Permits required to enter Bhutan from India

Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians: Documents, FAQs & Tips for a Solo Trip

About the post: In this detailed post on Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians, I had simplify the complete process and what to expect at Bhutan Immigration Office at Phuentsholing – especially if you are traveling solo. Note: You can also obtain the entry permit from Paro if you are flying directly. However, in this post, I won’t be talking about that.

4 hours! That’s all it takes from Bagdogra airport by road to reach the entry point of Bhutan – Phuentsholing.  Upon arrival get ready to transport yourself into a world of magnificent mountains, monasteries, and magic! But first, all travelers from visa-free countries like Indian, Bangladesh and Maldives must obtain an entry permit from the Immigration office and the Entry Permit serves as a ticket to explore the fabled resplendence of the country.

Paro Taktsang in Bhutan

 

After an exhilarating trip to Bhutan, I’m delighted to share the fluent process of obtaining Bhutan Entry Permit that can be completed in all of 30 minutes (conditions apply*). Here’s how:

An Immigration form is readily available at any shop near the Bhutan Immigration Office at Phuentsholing or at any hotel reception where you stay in Phuentsholing. That has to be filled up and submitted to the authorities of the Immigration office along with other required documents in person on all working days from 9 AM to 5 PM. The office remains closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Government holidays.

Pro Tip: Please arrive at the Immigration office at 8:30 am*  with all your documents ready and stand in the queue for the office to open at 9 AM. You can prepare your documents the previous day.

The documents that you need along with the immigration form are:

  • Photocopy of your identity card – Passport or Voter’s ID card (You don’t need a Passport if you have a Voter’s ID card)

  • Proof of confirmation of hotel booking for initial days (at least first night).

  • One passport size photograph

  • If you are travelling solo, you also need to present a hand written undertaking stating that you are travelling solo at your own risk, along with a few emergency contact numbers

Please See, If you are NOT carrying Passport/Voter’s ID card, you have to visit Indian Consulate Office in Bhutan to get an identification slip and then apply for Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians at Bhutan Immigration Office. This may cause an additional delay in the process, so please bear in mind the time you will require in your itinerary for the same.

Local natives of Bhutan during their daily chores
Local natives of Bhutan during their daily chores

 

Entry fees to get the Permit:

Though we do not require any visas, we need to pay a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) to visit Bhutan.

For Indian tourists, the SDF to enter Bhutan is INR 1,200 per person per night. While children aged between 6 and 12 years have to pay 50% of SDF, it is waived off for children aged 5 years and below.

Note that the SDF of INR 1200 per person per night is only for residents of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. Citizens of all the other countries visiting Bhutan are required to pay a high SDF of 200 US dollars (approximately INR 17,000) per person per day.

Once, you get the stamped and signed Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians, you are gifted with the chance of exploring the Great Himalayan Kingdom with traditional Buddhist culture embracing global developments and a plethora of serene grandeur of nature. Bhutan is no ordinary place. Indeed!

Click here: Bhutan 7 Days Itinerary – The Best Solo Travel Experience Guide

 

Some Frequently asked questions –

  1. Do I need to contact a travel Agency to obtain an Entry Permit?

    Honestly, you don’t need to get in touch with a travel Agent for your entry permit. It’s a pretty simple and free process. If you have all your documents. It barely takes any time to get the signed copy. ONLY contact a travel agent if you are short on time or if you want the convenience of not having to complete the process yourself. The advantage of getting an entry permit through a travel agent can be, that you can get a longer duration permit without having to visit Thimphu Immigration Office yourself.

  2. Can I get the entry permit if I am a male travelling SOLO from India?

    This is a question that plagues a lot of solo male travellers with a lot of contradictory answers all over the internet. Even I wasn’t sure of the answer before I travelled myself. But a lot of travellers have confirmed that it is possible. You just have to write an undertaking like solo female travellers along with your other documents to be able to travel to Bhutan.

  3. Who should the undertaking be addressed to?

    All solo travellers need to write an undertaking manually stating that he/she is responsible for his/her own security and the letter must be addressed to ‘The Immigration Officer, Immigration Office, Phuenstholing, Bhutan.’ Also specify your emergency contact information at the bottom of the signed letter.

  4. In what format will I receive the permit?

    If you are carrying your passport as proof of identity, the Permit will be issued on your Passport. If you are carrying a Voter’s ID card, you will get a signed and stamped page. Please keep this page safely, since it needs to be submitted at the last Immigration Check Point while exiting Bhutan.

  5. Where is the Entry Permit Checked?

    It is checked at the first check-post when you leave from Phuentsholing, within 5 Km of leaving the city. Also, you need to return your permit on the way back or get stamped on your passport. So, please keep the Permit safe with you.

  6. Can I drive my own car/bike which is registered in India, to Bhutan?

    Yes, it is possible for you to drive your own car/bike to Bhutan. However you need to obtain an additional permit for your vehicle from Transport Authority Office situated at the bus stand. For the permit you need vehicle RC, Insurance, PUC, tax receipt, Driving licence and Bhutan Entry Permit of the driver. The name of the driver on DL should match the name of the Entry Permit (obviously!). The whole process of obtaining the permit can take up to 2 hours.

These were all the frequently asked questions related to Bhutan Entry Permit. If you have more questions related to travelling in Bhutan, you can also check another post dedicated to ALL frequently asked questions HERE.

Have you ever traveled to Bhutan on your own or is it on your travel bucket list? Let me know in comments below!

Watch this video for further reference:

realize our actions will have consequences and most importantly, travel by respecting the environment.(22).png

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