Do visitors need a visa to visit Bhutan?
- Yes, all visitors will need a visa to visit Bhutan, except for visitors from India, who will require a permit.
- Nationals of Bangladesh and the Maldives shall be eligible for a visa on arrival at the port of entry.
- Nationals of Switzerland and Thailand holding diplomatic and official passports shall be eligible for a visa on arrival at the port of entry.
- Visitors from India will need a permit to visit Bhutan. This applies to anyone holding an Indian passport, or an Indian voter ID card. For Indian nationals aged under 18 years, a passport or a birth certificate will suffice, and they must be accompanied by legal guardians.
How can visitors process their visa or permit?
- Visitors can process a visa or permit online from the website of the Department of Immigration. Visitors can also engage tourism service providers (see www.bhutan.travel for more details) to process the travel documents and plan a trip. The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) will also offer customer service to help answer questions regarding visa applications and to answer questions about travel within the country.
- Although visitors from Bangladesh and Maldives can process visas on arrival and visitors from India can process permits on arrival at the port of entry, it is recommended that these be applied online to reduce wait time and for faster clearance at the port of entry.
What are documents required to process the visa?
- A passport copy is required. The passport must be valid for six months from the intended date of departure from the Kingdom;
- Travel insurance is valid for the duration of the trip; and
- A recent passport-size photograph.
How much is the visa fee and how long does it take to issue?
- The visa fee is USD 40 per person and it is non-refundable. While the process to issue the visa is usually quick, the visa can take up to five working days to process.
What are the documents required to process the permit (for Indian guests)?
- Visitors from India can use a passport or voter ID card. Children under 18 years of age can use a birth certificate or passport and must be accompanied by a legal guardian.
- A passport size photograph is also required.
- Travel insurance is required and should be valid for the whole duration of the trip.
How can I purchase insurance if I don’t have any?
- There is also an option to purchase domestic travel insurance from Bhutanese insurance providers at the port of entry during arrival. There are also tourism information officers stationed at all ports of entry who can assist travelers. Click here to get details on the insurance from Bhutan Insurance Limited.
Sustainable Development Fee
What is the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)?
- From our reopening on September 23, visitors to Bhutan will make an active contribution to Bhutan’s economic, social and cultural development. The Sustainable Development Fee enables investment in transformative programmes that preserve our cultural traditions, protect our heritage and environment, upgrade infrastructure, create opportunities for our young people, and build resilience. For more on the SDF, visiting Bhutan and our plans, visit www.bhutan.travel.
How much is the SDF and where do the funds go?
- Guests from India are levied SDF of Nu. 1,200 or equivalent amount in INR per person per night, which will remain in effect for two years, following which time it may be reviewed and revised in keeping with the principle of the preferential rate after two years.
- Visitors from all other countries are levied SDF of USD 200 per person, per night.
- There will be a concessionary levy of 50% on the SDF for children between the ages of 6-12 years and exemptions of SDF for children aged 5 years and below.
- The SDF funds go to the national exchequer and are allocated to various projects that enhance facilities, services and infrastructure for nationals and guests who visit Bhutan, as well as funding free healthcare and education.
How can the SDF payment be made?
- The SDF must be paid during the visa or permit application via wire transfer or using a credit card.
- The SDF must be paid in USD; however, Indians can also pay in INR.
- A guest who is eligible for a visa on arrival, should also pay the applicable SDF in USD at the port of entry.
Will day visitors be levied SDF?
- The SDF will be waived for visitors to the Bhutanese towns bordering India, until the first designated point identified by the Government. The SDF will be levied on visitors spending the night within border towns.
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