Permits for Foreign Tourists

#1 May 30th, 2013, 17:34
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  • SZaman is offline
#1
I have some questions regarding Inner Line Permit applications for foreign tourists, and would really appreciate any and all help as I'm in a bit of a panic at the moment.

1) I will be traveling alone with an Indian friend, meaning I will be the only foreigner in the group. I can find other foreigners to help me get the permit, but my question is, will there be a problem at the checkposts when they notice I'm the only non-Indian present? Is it common for foreigners to travel alone, even though they have a group permit? Can I say my foreign travel partner couldn't make it at the last minute, or will they send me back because I'm alone?

http://www.travelhimalayas.in/transp...-form-leh.html

2) Is the minimum number of foreigners in a group 2 or 4? The Ministry of Home Affairs regulations state that the permit is valid "for group tourists consisting of two or more persons only". But elsewhere on IM I've seen mention of four. Can someone verify the number?

http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/ForeigD-FAQs-onPAPandRAP.pdf

Any help with the first question especially will be of tremendous help.
#2 May 31st, 2013, 01:08
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  • NonIndianResident is offline
#2
Both are good questions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SZaman View Post ... will there be a problem at the checkposts when they notice I'm the only non-Indian present? Is it common for foreigners to travel alone, even though they have a group permit?
Yes, it is common. If they ask, you know what to say. "He's coming tomorrow, got sick, etc." It is common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SZaman View Post Is the minimum number of foreigners in a group 2 or 4? ... Can someone verify the number?
It was reduced from 4 to 2 a couple of years ago, which is why you still see references to 4. Only 2 are sufficient now.
#3 May 31st, 2013, 10:56
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#3
Thanks so much -- that is a huge, huge relief.

Things have gotten complicated since I discovered a few days ago that ILPs can't be issued to Bangladeshi nationals from Leh itself (there is no official documentation anywhere online to indicate this), so I have a couple more questions in this regard:

- Are there any circumstances when it is acceptable for a permit applicant to not provide an original photo ID, and submit only an attested copy instead? In case I can't find someone to help me out by listing themselves as the second foreigner; just wondering if I can say they'll be arriving at a later date or something.

- Do you know if FROs are authorized to issue permits to citizens of countries that the District Magistrate of Leh can't directly give ILPs to? This includes nationals of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar etc. that aren't explicitly restricted, but who can't get ILPs in Leh itself. I've contacted my nearest FRO already, but haven't heard back from them yet. I'd just like to find out if it's feasible, because if I'm told I have to to go the Ministry of Home Affairs (not possible), I want to know asap so I can change my plans before it's too late.
#4 Jun 3rd, 2013, 18:44
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  • captain bruce is offline
#4
Dont know about the prohibition of bangladeshis, but if it is possible at all then sort this out with a Leh travel agent, they will charge a modest fee but will liase with other agents to get a 'group' together. As for getting stopped, its a matter of chance with the soldier on duty. was in a 'group' of 2 a few years back and the other person had set off hours before. i got delayed at the checkpoint for an hour whilst my travel agent mate sorted it by phone. Next year it was different soldier who knew my guide and we got waived through.

a copy passport should suffice for the application

are you really sure that a bangladeshi cant get a permit in Leh? where did you learn that - its just that the regs change frequently
#5 Jun 6th, 2013, 17:59
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#5
Hey Bruce, thanks for the info. Unfortunately I've had no choice but to cancel my trip altogether (including all hotel and flight bookings, etc.)... a plan that has been in the works for nearly a year. And I'm not happy about it, at all.

I contacted a number of travel agents in Leh, and while they all verified that the District Magistrate of Leh can't issue permits to Bangladeshis, they had no information on how I could go about getting one -- just that I needed to contact the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi, but nothing beyond that. I contacted my local High Commission of India, but they had absolutely no idea how the process works and recommended I contact my nearest FRO instead. So I contacted FROs in both Delhi and Kolkata, and both informed me that it was out of their jurisdiction and I needed to consult the MHA.

Of course, I called about a dozen different numbers at the MHA a few hundred times, but was consistently snapped at, hung up on, barely understood (since I can't speak Hindi and apparently not all employees of the Foreigners' Division are required to learn English) or redirected elsewhere. The last number I got through to, i.e. the supposed person in charge of PAPs, told me outright that permits aren't issued to Bangladeshis. When I pointed out that there is nothing in the official regulations stating this, and both the HCI Dhaka and others at the MHA have informed me there aren't any such explicit restrictions, he told me to refer back to his higher-up (who I'd called earlier anyway). So it's an endless loop.

The most aggravating part is that I still don't know what the correct procedure is. Diligent scouring online revealed that submitting the forms to the MHA through your local consulate at least eight weeks in advance can get the job done, but: a) said local consulate won't accept that this falls under their job description, and b) the application form mandates that you state your exact travel dates, which is tricky. Why? Well, it should be noted here that there is no way of checking whether the permit has been issued or not, let alone when, unless you drop by the MHA office in Delhi itself. If granted, the PAP will only be mailed to an Indian address as a hard copy -- nothing is sent by email, and no receipts are issued. Given that permits for the Ladakh region are only provided to foreigners for a maximum of seven days, and you need to apply at least two months ahead of time... it all seems a bit risky, trying to schedule well in advance when the system is so blatantly flawed.

