Indian Tourists do not need a Visa but an Entry Permit for Bhutan and thus getting an Entry Permit becomes a key attribute of planning your Bhutan trip. It becomes even more important since one has to obtain it on the spot prior to entering Bhutan. To help our fellow travelers, we are summarizing common questions about Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians in our blog here.
Read this blog in Hindi here – भारत से भूटान जाना है तो ऐसे पायें भूटान परमिट
Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians is issued only for initial 7 days of stay and visit to Thimphu and Paro. Once in Thimphu, you may visit Bhutan Immigration Office to get Extension both for over 7 days stay or Entry to Restricted Areas (beyond Paro and Thimphu). In our blog, we are covering both the processes –
- How to Get Bhutan Permit for Indian Tourists at Phuentsholing Permit Office
- How to Get Bhutan Permit Extension for Indian Tourists at Thimphu Immigration Office.
Q. Tourists from which countries require an Entry Permit for Bhutan?
Citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives are allowed to travel Bhutan by getting an Entry Permit/Pass and do not need a Visa. Tourists from all other countries require a Visa. This blog explains process to get Bhutan Entry Permit/Pass for Indian tourists only. We hope process would remain more or less the same even for Bangladesh and Maldives citizens too.
Q. Places from where one can get Bhutan Entry Permit/Pass?
Indians travelling to Bhutan by road are required to obtain an Entry Permit from the Immigration Office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing, located on Indo-Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal (Nearest Railway Station: Hasimara, Nearest Airport: Bagdogra). In case, you are not carrying a valid travel document (Passport/Voter ID), you should approach the Indian Consulate Office in Phuentsholing and apply for the “Identification Slip” with proper proof of Indian nationality. Indians coming by air can get Bhutan Entry Permit at Paro International Airport. Samdrup Jongkhar is another entry/exit point for Bhutan but it is not so frequently used as compared to Phuentsholing. We got our Bhutan Entry permit at Phuentsholing and Extension at Thimphu, so all details pertain to Phuentsholing Permit office and Thimphu Permit Office only.
Q. Can Indian Tourists get Bhutan Entry Permit in advance?
Yes. Indians can get Bhutan Entry Permit in advance from Bhutan High Commissioner’s Office at Delhi or Kolkata Bhutan Consulate. This may save you from any uncertainty of getting Permit for Bhutan on last day but these offices usually take more than a week to give you a Permit. One of the members from the travelling group should be compulsorily present to apply for Entry Permit for Bhutan of all members.
Q. What are Phuentsholing Permit Office Timings? Which days are Bhutan Immigration Office Open
Phuentsholing Permit Office Timings – All working days (Monday to Friday) from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Bhutan Standard Time (9:30 AM to 5:30 PM IST). Same is also Thimphu Immigration Office Timings. Please check for Bhutan Public Holidays in advance as both Thimphu and Phuentsholing Permit offices remains closed on Bhutan Public Holidays. Lunch hours are from 1 PM to 2 PM BST.
P.S. – Bhutan Permit Office remains closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Bhutan Public Holidays. Phuentsholing Immigration office is no longer open on weekends as it used to be earlier (post Jan 2016). So, plan your travel accordingly to avoid a last minute delay in getting permit. There is no way to get Bhutan Permit/Pass over weekend for Indian Tourists. Even Tourist Agents can not help in this regard.
Q. How long does it take to get Bhutan Permit for Indians? What is the Process?
Usually it takes around 30 minutes to get all formalities done and get your Bhutan Permit/Pass. You need to fill in an Application Form, attach your photographs and submit at first counter. You are asked basic questions about the purpose of your travel to Bhutan by an official here and then your Bhutan Permit Form is queued up for next counter. Once your name is called at next counter, you need to reach there to get your picture clicked and provide finger prints. You can collect your Bhutan Entry Permit from third counter in another 10 minutes, stamped and signed. Process to get Bhutan Permit for Indian Citizens is fairly simple and seamless.
It may take longer time on Mondays as Bhutan Permit Office remains closed on weekends. Bhutan officials usually refrain from issuing Entry Permits to solo travelers for safety concerns. However, in most of the cases, you will get your entry permit for Bhutan if you convince them that you are fully capable of travelling solo and there are no safety concerns.
Q. What all documents are required to obtain Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians?
2 Photographs + Passport copy/Voter ID card (Please carry originals also for verification). In case, you are not carrying Passport/Voter ID card, you will be required to visit Indian Consulate Office, get an identification slip and then again go back to Bhutan Immigration Office to get your Entry Permit/Pass. This will certainly waste a lot of time and thus do remember to carry your Passport or Voter ID. For children below 18 years without valid passport, Birth Certificates and valid school ID are required to get Entry Permit/Pass. (both are required in case of school going kid).
Sometimes, Bhutan officials may also accept Aadhar Card as identification proof, so do make a request in case you are not carrying Passport. This may save you time and inconvenience of running around offices. During our trip, request from a couple was heeded by the officials 🙂
Important Update (Hotel Confirmation): As per recent rules, To get their Bhutan Permit, Indian Citizens also need to show a confirmation of hotel booking for initial days of stay in Bhutan. You have to carry the print out of email confirmation. Also, you need to present your itinerary for your complete stay in Bhutan. You may refer our blog for booking a Hotel in Bhutan here.
