The government of Nepal has lifted the ban on issuing visa-on-arrival services for international travelers visiting the country. The good news is that the mandatory quarantine is now not required, even for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers.
Traveling is supposed to be one of the most entertaining modes to explore new destinations, meet strangers and become friends within a short span. However, the greatest pandemic of the 21st century, COVID-19 had impacts on almost all industries including tourism, one of the world’s greatest markets.
Now, with the sharp decline in COVID-19 cases, the world has gradually started opening up and Nepal has decided to participate in this revival. For fully vaccinated travelers, all you need is the Vaccination Certificate in English and a filled CCMC form. And, for those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers, you will require a PCR negative report taken 72 hours prior to boarding (not required for children below 5 years of age). Along with it, the CCMC form is required.
Visitors will be provided tourist visas on arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu after fulfilling certain health criteria.
Initially, when the first lockdown was lifted, foreigners were allowed to come to Nepal. For this, they had to get their visas from the Nepal Embassy based in their own country or a neighboring country. But within no time, the virus spread was rampant and Nepal government once again banned international flights as well as all foreign travelers.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 27 April 2021 made certain changes in the guidelines keeping in mind the travel safety measures and hygiene protocols. These safety protocols have more or less remained the same since then except for the mandatory quarantine being lifted. And CDC’s Health Safety Protocols have been quite advantageous, especially for those travelers who have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and now the booster dose as well!
Quarantine Not Mandatory To Enter Nepal
It’s now the best time for avid travelers who had been stuck inside their homes for a pretty long time to get back to exploration. The reason: Nepal has already started issuing on-arrival visas to foreign travelers since a long time now. And the best part is that, you will be allowed to enter Nepal even if you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. But, in this case, you will need a negative PCR test report taken 72 hours prior to boarding (not required for children below 5 years of age).
However, if you are fully vaccinated or even loaded with the booster dose, all you will require is a Vaccination Certificate in English and a filled CCMC form. With much relaxed rules in place, the hopes for tourism resurgence have bounced back in a surprisingly fast pace. The government of Nepal, with various applicable health protocols, has slammed away the quarantine requirements in an attempt to bring back the virus-smacked tourism industry from a short period of hibernation to life.
COVID-19 and the pandemic effect
The 2019 pandemic shut down the whole world virtually keeping people off work and crashed even the mightiest of the businesses around the globe. Although it is not possible to estimate the extent of COVID-19’s economic impact, the whole world suffered socially, financially, mentally, and physically.
Long duration lockdowns in almost every country around the world helped to keep the virus spread in control. But, on the other hand, it was leading to severe economic deterioration. Nepal wasn’t spared either from bearing the adversities that arose from the pandemic. Lockdowns were being called off gradually one country after another.
Nepal too lifted the shutdown and started visa services to foreigners with strict health protocols and compulsory quarantine at that time. But, again the second wave of the coronavirus brought back everything to a complete lockdown for the second time.
After a gap of more than four months, the government of Nepal on 23 September 2021 issued an order stepping on Infectious Disease Act to provide on-arrival visa to international travelers without having to undergo quarantine. But, then a new variant (Omicron) of the virus caused a brief ban on traveling to Nepal.
It was obviously not as easy as it had been in the pre-COVID days to enter Nepal as visitors were required to fulfill several health protocols. But yes, now traveling has become as easy as it used to be before the coronavirus pandemic, with just a couple of immigration requirements.
Requirements for On-arrival Visa to Nepal
- All vaccinated international travels should provide a Vaccination Certificate to prove that they have fully vaccinated.
- All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers will need to provide a negative PCR test report, which is not older than 72 hours of checking-in the flight.
- All travelers will need to fill up a CCMC form.
- For those wish to get their visa before arrival in Nepal, you need to contact the Nepalese Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Why Nepal is Open to Tourism Now?
The government of Nepal decided to lift the ban on issuing On-Arrival Visa to foreign tourists citing that the coronavirus cases have now shrunk rapidly. Further, they have stated that the number of vaccinated people around the world has been on the rise posing less threats of infection in the country.
With complete ease in traveling to Nepal, the government looks forward to boom back to business very quickly. Now all travelers can enter Nepal, regardless of the vaccination status. And, those who have been completely vaccinated need to produce their Vaccination Certificate in English and a filled CCMC form. However, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers need to produce a negative PCR test report taken not later than 72 hours prior boarding their flights. Quarantining has been totally lifted for travelers.
The government of Nepal has stated that COVID-19 has impacted tourism the most in Nepal since the sector is tremendously important to the livelihoods of the locals. In the past two and a half years, the pandemic caused the shutting down of businesses like travel agencies, tour guides, and teahouses in the mountain regions. Due to this, the loss borne by tourism alone has crippled the country and driven hundreds of thousands of citizens into unemployment and poverty. With high hopes of bouncing back early, the government of Nepal has now permitted all international travelers to enter Nepal.
Can I enter Nepal if I have received only a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, according to the press release made by the government of Nepal on 23 September 2021, all international tourists can enter Nepal. However, all travelers including those who have received only a single dose (partial dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine, need to produce a negative PCR test report taken not later than 72 hours prior boarding their flights. Now, there is no requirement for self-quarantining at designated hotels bearing their own expenses. And, THIS is a good news!
What to do when you are in Nepal?
Firstly, it is your health so you need to be responsible for best practices such as:
- Masking up in public or polluted places
- Maintaining some social distance at all possible places
- Washing your hands whenever it is possible
- Don’t forget to respect the local guidelines
If you fall sick or develop any symptoms of illness during the time of your stay in Nepal, get yourself tested in the first place. Try availing medical treatment, and self-isolate until you don’t start feeling better.
Check that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related rescue and treatment besides covering your local activities or an adventure.
Please note that local destinations may have their own entry protocols. So, you need to check beforehand with your tour agency or find information over the internet.
As countries around the world gradually lift travel restrictions and tourism sector resumes at a quicker pace, health is one thing that comes under priority. Likewise, health protocols that will protect travelers, workers as well as communities must firmly be in place. Transformation of tourism industry is only possible through individual contribution as well as collective action and international cooperation.
Now that Nepal has already begun welcoming international visitors, we look forward to an effortless step of sustaining livelihoods that depend solely on tourism. We are hopeful to fall back on track and get back the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people who are now out of work, who have no income and who are already poverty-stricken.