Traveling to Bhutan via Transit: Guidelines and Procedures
Traveling to Bhutan involves transit through selected Asian countries due to the absence of direct flights. To ensure a seamless journey, travelers must adhere to transit formalities set by the respective transit countries. Please note that regulations may evolve, thus consulting relevant authorities or airlines closer to your travel date is advised. Bhutan flights operate primarily from the following Asian countries only:
- India, City of Delhi/Calcutta/Guwahati/Bagdogra
- Thailand, City of Bangkok
- Nepal, Kathmandu
- Bangladesh, City of Dhaka
- Singapore, City of Changi
India Transit Guidelines and Procedures
If you are transiting through an Indian airport and not leaving the international transit area, you generally don’t need an Indian visa. However, if you plan to leave the airport or if your transit time is quite long, you might need a transit visa. Check with the Indian embassy or consulate in your country for the latest visa requirements. Additionally, you can get an Indian E-visa that can serve the purpose of like regular visa but is limited to certain airports & seaports only. In case, if you wish to enter or exit Bhutan via land, Indian E-visa is not accepted, and you need a multi-regular visa. Below are general guidelines for transit in India
- Documentation: Make sure to have all your travel documents including your passport (Which is valid for more than 6 months), boarding passes for both your incoming and connecting flights, and any required visas for your destination.
- Eligibility: Some nationalities might require a transit visa for even short layovers, while others might be exempted. Check with the Indian embassy or consulate to confirm the requirements for your nationality.
- Application Process: The application process for an Indian transit visa might involve applying to the Indian embassy or consulate in your home country or at the nearest Indian diplomatic mission.
- Transit Visa Fees: Transit visa fees can vary based on your nationality and the duration of your stay. Check with the Indian embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on visa fees.
- Validity and Conditions: Transit visas are usually valid for the duration of your layover, and you’re generally expected to stay within the international transit area of the airport for 72 hours. If you plan to exit the airport during your layover, you might need to apply for a regular tourist visa.
The Indian government had initiated and introduced eVisa which can obtain online before your travel date. This eVisa can serve the purpose of a regular visa and ease the hassle of going to the Indian embassy or consulate. The visa duration starts date of issue and not on the date of entry. In case, if your eVisa gets expired you have optioned to re-apply and get new eVisa. One cannot Switch or change visa type once issued.
e-Visa Facility for Entry into India: The Indian e-Visa is valid for entry through 24 designated airports (i.e., Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi) and 3 designated seaports (i.e., Cochin, Goa, Mangalore). However, the Indian e-Visa holder can exit from any of the authorized Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India.
Transit Visa Guidelines for Thailand
One can avail Thai transit visa at the Thai Embassy or consulate office in your country and requirements may vary based on your nationality, the length of your layover, and the specific regulations in place at the time of your travel. Transit visas typically allow you to stay in Thailand for a limited period, often ranging from a few hours to a maximum of 24 to 48 hours, depending on the specific type of transit visa issued. Further, they do facilities transit visas (TVOA) on arrival for certain nationalities under specific conditions. However, these policies can change, and it’s essential to confirm the status and requirements directly from official sources. If your layover is short and you remain within the international transit area, a transit visa may not be required. However, if you plan to leave the airport for any reason, a transit visa might be necessary.
Transit Visa Application:
- Documentation: You’ll need to provide the necessary documentation, including a valid passport, confirmed airline tickets showing your onward journey, and any other documents required by the Thai embassy or consulate.
- Application Process: Complete the required visa application form and gather the necessary documents. Depending on the processing time, you’ll receive your transit visa if approved. When you arrive in Thailand, ensure you follow the rules and guidelines outlined by Thai immigration authorities.
Thai arrival Transit Visa:
- Eligibility: TVOAs are typically granted to travelers who meet specific criteria, such as having confirmed onward travel within a certain time frame and holding valid visas for the destination country (Bhutan in your case). The eligibility criteria can vary based on nationality and other factors.
- Duration: The TVOA may have a limited duration, usually allowing you to stay in Thailand for a short period, often ranging from a few hours to a maximum of 24 to 48 hours.
- Documentation: To apply for a TVOA, you might need to provide documents such as a valid passport(Which is valid for more than 6 months), confirmed flight tickets for onward travel, and potentially a visa or other entry permit for your destination.
