Passport & Visa in Bhutan

Indian citizens do not require visa to enter Bhutan and allows free movement within the country while citizens of Bangladesh and Maldives also do not require a visa provided they have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry. Holders of diplomatic or official passports from Switzerland and Thailand nationals do not require a visa to visit Bhutan for a period up to 90 days.

There is no Visa on Arrival service in Bhutan. Getting visa is fortunately not a difficult process for all foreign travelers although being the strictest process on the planet. You must be aware that you cannot apply your visa on your own self and also the Bhutan Embassy does not have travel visa services. The only way to enter into Bhutan is to book a trip with an international tour operator or a local travel agent registered with the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Bhutan Foreign Ministry. After you have booked a trip, your tour operator will make an application through an online system on your behalf.

For processing your Bhutan visa, you are required to send an electronic copy and a scanned copy of the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator. Your visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan using the details on your passport, which will be processed and cleared as early as 72 working hours. A visa clearance number in the form of a letter will be provided once the visa application is approved. This clearance number will be sent to the tour operator, the immigration terminals at Paro International Airport, road border checkpoint at Phuentsholing, Gelephu or Samdrup Jongkhar as well as both the national airlines of Bhutan, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. Depending on the method how you enter into Bhutan, your visa will actually be stamped into your passport on arrival at the entry point, either road border or at the airport.

Your Bhutan visa will be processed once your tour operator makes the payment of the tour package cost to Tourism Council of Bhutan. The visa clearance number in the form of a letter will be released in as early as 3 days after applying and sent to your tour operator, the airport immigration terminal and specific road checkpoints and also to the airlines that you will be flying with. Usually it is about 1 to 2 weeks before your arrival in Bhutan that your visa clearance is sent to your agency. Based on this clearance number, you will have your visa stamped on your passport at your entry point in Bhutan.

Normally, there is a minimum daily fee for a foreigner visiting Bhutan, which is actually set by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB). Depending on the season and the level of comfort desired by a traveler, the cost of a trip package for a single person per day is anywhere between US$ 200 to 290 or even more. This cost also includes the visa cost, but on its own, the cost for Bhutan tourist visa is US$ 40 per person. However, if you wish to upgrade your hotel accommodation, food and transportation options, then the trip package cost per day will increase accordingly.

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