Bhutan Permit procedure

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#1 Apr 28th, 2013, 15:22
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#1
Based on my experience permit procedure for People & Vehicle ( Bike)


Part 1
Phuentsholing to Paro/Thimpu



Individual permit
-----------------

Note : Minimum 2 people are required to get permit, permits not easily issued for lone traveller

Time : Between 30 minute to 1 hour ( depends on crowd)


Location
---------

Permit office ( Immigration office as its called ) is as Tintin said around 200 mtrs or so after you enter Bhutan gate in Phuentsholing. It's on your right

side as you come from the Indian side after the Fuel pump next to Customs & clearance office.

The Office is on 1st floor above Customs & clearance office

Permit office opens at 9 am

Document
---------
Duly filled permit form
Copy of your passport
Couple of Passport size photo


Procedure
-----------


Go a bit early if possible but not too early as you need to get a Permit form that needs to be filled up and submitted along with copy of your Passport.

If the office is not open when you visit you may request any Bhutaneese offical you see there ,if they can provide you the form in advance.



The filled form needs to be given in the upstairs office ( ask for Tourist route permit counter)

You need to hand over the form with the passport copy duly stapled. They will review and ask to see the orginal Passport.
Once done they will they a photograph then and there itself.

Once done they will ask you to wait for half an hour to an hour depending upon the rush to issue you the permits.

Carry some passport size photo graphs with you as well as they might ask for one inaddition to the photo taken by them.


Note: preference is given to Tourist , so if you find the counter crowded check with them telling them that you are tourist as the same counter also process

work permits for Indian Labourers

Counter Closes by 5 Pm ( not sure as we did in morning)
If you dont have Passport then you may have to get some clearance from Indian Embassy nearby ( not sure as we had our passport)


Permits can be arrnaged in advance if you are using a registered Bhutaneese tour guide during your visit ( you can send the doucments to your guide who can

get the permits ready for you)



---------------------------------------------------------





Vehicle

--------
--------


Location
---------

RSTA is located nearby but is not walkable

Go straight on the road from the permit office (opposite to border gate offcourse) take a left from the dead end circle
Ask for Phuentsholing main bustand , its located on the second floor of the bus stand

ask anyone where is the RSTA office once you reach the main bus stand which comes after you cross a small bridge.

Document
---------

A handwritten or typed letter mentioning the places you plan to visit including the vehicle number and owner information ( refer attachment)
Insurance copy
RC book Copy
Drivers License Copy



Procedure
----------

Take the documents described above and get it endrosed by RSTA inchagre who sits in room 1 ( check with Counter 5 before you go to room 1)
Once the Senior offical reviews and sign on your application form take it to counter 5
Once the offical at counter 5 endroses your application go to counter 2 I guess to pay the nominal permit fee ( Rs 90/- in our case for 2 bikes)
Go back to counter 5 with recipt of payment and get permit form from him
Take the form to counter\room 1 for final endorsement

Take copy of the same ( 1st floor ) and give one copy to counter 5

Your Vehicle permit is done


Approx time = 30 minutes if you are lucky and if its less crowded



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Part 2
Extension from Thimpu




Time : can take upto half a day or more - You will be very lucky if it gets done in 30 mins



Location
---------
Opposite Taj hotel if I remmber correctly
Its in the opposite direction to Clock Tower ( same road) Norzim Lam
Its around 10-15 mins walk from clock tower to this office

Opens at 9 am



Document
---------

Need to fill up a form given by them for stay extension
Your previous permit document



Procedure
-----------

Once you provide the filled up form along with pervious permit document , they will ask you to wait.
The issue of extension can take between 30 minutes to good 2 hours

Once the extension is received you need to fill another form detailing your itenary for visiting restricted areas like Punakha and beyond with dates of travel to those regions

Once done it would take another 30 mins to 2 hours for processing the permission to rest of Bhutan


Overall be prepared to spend atleast half a day for permit issue / extension provided you are there at 9 am.


