To visit most countries, you would probably just pack up your travel bags and start your journey without visa or any prior bookings. This is not an option for the Kingdom of Bhutan. Travel to this magical country is highly regulated under the tourism policy of “High Value, Low Impact” and the government strictly discourages backpackers in order to minimize the impact on the country’s unique society and pristine environment. There is no restriction on the number of visitors as misunderstood by many travel enthusiasts around the world.
With the exception of Indian, Maldivian and Bangladeshi, all other foreign nationals must have a valid visa to enter Bhutan. Tourists cannot apply for visa directly without buying a trip. Visas are not issued by any of the Bhutanese Embassies/Missions abroad and therefore, it is only processed and issued in Thimphu through the licensed local tour operators.
It is a regulation by the Royal Government of Bhutan that all visa applications must be processed only upon receiving the full cost of the tour and a separate visa fee of US$40. A clear copy of the bio pages of your passport must be sent to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your passport should have at least six months of validity from the day you depart from Bhutan. You may also want to check the passport validity requirement by your next destination country after you exit from Bhutan.
For a FULL-TIME STUDENT between the age of 13 to 24 years old, a copy of valid student identification card/document from their academic institution is required along with a copy of passport to avail applicable student discount. The student identification card/document must be still valid at the time of exiting the country. We may contact the student card issuing authority to verify the authenticity.
Once we receive the cost of the tour and the visa fee, clear copy of your passport and other documents, we will initiate the visa application process. Visa is applied through an online system by the licensed Bhutanese tour operator like us and then endorsed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan before the final approval by the Department of Immigration. It takes a maximum of 3 working days to get approval. After we receive the approved visa clearance letter in the form of PDF we will send you a copy by e-mail or by fax whichever you prefer. An actual visa will be stamped on your passport at the immigration counter upon your arrival. Tourists are required to present a printed copy of the visa clearance letter at the time of check-in at the airport. Any passenger without a valid visa clearance letter will be denied boarding right at the Check-in counter. Travelers entering Bhutan by land from the border town of Phuentsholing, Gelephu or Samdrupjongkhar are required to present their visa clearance letter at the Immigration counter.
The Visa fee is not included in the minimum daily rate. The Visa fee must be transferred together with the cost of the tour through a wire-transfer as detailed in Tariffs and Payment.
Visa renewal fees can be paid in local currency.
All Indian nationals visiting Bhutan do not require visa to enter Bhutan. However, they MUST produce any of the following identity documents:
An Indian citizen must carry a valid passport when entering from a place other than India and when exiting from Bhutan to a place other than India.
All citizens of Bangladesh and Maldives do not require a visa to enter Bhutan. All that is required is their national passport with a validity of not less than 6 months from the date of departure from Bhutan.