Presently, for citizens of India, Bangladesh & Maldives, there’s no need for any Visa to visit Bhutan, but various Permits are required to visit various regions of Kingdom of Bhutan. The current trend of visiting Bhutan in increasing exponentially. I have noticed that they are not encouraging tourism as a whole when I stood in the queue at Phuentsholing immigration office. I noticed that there are lots of confusions and various queries coming up with Bhutan’s Permit System. Therefore, I am writing and sharing this post- Bhutan visa for Indians tourists.
The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan is strict about the entry permits. So please make sure your documentation is correct and in order before approaching the Immigration Office. During peak season or long weekend, keep enough time in hand, as after the introduction of biometrics the process takes much longer than before. The process might take a full day or two days also. I have a very bitter experience during Bengali festive month (October)
I’ll brief point to point about Bhutan visa for Indians each of the processes below:
Entry permit for Indian tourists
1. Except visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors traveling to Bhutan need a visa.
2. Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a permit at the point of entry on producing passport photo and relevant documents.
3. First of all, there are two kinds of Permits
a) Entry Permit
b) Inner Line Permit (ILP)
4. Entry Permit: You need to obtain Entry Permit while entering Bhutan and is only valid for travelling up to or within Thimphu and Paro.
5. Entry Permit can be obtained at 4 designated places. India has three road entry points to enter Bhutan through road one each at Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. The best possibility is to use the first route that’s through Phuentsholing. Phuentsholing shares neighborhood with the city of Jaigaon on the Indian aspect. The fourth entry point is Paro airport if you entered Bhutan through air.
6. You are allowed to stay at Phuentsholing without permits. So if you are planning to reach on a Sunday, instead of chaotic Jaigaon, stay at Phuentsholing for a pleasant experience.
7. Immigration Office at Paro Airport work all days irrespective of weekends and holidays. So if you are planning to enter Bhutan on weekends or govt. holidays, and you can afford the flight to Paro, this is your best option.
8. Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu are another entry/exit points for Bhutan but they are not so frequently used as compared to Phuentsholing.
9. Online permit facility is not available till date.
10. Below are the documents you require:
i) Whole itinerary in a paper,
ii) Hotel Booking Mandatory for Entry Permits. A new rule has been introduced by Bhutan Govt., stating that all regional tourists have now to produce hotel booking receipts (either from hotel / tour operator) in order to get the entry permits. Hotel booking receipts are either online, travel agents or direct.
(iii) Entry Permit form should be fully filled up and signed.
(iv) Photocopy of Voter ID card / Passport. Keep original for verification.
(v) Passport Size Photo (2 copies).
(vi) For kids below 18 Years, Birth Certificate and School ID Card (optionally, if applicable) would suffice.
(vii) If you do not have either of Passport / Voter ID Card, then you must first visit Indian Consulate, Phuentsholing to get an Identification Slip with whatever documents you have (Aadhaar Card / Pan Card / Driving License / Ration Card) along with Passport Size Photo to prove your nationality and obtain an Identification Slip and then visit Immigration Office to get Entry allow with the Identification Slip provided by Indian consulate.
10. First step is that, you need to submit the documents (as mentioned above) to the Immigration Officials. And after first round of verification they will accept the documents.
11. Then you will be told to stand in the queue of biometric verification. Biometric verification is compulsory for every member of group. Once you are done for the biometrics you need to wait till your Entry Permits are printed and handed over to you from the counters towards the Exit. However, Biometric verification is not required who are entering Bhutan through flight.
12. Biometric verification is any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits. Unique identifiers include fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA, and signatures. In Bhutan Immigration office only collect data of fingerprint and retina 7 iris patterns.
13. Throughout the process only one member from the group needs to stand in the queue.
14. ILP (Inner Line Permit): If you want to travel anywhere beyond Thimphu and Paro districts, you must apply for ILP at Thimphu Immigration Office. Here you just need to provide photocopy of Entry Permits to obtain the ILP.
15. Ngultrum or Nu is the official currency of Bhutan and at par with INR. However, INR is accepted throughout Bhutan. So in case you are an Indian and visiting Bhutan with INR, there’s no need to convert, and you’ll get returns in Bhutanese currency mostly. However, if anyone wants to exchange, there are lots of options available at Phuentsholing, Thimphu
16. Extension Permit: If you want to extend your staying days in Bhutan, you need to get an Extension Permit (for the extra required number of days) from Thimphu Immigration Office.
17. Vehicle Permit: Tourists planning to drive their own vehicle or rented vehicle have to additionally get their Vehicle Permit from Phuentsholing RSTA after obtaining Entry Permit. For more visit
18. Bhutan Entry Permit/Pass issued at Phuentsholing is applicable only for a period of 7 days and visit to Paro and Thimphu.
19. Your Entry Permit/Pass is checked at multiple check posts throughout Bhutan. So it’s necessary to get Bhutan allow even for Indian Tourists else you’ll be subject to arrest.
20. There are several check points to check your entry/extension permits in Bhutan. You must stamp in your photocopies of permits in all immigration points. If you don’t do that then you have to pay a good amount as fine.
21. There is no fee for entry/exit/extension of Bhutan Permits
22. In case your stay in Bhutan exceeds the duration mentioned in the permits form without extending it, you will be fined 165 NU (for each day of delay) at the check post during your exit from Bhutan. One way to avoid the fine is to add two more days to your original itinerary.
Checkpoints and Important Addresses
Border Immigration Office
This is the most common way of entering Bhutan and thus Border Immigration Offices faces huge rush during peak season and long holidays.There are immigration checkpoints in Bhutan. On the Phuntsholing-Paro-Thimpu route you may encounter checkpoints at Chhukha, Rinchending, and Hongtsho. Your documents are going to be checked at every of those points.
Address of Royal consulate office (immigration office) of Kingdom of Bhutan
Maysel Apartments, Near Bank Colony, Phuentsholing,
Fax no: 00975-5-252992
Immigration office in Thimphu
Norzim Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Address and phone number of Embassy of India, Bhutan (for the use of Indian nationals facing legal/ official issues in Bhutan):
Embassy of India – PO Box: 193, Jungshina, Thimphu
Phone: 2-322162, Fax: 2-323195
All the Immigration Offices works on weekdays from 9AM – 5PM BST with a lunch break of 1 Hour (1PM – 2PM). All the Immigration Offices are closed on Weekends and Bhutan Govt. Holidays. Immigration Counter at Paro Airport is the only exception to the above which works on all days. Please note that 30 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time (IST).
RSTA (Royal Safety Transport Authority)
You need to contact this office for getting road permits if you’re driving your own vehicle to Kingdom of Bhutan at Chukha (near bus stand Phuntsheoling)