So, there's my story so far. No Ladakh or Spiti happening.
#6 Jun 7th, 2013, 04:28
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  • captain bruce is offline
#6
Bummer!. S**t happens and unfortunately its your turn. Cant believe that they make it so difficult for a non-terrorist type state national, cant see much possibility of you and your folks staging a covert invasion of Ladakh........
I did try years back for a permit to hanle/Demchok as a foreigner and got no response from delhi so I wouldnt bother further.

Not much comfort if you have cancelled but the the non-permit part of ladakh is till pretty good. Re-group and come back next year..........
#7 Jun 7th, 2013, 20:40
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  • NonIndianResident is offline
#7
That's really sad, I'm sorry to hear that you can't go at all. I had never heard that Bangladeshis can't get Inner Line Permits. I agree too, that it wouldn't probably do much good to apply at the MHA, because they'd be sure to issue the permit too late or too short if at all.
#8 Jun 8th, 2013, 10:45
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#8
It makes no sense, to be honest. Other than the official document I linked to in my first post, I also found scanned copies of the original circular distributed to everyone within the MHA and all FROs in May 2012, which provides detailed information regarding what authorities can issue permits, for how long and to which nationals. Absolutely no mention of Bangladesh anywhere at all. It seems as though there are no *legal* restrictions -- just that someone neglected to inform the regional magistrates, or read the rules themselves.

In case it helps anyone, the file can be located at the following link. The stipulations stated here match those on the MHA Foreigners' Division website, so I'm guessing they're current:

http://policewb.gov.in/wbp/misc/2012/1009(30)-FNB.pdf

What I'm thinking of doing is applying to the MHA for a PAP for September through my local High Commission. I won't be able to go then (my travel partner will be unavailable) -- I'd just like to find out whether or not I can get it, so I'm prepared for next year. The application would be for an individual tourist PAP, which supposedly can be issued by the MHA. Given how staunch they are about keeping Bangladeshis out, I'm guessing the "she's sick and/or late" excuse might not work with the checkpost soldiers if my permit has a second name on it, so best to err on the side of caution.

Do you guys think this is a good idea? Or do you suspect it might somehow negatively affect my chances of obtaining a PAP next year?
#9 Jun 9th, 2013, 15:34
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#9
Thank you for that link with the full text of the govt order about restricted areas and permits!

The locations listed for Ladakh are mostly spelled incorrectly. Also, along with Turtuk on p12, are listed Pachatang and Tyakshi. The local permit issued by the DC in Leh also gives those, but the army will not allow any tourists past Turtuk, so don't plan to meet someone at Tyakshi at a fixed time, the way we did!

You are right it doesn't appear to have a restriction against Bangladeshis, and others are clearly listed.

Funny is that it says travel on the Leh-Manali road is to be allowed only by recognised travel agents, who are to ensure that the tourists travel in respectable conveyances and do not split up or stray. So what about all the motorbike, bicycle, and public bus discussions on this forum?!
#10 Jun 22nd, 2014, 21:17
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  • aarem is offline
#10

foreigner+indian couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by NonIndianResident View Post Thank you for that link with the full text of the govt order about restricted areas and permits!

The locations listed for Ladakh are mostly spelled incorrectly. Also, along with Turtuk on p12, are listed Pachatang and Tyakshi. The local permit issued by the DC in Leh also gives those, but the army will not allow any tourists past Turtuk, so don't plan to meet someone at Tyakshi at a fixed time, the way we did!

You are right it doesn't appear to have a restriction against Bangladeshis, and others are clearly listed.

Funny is that it says travel on the Leh-Manali road is to be allowed only by recognised travel agents, who are to ensure that the tourists travel in respectable conveyances and do not split up or stray. So what about all the motorbike, bicycle, and public bus discussions on this forum?!
Hi,

Does anyone know what to do about getting a permit for a couple with an US citizen and Indian citizen? Can both of us apply on the same permit even though the Indian citizen (me) does not need a permit?

Thanks!
#11 Jun 23rd, 2014, 09:19
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#11
The US citizen needs to be on a permit with another foreigner. But that's easy. Just go to a travel agent in Leh, and they'll find another person who needs a permit and use both of you to bolster the other. When you pass the checkposts nobody usually asks where the other person is, and if they do, you just say "Oh, the other person couldn't come today, he's joining us there tomorrow."
#12 Apr 27th, 2015, 02:53
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  • Chowdhury Ripan is offline
#12
@captainn bruce unfortunately till today the scenario is quite same.
Bangladeshis can roam only on the leh city & leh-manali highway. NO CHANCE to visit pangong, nubra, tso moriri etc. great places
#13 Apr 27th, 2015, 03:08
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  • Chowdhury Ripan is offline
#13
@SZaman did u make it? Pls give me ur contact no. so that I can talk a bit more details.
I'M seriously planning to visit in late june or early September.
- Ripan
Chittagong, Bangladesh

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