---------------------------------------------------------





Vehicle
--------
--------

Approx time : 10 minutes if you are lucky however keep a good buffer


Location
---------

RSTA is located near the Archery stadium forgot the name ( someone please help me)

Its located above the Bigger bus stand ( I belive the main bus stand) you need to go over the bridge that you see when you enter Thimpu and then take a left


Document
---------


A handwritten or typed letter mentioning the places you plan to visit including the vehicle number and owner information same as before
Previous Vehicle permit document
Extension & new permit for rest of Bhutan issued from Immigration department Thimpu



Procedure
----------

Take the documents described to RSTA offical who sits in " Base Office/ room" if you enter from top ( that is over the bridge ) then you need to come to ground floor I guess.

Just ask at any counter " tell them you need to revew your vehicle permit" am a bit forgetful as to if the Base office is on second or ground floor.


Show all the documents to the officer who sits in the small room, he will check and give an extension then and there.
No further fee required


Your Vehicle permit is done




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Note: No one keeps the original or xerox copy of permits in any check post , so just one copy of all document is good enough.

At check post they will check you permits for persons and for Vehicle they will take down the name of driver, owner of vehicle, Vehicle number and drivers license number for every vehicle

once done they will return the document back to you.
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#2 Apr 28th, 2013, 17:44
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#2
excellent information. thank you.
#3 Apr 28th, 2013, 17:49
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#3

PUC for Car ?

I was even asked for Pollution Under Control certificate for my car..
Seems they've changed the requirements !!
#4 Apr 28th, 2013, 18:15
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEILSATYAM View Post I was even asked for Pollution Under Control certificate for my car..
Seems they've changed the requirements !!
Not surprising , we had PUC but it was not asked. but I would advise that it be carried
#5 Apr 29th, 2013, 15:25
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#5
You had said in your post that tourists (presumably Indian tourist) need to produce Passport for getting Permits issued in their favor. You also said that those who does not have Passport, they are required to approach Indian Consulate for some documentation and only then they (meaning those not having Passport along with them) get their Entry Permit issued from the Bhutan Permit Office. Are you sure about that? I had got my Bhutan Entry Permit issued from the Bhutan Consulate at Kolkata on production of my Voter ID and Passport sized photographs only. I am an Indian Citizen and nobody had asked any Passport either to get the Permit issued or to get an entry to Bhutan territory.

You had narrated the procedure at Phuentsolling. Do they follow a different system than that of their counterpart at Kolkata? I do not have any personal knowledge about issuance of Entry Permit from Phuentsolling (as I got it from Kolkata), but I had heard from many Indian travelers that Indian Voter ID is good enough document for getting the Permit issued at Phuentsolling also. Is this wrong? I would be thankful if you clarify this point. Thanks.
#6 Apr 29th, 2013, 17:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asishdas View Post You had said in your post that tourists (presumably Indian tourist) need to produce Passport for getting Permits issued in their favor. You also said that those who does not have Passport, they are required to approach Indian Consulate for some documentation and only then they (meaning those not having Passport along with them) get their Entry Permit issued from the Bhutan Permit Office. Are you sure about that? I had got my Bhutan Entry Permit issued from the Bhutan Consulate at Kolkata on production of my Voter ID and Passport sized photographs only. I am an Indian Citizen and nobody had asked any Passport either to get the Permit issued or to get an entry to Bhutan territory.

You had narrated the procedure at Phuentsolling. Do they follow a different system than that of their counterpart at Kolkata? I do not have any personal knowledge about issuance of Entry Permit from Phuentsolling (as I got it from Kolkata), but I had heard from many Indian travelers that Indian Voter ID is good enough document for getting the Permit issued at Phuentsolling also. Is this wrong? I would be thankful if you clarify this point. Thanks.
Dear Ashish Ji some very good points raised by you and am happy you raised them.

I will try to answer these below

1) The process of getting permit is faster for Indian tourist if they produce a valid passport, we had carried our passports based on inputs from previous travelers here and in BCM Touring.

The part about getting an Indian ID verified\ getting clearance from Indian consulate is based on experience shared by some of the other travelers I interacted with.

2) I believe ( again I can only speculate) that when you produce an Indian ID in Bhutan counsalte in India ( Calcutta) consulate members being in India might be able to identify the genunity of the ID based on their experience and/or they may be a bit more lax in the requirement. Good idea would be to check with them directly at the counsalte if possible.


