The Tourist Visa of Bhutan, unlike other countries is not provided on arrival at the airport. Embassies abroad cannot grant the visa either. It has to be arranged through local tour companies or through a foreign travel agent.
Bhutan requires that all tourists have registered guides and private vehicles, and all tours must be arranged through approved tour operators.
Independent & backpackers travellers within the country are not permitted, and there are strict regulations governing entrance to and exit from Bhutan. Along with Bhutan visa, there are also other travel permits required for touring Bhutan, such as the road permit for restricted-areas and entry permit for some temples. It can be all arranged through a tour company.
Bhutan Visa Requirement
1. Indian passport holders can enter Bhutan without a visa either by air or land.
2. Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a permit at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC)).
3. All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior the travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator directly or through a foreign travel agent.
Note: Bhutan recently decided to end free travel for Indian passport holders visiting the country. The country will now charge a fee of Rs 1,200 per day from July 2020. Other countries included in the scheme are Maldives and Bangladesh.
Bhutan Visa Fee
Bhutan Visa fee is 40 USD. Bhutan visa fee can be only paid in US dollar.
The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. The visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.
Validity: Visa is granted for the exact dates of your visit as applied in advance. However extension of visa is possible after arrival in Bhutan.
How to Obtain a Bhutan Visa
The regulation mandate visitors to make full advance payment prior to their travel to Bhutan. Once the operator receives full payment, they process visa with a government through a single window online system. Tourism Council would endorse your visa and ultimately Immigration Department clears your visas. Your e-Visa clearance is a letter stating that the visa is being approved. It’s a page with a government insignia holding details of individual travelers with names, dates, flights, passport number and route that would be used for tour.
The operator would then send this e-Visa clearance letter to you before you begin your journey. You are required to carry this with you to be shown at the airport from where you board your flight to Bhutan. It can be carried either in hard copy or electronically in your phone. You will not be allowed to board your flight without this e-Visa clearance letter. Your actual Bhutanese Visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at Paro international airports on strength of this letter.
Bhutan Visa for Neighbouring Countries
Drukair and Bhutan Airlines are the two air carriers that are in service in Bhutan. Drukair services to and from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Dhaka and Singapore. Bhutan Airlines services to and from Bangkok, Kolkata, Kathmandu and Delhi.
There are two overland entry and exit points – Phuntsholing (a south west town bordering the Indian state of West Bengal) and Samdrup Jongkhar (a south east town bordering Assam). Overland entry from Phuentsholing is more convenient if you wish to visit Sikkim and Darjeeling either before or after Bhutan.
Since you need to get to Bhutan from one of these countries, no matter where you start your journey, you may also need to apply for transit visa of standard tourist visa of the third country.
Traveling to Bhutan from Nepal
If you are traveling from Nepal, it is possible to get a Nepali visa-on-arrival. When landing at Tribhuvan International Airport, you can apply for your visa at the immigration desk within the airport, and then continue into the country. You can also obtain a visa for Nepal from a majority of its foreign embassies and consulates in advance if you are intending to visit in the near future.
It is a good idea to obtain a multiple-entry visa on your first visit if you are entering Nepal on your way to Bhutan and if you plan on going back to Kathmandu after, so that you do not need to apply for a visa again. 24-hour transit visas are freely available and cost just five dollars.
Traveling to Bhutan from India
Nationals of most countries require a visa to visit India. You should get your visa from your home country before you leave, as it is very complicated to get it while traveling. Obtaining an Indian Entry Visa from the embassy in your home country is very simple, and takes only a few days. You will be able to get a three-day permit if you have a confirmed flight out of India and can show exit tickets. If not, it requires a fee to be paid to your embassy in India for them to fax the Indian embassy in your home country to get the visa. It can take up to three weeks to process it this way.
Traveling to Bhutan from Bangkok & Singapore,
Bangkok & Singapore has a list of several countries where a visa is not required. You may not have to apply for a transit visa if you are on the list of their visa-exempted countries.
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