- Application Process: Upon arrival at the Thai airport, you would typically proceed to the designated visa-on-arrival counter. There, you’ll need to fill out an application form, present the required documents, and pay the visa fee if applicable. After processing, you’ll receive the TVOA.
- Fee: There might be a fee associated with obtaining a TVOA. Fees can vary based on nationality and other factors.
Nepal Transit Visa Guidelines
Nepal typically allows travelers to transit through its international airports without requiring a transit visa if they remain within the international transit area and have a confirmed onward ticket to their destination. However, if you plan to exit the airport during your layover, you might need to obtain a regular tourist visa, or any other applicable visa based on your nationality and intended activities in Nepal. Further Overtime immigration policies can change, and it’s essential to verify the current requirements with the Nepalese embassy or consulate in your country before your travel date. Here are some general guidelines regarding transit through Nepal:
Nepali Tourist Visa on arrival
Tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu for a layover.
- Documentation: Ensure you have all required travel documents, including your passport, confirmed flight tickets for onward travel, and any visas needed for your destination.
- Visa Fees: Visa fees can vary based on the type of visa and duration of stay. Usually, the Nepal tourist visa fee is US$ 25-30 Per person.
- Airport Facilities: Nepal’s international airports, like Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, provide various amenities within the transit area, such as shops, restaurants, and lounges, where you can relax during your layover.
Online Visa Application (e-Visa):
- Nepal also introduced an online visa application system (e-Visa) for certain nationalities, making it more convenient to apply for a tourist visa in advance of your travel.
- The e-Visa system allows you to fill out the application form, upload your photo, and make the payment online. Upon approval, you’ll receive an electronic visa that you can print and present upon arrival.
Singapore Transit Visa
Singapore offers a Transit Visa (also known as a Free Transit Pass) for eligible travelers who are transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport and meet certain criteria. The Transit Visa is designed for travelers who have a layover in Singapore and are connecting to a third country within a specific timeframe of 4 days (96 hours). Eligibility for the Transit Visa depends on various factors, including your nationality, the length of your layover, and whether you meet certain conditions.
On-arrival Transit Visa
- Eligibility: Holding a valid onward air ticket to a third country within a specific timeframe (usually within 96 hours). Possess a valid visa or long-term pass for your final destination (if required). Have a confirmed flight reservation for the next leg of your journey. Eligibility can vary based on your nationality, so make sure to check the specific criteria applicable to your situation.
- Application Process: In most cases, the Transit Visa is obtained upon arrival at Changi Airport’s immigration checkpoints.
- Documentation: You’ll need to provide your valid passport, confirmed onward air ticket, and any other required documentation.
- Exceptions: If you’re from a visa-required country, but you have a valid visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States, you might be eligible for the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) facility for 96 hours.
- Application Fee: As of my last update, there was no application fee for the Transit Visa (Free Transit Pass). However, please verify this information, as policies can change.
Bangladesh Transit Visa Guidelines
The transit visa is intended for travelers who are transiting through Bangladesh and have a layover before continuing to their destination. Transit visas usually allow you to stay in Bangladesh for a short period, typically not exceeding 72 hours, and need to stay within the international transit area of the airport and not exit the airport during your layover. This duration might vary based on your nationality and specific circumstances.
- Eligibility: To be eligible for a Bangladesh transit visa, you usually need to provide proof of an onward flight ticket to a third country within a specific timeframe (often 72 hours or less). Some nationalities might require a visa even for transit purposes, while others might be exempt. Check with the Bangladeshi embassy or consulate to confirm the requirements for your nationality.
- Application Process: The application process for a Bangladesh transit visa might involve applying to the Bangladeshi embassy or consulate in your home country or at the nearest Bangladeshi diplomatic mission.
- Documentation: You’ll likely need to provide documents such as a valid passport, confirmed onward flight ticket, and any other documentation required by the authorities.
- Transit Visa Fees: Transit visa fees can vary based on your nationality and the duration of your stay.
Check with the Bangladeshi embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on visa fees.
Online Visa Application (e-Visa):
Bangladesh has introduced an e-Visa system for certain nationalities, which may also include the option to apply for a transit visa online before your travel. The e-Visa application process usually involves filling out an online form, uploading required documents, and making the necessary payment.