3) As I don't know the procedure for getting permit in Calcutta I cant comment on your question "if the procedures are different in Calcutta & Phuentsolling" . I have documented as closely as possible the procedure for getting permit in Bhutan; maybe you can compare that with your experience. Plus we cant rule out if they were lax due to your age as well ( no offense meant ).

4) As I mentioned in my post having an Indian passport is not a mandatory requirement , Indian voters ID \ drivers license is good enough - the point I made was that it would be faster to get the permit with a passport as proof than some other ID.

Bhutanese official are shrewd and intelligent lot , when the two of us went to get our permits we were dressed normally , didn't have any of our biking gear and we had left the helmets outside - however with just one look they reconganised that we were bikers we were totally amazed.
Last edited by Dimitrz; Apr 29th, 2013 at 21:18..
#7 Apr 29th, 2013, 19:27
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#7
I am referring a few of your submission in the Post and try to clarify my stand against each of your under quoted text. I think you had done an wonderful job in collating all the relevant info in a single thread. This will act as Guide for future travelers.

But having said this, there appears to be an impression that Indian Travelers, who do not possess Passport, may find it difficult to get the Permit expeditiously. To me, this not the correct position. Let me clarify my stand hereunder. The object is to make the info contained in this thread as transparent and as error-free as possible.

1) The process of getting permit is faster for Indian tourist if they produce a valid passport, we had carried our passports based on inputs from previous travelers here and in BCM Touring.

Sorry, not true, really. Passport has nothing to do with faster processing of Entry Permit. As far as Indian nationals are concerned, Bhutan authority treats both Passport as well as Voter ID Card at par for the purpose of issuance of Entry Permit. One of our close friends had recently visited Bhutan with his family and he got his Permit issued from Phuentsolling Permit Office. He did not have his Passport with him, but had experienced no discrimination between a Passport holder and a Voter ID Card holder.

2) we cant rule out if they were lax due to your age as well.

Well, I wish it is true! But it is not, it is the rule. I now provide a link here. This link has been downloaded from Royal Bhutan Consulate Website and it contains text of the Permit Application Form. Please see Col. No. 8 of the Form, where you will find the details of documents needed for issuance of Permit. Col. 8(a) says "Travel Document : Passport/Voter identity card/identification Paper". Obviously, it means any one of these documents would be sufficient for the purpose. Therefore, it is not a case of offering special privilege to aged people, it is the rule for everyone.

POSTSCRIPT:

I provide another link here. It says that the nationals from India, Maldives and Bangladesh are exempted from Visa formalities for entry to Bhutan territory. This is just for info purpose.

Thanks.
#8 Apr 29th, 2013, 19:56
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimitrz View Post Ps: Just like to add that if you ( prospective travelers) don't have a passport & voters ID then it would be a good idea to carry multiple ID proof like drivers license \ Pan card etc just incase
Both Drivers License and Pan Card are no proof of citizenship. Long term residents in India, of other nationality, can and do possess both.
#9 Apr 29th, 2013, 21:17
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My answers in blue

[QUOTE=asishdas;1581596]I am referring a few of your submission in the Post and try to clarify my stand against each of your under quoted text. I think you had done an wonderful job in collating all the relevant info in a single thread. This will act as Guide for future travelers.

But having said this, there appears to be an impression that Indian Travelers, who do not possess Passport, may find it difficult to get the Permit expeditiously. To me, this not the correct position. Let me clarify my stand hereunder. The object is to make the info contained in this thread as transparent and as error-free as possible.

1) The process of getting permit is faster for Indian tourist if they produce a valid passport, we had carried our passports based on inputs from previous travelers here and in BCM Touring.

Sorry, not true, really. Passport has nothing to do with faster processing of Entry Permit. As far as Indian nationals are concerned, Bhutan authority treats both Passport as well as Voter ID Card at par for the purpose of issuance of Entry Permit. One of our close friends had recently visited Bhutan with his family and he got his Permit issued from Phuentsolling Permit Office. He did not have his Passport with him, but had experienced no discrimination between a Passport holder and a Voter ID Card holder.

No. I didn't imply there is a discrimination between passport holders and non passport holders.

If what you say is correct about your friend then its great, however I know of cases where voters ID holders were asked to get some document signed by Indian consulate in Phuentsoling. Keeping that in mind its better future travelers have that in back of their mind just to ensure that they are not caught off gaurd if such a requirment comes.

