To visit Bhutan, all international tourists, except for those from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives, are required to obtain a Bhutan visa. Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldivian tourists only need a travel permit, which can be obtained in advance or upon arrival by presenting a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity. Indian nationals also have the option to use their Voters Identity Card (VIC) as an alternative document.
In June 2022, the National Assembly of Bhutan passed the new tourism levy bill of 2022. As per this legislation, tourists can now visit Bhutan without paying the minimum daily package rate (MDPR). Instead, they are required to pay sustainable development fees (SDF) of USD 200 per person, per night, regardless of the length of stay. Additionally, there is a one-time non-refundable visa fee of USD 40. Apart from SDF and visa fees, tourists are responsible for separate charges for accommodations, transportation, and other logistical aspects of their trips. This revised policy allows tourists the option to travel without going through a travel agency. However, prior confirmation of hotel and guide services is still required to process Bhutan visas on their own using the immigration website link. Check out the Bhutan Immigration weblink:-
Documentation Required for a Visa
To process your Bhutan visa, you must provide the following documents:
|1. A digital copy of a valid passport.
2. A recent digital passport photo.
3. Arrival and departure dates.
4. Valid travel insurance for the duration of your trip.
5. SDF payment details.
Sample Passport Copy
Typically, you can expect to receive an email copy of your visa approximately 10 days before your intended travel date.
Additional Incentive/Discount on sustainable development fees.
The Royal Government of Bhutan has announced additional incentives on 25 August 23 and policy measures to boost the tourism sector. This is in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment; earning foreign exchange; realizing the potential for spillover benefits for ancillary industries; and boosting overall economic growth.
The incentives and measures shall consist of the following:
- A fifty percent discount shall be granted on the prevailing SDF of USD 200 for US Dollar paying tourists visiting Bhutan. The effective SDF with the discount shall be USD 100 per person per night for US Dollar paying tourists.
- In addition, a fifty percent discount on the SDF shall be granted on the rates applied to children aged between 6 to 12 years for US Dollar paying children visiting as tourists.
- The 24-hour SDF waiver for tourists staying in the border towns shall continue.
The above incentives will come into effect from 1 September 2023 and shall remain effective for four years till 31 August 2027.
- The Royal Government shall conduct periodic assessments of the domestic and international tourism scenarios and may discontinue the above incentives to uphold and promote the High-Value Low Volume Tourism Policy of Bhutan after 31 August 2027.
Indian tourists visiting Bhutan are not required to obtain a visa. However, they must need to obtain an entry permit. This entry permit can either be obtained in advance through a local travel agency or upon arrival at the entry point. You can check our blog post “Guidelines for Indian Tourists Visiting Bhutan”.
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