Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, Bhutan is a kingdom renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and a unique approach to tourism. If you’re planning a visit, understanding the visa requirements is crucial. While Bhutan welcomes tourists with open arms, it emphasizes “High Value, Low Impact” tourism. This guide provides an in-depth look at the visa process for Bhutan in 2023.

Visa Requirements for Specific Countries

India, Bangladesh, and Maldives: Citizens of these nations enjoy a special relationship with Bhutan. They can enter without a visa but must carry valid identification, such as a passport or, for Indians, a Voter ID.

Other Countries: Most international tourists, including US citizens, need to pre-arrange their visas through a Bhutanese tour operator or travel agent.

Online Visa and E-Visa

While Bhutan doesn’t offer a traditional e-visa, the visa process is streamlined. Tourists must book their trip through a Bhutanese tour operator, who then applies for a visa on their behalf. Once approved, you’ll receive a “visa clearance letter,” which is essential for entry.

Visa Costs and Fees

Bhutan has a standard visa fee of USD 40, which is separate from the daily tariff of USD 100 that tourists pay. This tariff covers accommodation, food, transportation, and guide services, ensuring a hassle-free experience in the kingdom.

Special Visa Types

Bhutan offers a range of visas tailored to different needs:

  • Investor Visa: For those looking to invest in Bhutan.
  • Work Visa: For professionals and workers.
  • Student Visa: For international students.

For official guests of various organizations, including ministries, non-governmental organizations, corporate autonomous agencies, sports associations, and private organizations, specific guidelines and requirements are provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These often include forwarding letters from the respective heads, approval letters, and filled-up visa application forms. Additionally, long-term foreign expatriates’ guests have specific guidelines, including the requirement for the host to have completed six months in the country before the guest’s arrival. All of these information can be found on the link given above.

Visa Exemptions and Visa-Free Countries

Bhutan values its close ties with neighboring countries:

  • India, Bangladesh, and Maldives: Citizens of these countries can visit Bhutan without a visa. However, they must carry valid travel documents.
  • Other Countries: As of 2023, no other countries have visa-free access to Bhutan. Always check the latest visa policies before planning your trip.

Visa Application Process

Navigating Bhutan’s visa process is straightforward:

  • Step 1: Collaborate with a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. Get in touch with us!
  • Step 2: Provide us a scanned copy of your passport, ensuring it’s valid for at least six months.
  • Step 3: Your tour operator, in this case, us, will handle the visa application. Once approved, you’ll receive a visa clearance letter via email.
  • Step 4: Print the visa clearance letter. Upon arrival in Bhutan, present this letter and your passport to receive your visa stamp.

Miscellaneous Information

  • Visa Stamp: Your visa will be stamped on your passport upon arrival in Bhutan, a testament to your journey in the Land of the Thunder Dragon.
  • Visa Photo Requirements: A standard passport-sized photo (2×2 inches) with a white background is required for the visa application.


Bhutan offers a travel experience like no other, blending its rich cultural history with mesmerizing natural beauty. While the visa process is unique, it speaks to Bhutan’s commitment to sustainable tourism. By understanding and respecting these requirements, you’re set for a memorable journey in this Himalayan paradise.


Do I need a visa for a short visit?

Yes, unless you’re from India, Bangladesh, or the Maldives.

Can I extend my visa?

Yes, extensions are possible but you will have to coordinate with your tour operator in advance.

Are there special permits for certain areas?

Some treks or regions in Bhutan require additional permits. Your tour operator will guide you through any additional requirements.

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