All Regional tourists (citizens of Bangladesh, Indian and Maldives) are required to obtain a route permit before entering Bhutan. Regional tourists require permits for Bhutan since they do not need to obtain a Visa for entering Bhutan.
Regional tourist entering Bhutan via Air can get the Entry Permit at the Paro International Airport.
Regional tourist entering Bhutan via Road are asked to obtain a Entry permit and are asked to produce it in every check posts in Bhutan. Entry permits are obtained from the Immigration office in Phuntsholing. The immigration office is open from 9 Am till 4 Pm of weekdays and closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Lunch hours are from 1 PM to 2 PM BST. BST is 30 minutes ahead of IST.
There are 3 points to enter into Bhutan via Land.
All of the entry points require the same procedure to avail the entry permit.
Important note: Aadhar Cards are no longer accepted to apply for an entry permit into Bhutan.
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.
If you are driving your own vehicle, you need to avail the permit for the vehicle as well. To avail this vehicle permit, produce your driver’s license.
An online permit can be availed for entering into Bhutan. You need to book a minimum 3 star hotel, and your tour should be accompanied by a tour guide. You need to book your trip with a local tour operator in Bhutan. Have your tour operator avail an online permit for you before your trip. The online permit also mandates you to have a Passport with minimum validity of 6 months before exact date of travel. Voter cards/ adhar cards are not accepted.
Usually it takes around 30 minutes to get all formalities done and get your permit. You need to fill in a form, attach your photographs and submit at first counter. Your name will be called at the 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 Entry Permit from third counter stamped and signed.
It may take longer time on Mondays as office remains closed on weekends.
Entry Permit and Special area permit is valid for a maximum of 7 days and if you want to spend more time than 7 days, you need to visit the Immigration office in Thimphu again and apply for extension of stay.
Documents required for extension: A copy of Original Entry Permit, 1 photograph.
Though there is an immigration office in Paro, but extension is provided only at Thimphu immigration office.
Immigration office at Thimphu for extension of your stay or getting permit for restricted areas.
There are immigration check posts at all routes and it is traveler’s responsibility to get his entry and extension passes stamped both during entry and return. In case you miss getting your pass stamped, there is a hefty fine (on daily basis) and also the chances that your permits may be confiscated by authorities. So, please do make sure to stop at all these check points both at entry and exit.
Your special area permit will be checked in Hongtsho, before arriving Dochula pass. So, please ensure to get the required extensions in advance to avoid any inconvenience.
There is absolutely no cost for obtaining the entry permits, special area permits or vehicle permits unless you hire a local agent to avoid going through the hassle yourself.
You permit is an important document while you are in Bhutan and you must keep it along with you at all times. It 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.
Towards the end of the trip, you need to submit the Entry Permits and extensions at last immigration point during exit.