan Visa, you need to have a valid passport scanned in color and send it to us. You also need to fill Visa form. Your payment is a must and should reach us on time if everything is in order the visa will just take 72 hours during working days. The approved visa letter will be emailed to you. The visa-approved letter issued by the immigration office should be produced while boarding the plane. Upon arrival at Paro airport, your actual visa will be stamped.

Does Visa get rejected? 

No, the visa doesn’t get rejected unless you have an expired passport or have any legal issue with the government or your sustainable Development Fees are not updated with the Department of Immigration.

What is the Visa FEE? 

The visa fee is just $40 per person and everyone including the child has to pay.