Bhutan Permit procedure

Discussion in 'Resources' started by Dimitrz, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Dimitrz

    Dimitrz Reclaim your life

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    My friend and I did a 14 day bike trip across Bhutan during April 2013

    Based on this experience we decided to share our permit related tips with focus on :-

    1) Permit procedure & requirement for travelers & bike

    2) Approx time and tips for getting vehicle and personal permit

    3) Update on any off days for issuance of permit

    4) Timings of permit office


    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 orginal 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.

    In Bhutan its mandatory for pillion rider to wear a helmet ( so make sure you have an helmet for your pillion; anyways that's a safety requirement for long rides)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2014
  2. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Moved to right section.
     
  3. Dimitrz

    Dimitrz Reclaim your life

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    Thanks Amit Bhai
     
  4. tintin63

    tintin63 Guru

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    Answers in bold.

     
  5. Dimitrz

    Dimitrz Reclaim your life

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    Thanks Tintin currently going through your travelogue ;)
     
  6. varun.lamba

    varun.lamba Member

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    Carrying your passport will save you alot of time.. In case anyone in your group is not carrying a passport you need to visit the Indian Embassy office (max 500m dist from bhutan immigration dept) with your voter's id or pan or ration/adhaar etc.. Fill in the form and once it is stamped by their department take the same to the immigration office of bhutan. This procedure will however add another hour or two to the whole process.

    Regarding RSTA as long as i remember it closes down by max 1600.

    Tips: carry atleast 3 photocopies of all your docs beforehand to save time. In case you are going without passport then carry atleast 3 photos each.
     
  7. Dimitrz

    Dimitrz Reclaim your life

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    Thanks Varun

    Hey by the way how much do they charge for vehicle permit ?
     
  8. tintin63

    tintin63 Guru

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    Some 100-200 odd rupees.
     
  9. Dimitrz

    Dimitrz Reclaim your life

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    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 orginal 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.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Mods can you update this to the front post
     
    themanoj likes this.
  10. Dimitrz

    Dimitrz Reclaim your life

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    Update
    ---------

    1) It appears that permits ( for Indians) can also be arranged at Bhutan Consulate in Calcutta
    2) Recognized ID proof for permit a) Passport or b) Voters ID
    3) It seems Drivers License & Pan Card are not accepted even by Indian Embassy in Bhutan ( Phunetsoling) [ This info not personally verified]


    May I request Mods to append this update to the BOTTOM of the first post
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013

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