Bhutan Visa

Bhutan Visa

Comprehensive Guide to Bhutan Visa Policy

Are you planning a journey to the enchanting Kingdom of Bhutan? To ensure a smooth and memorable trip, it’s essential to understand the intricacies of the Bhutan Visa Policy. Bhutan is a unique destination with a focus on “High Value, Low Impact Tourism,” a policy designed to protect its rich cultural heritage and pristine environment. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore all aspects of the Bhutan Visa Policy, providing you with the information you need to make your journey hassle-free and extraordinary.

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Understanding the Bhutan Visa Policy

The Bhutan Visa Policy is built on the principles of preserving the nation’s distinct society and natural beauty. To achieve this, Bhutan restricts the number of tourists entering the country, ensuring that mass tourism does not compromise its unique character and environment. Unless you are a citizen of a neighboring country, you will need to obtain a Bhutanese visa before visiting Bhutan. These visas are exclusively available through authorized tour operators, and while the cost may seem high (USD 200 per day), it includes a wide range of services, such as accommodation, meals, and transport.

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Requirements for Tourist Visas

For citizens of Maldives, India, and Bangladesh, there is an option to obtain a permit to enter Bhutan at the port of entry. However, this is contingent upon having a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months. Indian citizens also have the option of using their Voters Identity Card (VIC) for entry. In addition to the passport requirements, these citizens are required to pay a “sustainable development fee” of approximately US$17 per day for their stay in Bhutan.

For citizens of other countries, obtaining a visa clearance before visiting Bhutan is mandatory. The process involves submitting a photo page of your passport to an authorized Bhutanese tour operator linked directly to the Tourism Council of Bhutan. This operator will process the designated visa, which usually takes 72 hours upon receiving the full payment for your trip, including a USD 40 visa fee. Once the visa is approved, it will be stamped into your passport at the point of entry in Bhutan.

It’s important to note that entry into Bhutan is only permitted through specific points of entry, including Phuntsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar for land travelers and Paro for those arriving by air.

Visa Requirements for Specific Countries

Bangladesh, India, and Maldives Citizens: Citizens of these three countries can enter Bhutan with just their passports, provided they have a minimum of six months’ validity. They are also subject to a “sustainable development fee” of USD 17 per day during their stay.

Other Tourists: Travelers from countries not mentioned above are required to pay a sustainable development fee of USD 65, based on the Minimum Daily Package offered by tour operators. To process the visa, you must send a photo page of your passport to the tour operator, who will apply for the visa upon receiving your payment. The visa is valid for single entry and remains valid for the same number of days as your tour duration.

Online Regional Permit System

Bhutan has introduced the Online Permit System, which expedites permit processing for regional tourists, particularly Bangladeshis, Indians, and Maldivians. This program is available through authorized Bhutanese tour operators and TCB-certified hotels, allowing travelers to obtain their permit clearances and route permits before arriving in Bhutan.

[Note: This article is provided for informational purposes only and may be subject to changes or updates. Always verify the latest visa requirements and policies before planning your trip to Bhutan.]

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