Hotel Booking in Bhutan: For booking your hotel in Bhutan, you may consider using Booking.com. They do not require any upfront payment or card details for booking a hotel at
Q. How long and which places will Bhutan Permit be applicable?
Bhutan Entry Permit/Pass issued at Phuentsholing is applicable only for a period of 7 days and visit to Paro and Thimphu. You need to get an Extension in case you are planning to visit more places or stay longer.
Q. How do Indians extend Bhutan Permit if they want to stay over 7 days or visit places beyond Paro and Thimphu?
You need to extend your Bhutan Permit/Pass both for stay over 7 days (up to a max 30 days) or visit places beyond Paro and Thimphu. To get Bhutan Permit Extension, Indians can get it from Immigration Office at Thimphu (9 AM to 4 PM BST, Mon to Fri, Closed on Bhutan Public Holidays) and fill Bhutan Permit Extension Application Form. Post submission of Application Form and documents, Indian Tourists can collect their Bhutan Extension Permit from the same office after 1 hour.
Bhutan Permit Extension for Indians: Documents Required – A Copy of Original Bhutan Entry Permit, 1 photograph
Though there is a Bhutan Immigration Office in Paro, but Permit Extension is provided only at Thimphu Permit Office. So plan accordingly.
Q. What happens if I enter Bhutan without Entry Permit/Pass?
Illegal migrant :). Your Entry Permit/Pass is checked at multiple check posts through out Bhutan, one of them being just at 5 kms drive from Phuentsholing (Rinchending). So it is mandatory to get Bhutan Permit even for Indian Tourists else you may be subject to arrest.
Q. What happens if I travel beyond Paro and Thimphu without getting Permit Extension for visit to Restricted Areas?
There are Immigration Check Posts at all routes and it is traveler’s responsibility to get his Entry and Extension Permits stamped both during entry and return. In case, you miss getting your Bhutan Permit stamped, there is a hefty fine (on daily basis) and also the chances that your Bhutan Permit may be confiscated by authorities. So, please do make sure to stop at all these check points both at entry and exit. We had a similar situation. We were not aware of Bhutan Permit being stamped while going to Restricted Areas and our car driver too did not stop at Check Post on our way to Dochula/Punkaha. While returning, our bus driver stopped at check-post and guy at Check-Post held us accountable for not getting it stamped at the time of entry. It took us almost half an hour to convince him that it was a genuine mistake and we were not aware about the process. Thankfully, all passengers and driver were patient and waited for us.
Dochula Pass, though only 20 kms east to Thimphu requires Restricted Areas Entry Permit. There is an Immigration Check-Post at Hongtsho just before Dochula Pass where your Bhutan Permits are checked. So, please ensure to get the required Permit Extensions in advance to avoid any inconvenience.
Q. Is there any Bhutan Entry Permit Fees for Indians (And Permit Extension thereafter)?
No, There is no fee for any of the following Bhutan Permits –
- Bhutan Entry Permit for Indians Fees – NIL
- Bhutan Permit Extension Fee beyond 7 days (At Thimphu) – NIL
- Bhutan Permit Extension Fee for Restricted Areas (At Thimphu) – NIL
- Submitting your Bhutan Permit at the time of Exit from Bhutan, Any Fee – NIL
Q. Do I need to keep my Bhutan Entry Permit/Pass with me all the time while travelling?
Yes, as your Bhutan Permit is checked at various immigration points while travelling between cities and also to enter in all key Dzongs and Monasteries including Paro, Punakha & Thimphu Dzongs and Tiger’s Nest Monastery. So keep your Bhutan Permit (Both Original and Permit Extension) with you all the time.
Q. What is Bhutan immigration Office Phuentsholing/Thimphu Phone Number?
Unfortunately, there are no public phone numbers or contact numbers for either Thimphu Immigration Office or Phuentsholing Permit Office. So, it gets very difficult to inquire about any issues or if Bhutan Permit office is open on particular days.
Q. Can I keep my Bhutan Entry Permit as a memorabilia for my Bhutan trip?
No. Bhutan Entry Permit and Permit Extensions are submitted at last immigration Check Point when you exit Bhutan. So, do take a picture of your Permit for Bhutan with all the stamps for your memories like we did 🙂
Wish you an awesome exploration !! Still, if you have any queries, do write us or comment below. We would be happy to assist you. We usually respond within a day unless we are out to an offbeat place 🙂
Edit: Bhutan Entry Permit Online
Bhutan Government has recently launched a facility for gettng Bhutan Permit online for Indian Tourists (Also for Bangladesh and Maldives). Bhutan Online Permit Application facility can be availed only through Registered Bhutanese Tour Operators and TCB Certified Hotels. You may find more details for Bhutan Online Permit here. Bhutan Online Permit facility would be applicable for entry from Paro and Phuntsholing. – Inputs from one of our readers Jigme. Thanks so much, Jigme 🙂