Once again Passport is not mandatory but whats the ahrm in carrying it if you have it if not then one can get access via voters ID

But once again its good if tourist know that they might be asked to get some clearance done by Indian consulate incase they dont have a passport - anyways this clearance is nothing complicated and gets done in quick time

Hope that clarifies it





Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post Both Drivers License and Pan Card are no proof of citizenship. Long term residents in India, of other nationality, can and do possess both.
My mistake in my hurry to type I didnt clarify that I meant carry it as additional proof of identity just incase - anyways most of us do so - whenever I travel even in India I always carry multiple ID proof.

Drivers license needless to say is a must if you are taking your or taking a vehicle inside

Ps: I just re read the line and saw it gave a diffrent understanding so I have removed it
#10 May 1st, 2013, 21:58
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#10
Well, I would agree that tourists are given preference over others. I was also given preference at Phuentsoling.
.
My friend had Driving Licence which was rejected by the Bhutanese Authority. We had to go to Indian Consulate who to refused to issue identity papers based on Driving License. They said if the PAN card had the cover letter they would have issued it.
But on request, they endorsed my friend to my Passport, took his interview separately on first floor and then issued us Identity papers which was later accepted by the Bhutanese immigration office.
#11 May 2nd, 2013, 00:32
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#11
The point that I wish to make here is very simple:

1. For Indian tourists having Voter ID or Pass Port, there is no need to go to Indian Consulate at Phuentsolling for Identity Papers because Bhutan Immigration Authority accepts both as valid proof of Indian citizenship and accordingly issue Entry Permit to the holder of either Voter ID or Passport.

2. In case of Neilsatyam's friend, he did not have either a Voter ID or a Passport, hence he is has to obtain an Identity Paper from the Indian Consulate and on the strength of this document he has got his Entry Permit. The point I wish to make here is that the need for reporting to Indian Consulate arises only when the tourists interested to enter Bhutan does not possess either a Voter ID Card or a Passport.

3. Passport holders get priority in issuance of Entry Permit by Bhutan Authority or their request is processed faster is a myth. Both the Voter ID Card holders as well as Passport Holders (Indian citizens) get the same treatment as far as issuance of Entry Permit is concerned.
#12 Aug 18th, 2013, 14:12
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#12
Hello
Thanks Dimitrz for the details on Bhutan. I have a question.
We are 3 adults from delhi and are visiting Bhutan end of september (26th) for 4 days. We will be flying from delhi to bagdogra and our flight reaches 1 pm afternoon. then from Bagdogra to bhutan border is around 4 hours. it means the permit office will be closed and we will have to wait next day to get the permit.
Can we get the permit here itself in Delhi by giving our passport copies and photographs ...(so that we do not have to stay overnight at the bhutan border phuentoshiling and wait for next day).What is the procedure. awaiting your reply
Thanks
Shiraz

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#13 Aug 18th, 2013, 14:48
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#13
I dont agree its difficult to get Entry Permit for Solo traveller I received my Permit in 45 minutes.

Voter ID is equally given emphasis like Passport. And No need to go to Indian Embassy if you are carrying Voter ID.
#14 Aug 18th, 2013, 15:01
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#14
Hello Shiraz

I would suggest you stay that night in Phuentosholling that night...Because you will reach there late and there you wont find a bus to Thimpu/Paro.
Next day you can get the permit and leave from there..
#15 Aug 18th, 2013, 18:08
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirazcool View Post .....Can we get the permit here itself in Delhi by giving our passport copies and photographs ...(so that we do not have to stay overnight at the bhutan border phuentoshiling and wait for next day).What is the procedure. awaiting your reply
Thanks
Shiraz

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May I chip in please?

You may visit Bhutan High Commission at Delhi and approach their Immigration
(Visa) Counter and request them to issue Entry Permit for Bhutan. Since Dy High Commissioner's Office at Kolkata is authorized to issue such Permit to Indian nationals, it is expected that the High Commissioner's Office at Delhi (which is a higher rank office) will also issue such Permit to Indian citizens. Besides, I think I read somewhere in IM that some one from India Mike had got the Permit issued by Bhutan High Commissioner's Office at Delhi.
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