Your passport needs to have at least 6 months’ validity calculated from the date on which you leave Bhutan. You will also need to make sure that you have a spare page for a visa for Bhutan, as well as space for the visas for any countries you are visiting en route. If you need to get a new passport please do so well before your planned trip so that there is no delay in applying for your Bhutanese visa.
You will need to fill in a form for us with some personal information, and send us a scanned copy of the identity page of your passport (preferably in colour) and then we will apply for your visa for you once your funds have arrived in Bhutan. Visas are usually authorised in the month before your trip, so long as funds have been received in full at that point.
We will send you a copy of the visa clearance once your visa has been authorised and you will need to carry this with you as you will need to produce it both to the airline on check in and then again when you reach Paro where the actual visa will be stamped into your passport on arrival. Please note that if you are not carrying a copy of the visa clearance you will not be able to board the plane to Paro. Please make sure you remember to take it with you to avoid disappointment.
If you come in overland the process is similar and you need advance clearance of your visa in the same way. Your actual visa will be stamped in your passport when you arrive at the border at Phuntsholing or Samdrup Jongkhar.
Don’t forget to make enquiries about visa requirements for any countries you are passing through en route even if you are only in transit, but you don’t need visas if your Bhutan flight has a stopover as you will not be disembarking.
Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldives nationals
Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldives nationals do not require a visa to visit Bhutan. Indian nationals are required to carry one of two valid Travel Documents: (i) a valid Indian passport with a minimum of 6 months’ validity; and/or (ii) a Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India. You will need to produce one of these two documents both on checking in for your flight to Bhutan and then again on arrival in Paro. Here, if you have a passport an ‘entry permit’ will be stamped into your passport on arrival and if you travel with your Voter Identity Card, they will issue an entry permit for you. Please note that if you are not carrying one of these two travel documents, you will not be able to enter Bhutan.
Bangladeshi and Maldives nationals need to carry a passport with a minimum of 6 months’ validity and the same arrangements apply as explained above.
The entry permit allows you to visit Thimphu and Paro only, therefore if you are travelling beyond Thimphu and Paro, you will need to acquire a ‘route permit’ which we will make for you. For that we will need a scanned copy of the identity page of your passport or the Voter identity card, and also the copy of your entry permit, which we will collect from you on your arrival.
Similarly, if you are coming to Bhutan by road, you are required to obtain an ‘entry permit’ on the basis of a valid Travel Document from the Immigration Office of the Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuntsholing, which is located on the Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal. Our guide will help obtain the entry permit for you. In case, you are not carrying a valid travel document, you will need to approach the Indian Consulate Office in Phuntsholing and apply for an ‘Identification Slip” with proper proof of nationality.