Bhutan – Permit requirements for Indians

Pre-travel research about the necessary permits, visas and Forex requirements is always a daunting task for most travelers. During my recent motorbiking journey to Bhutan, I had difficulty in finding information on web which was written from a travelers perspective. I just had to come up with an exhaustive guide which was written keeping in mind the questions of a traveler.
Travel documents
Entry into the Phuentsholing border is open for Indian vehicles, however, in order to go beyond you have to get permits. If you are travelling by your vehicle, you need two permits, one for yourself and another for your vehicle.
Permit for Individual travelers

You will have to cross over the border before 4 pm as the permit office closes after that. It will take at least an hour to get the travelers permit. Once you enter Bhutan, immigration office is the building after Indian Oil petrol pump on your right. Here are the documents that will be required:
1. Copy of travel document (Passport or Voter ID card)
2. Application written to the Immigration officer requesting a permit (permits are given for one week only)
3. You need to fill a form which is available at the immigration office
4. Two passport size photographs
Note: All the travelers may not be present in person to get permits. One person can apply for all.
A permit for individual traveler looks like this.
Entry permit into Bhutan, Bhutan immigration
Entry permit for travelers into Bhutan
Permit for the Vehicle

You need to get your permit before applying for the vehicle permit at the RSTA – Road Safety and Transport Authority office. The office timings are from 9 am – 11 am and 1 pm – 3 pm. The documents required for the vehicle permit are:
1. A xerox copy each of vehicle’s registration certificate, insurance, driver’s license, pollution certificate
2. An application form available at Window No. 04 needs to be filled along with it
3. Xerox copy of the travelers permit
The process to get vehicle permit is a little tedious so I have made it simple for you:
Vehicle permit RSTA Bhutan
Process to get Vehicle permit from RSTA office
This is what the vehicle permit issued by RSTA looks like.
vehicle permit RSTA Bhutan
Vehicle Permit, Issued by RSTA office, Bhutan
You will need to show the vehicle and travelers permit at two checkpoints between Phuentsholing and Paro/ Thimphu. You have to deposit the permit back at the last checkpoint on your way back.
Some additional tips:
1. Visa/ Permit on arrival is applicable only to the citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives
2. They are a little apprehensive in issuing permits to solo travelers. I got it because I had European and British visas stamped (Not that you won’t get it if you don’t have British visa)
3. These permits are applicable only for Thimphu and Paro.
4. Permits for Haa Valley, regions beyond Thimphu and permit extensions can only be applied for at Thimphu immigration office. The processing takes one day.
I hope I have answered all the question in one article. If there are any suggestions that you have or if you noticed any changes in the process recently, please let us know in comments below.

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Gaurav Bhatnagar
Gaurav Bhatnagar
Travel Writer, Photographer, Public Speaker, Entrepreneur @ www.thefolktales.com
The much awaited moment of my Motor-biking trip to Bhutan has come. It is 9
When I first declared that I was going to Bhutan, I saw surprised looks in
It is 5 am and it has rained heavily last night in Darjeeling. Stray drops
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27 thoughts on “Bhutan – Permit requirements for Indians

  1. so both the permit can be done in one day?
    and how much time it will take to get both the permit?
    is it the same office for both? if not, where is the vehicle permit office?

    1. Yes. Both the permits can be done in a day provided you are ready with all the documents and cross the border before 12 noon atleast. RSTA office is different but not far from immigration office. Just ask anyone around.

  2. I've got same question, Is it open on Saturday/Sunday? Also, if not, A friend can reach on border town on friday morning, can he get permit for rest of people if we give him all the documents?

  3. Hi, Do children below 10 years also need passport to visit Bhutan? My both kids passport are expired (as for kids the passport is valid only for 5 years). Can I travel with my kids expired passport? if not, any other document that can work for my kids?

  4. You can take any valid identity proof like PAN card etc. However, it is recommended that you take passport as that is the most trusted form of ID. If your children do not have passport, I think you can carry any form of ID for them and the authorities should be able to give you permits based on their parents' IDs. They wouldn't stop small children on border would they? 🙂 That would be stupid of them especially since the children are minor. Did I answer all your questions?

  5. Thank you so much for your response! Yes, this should help. Infact while searching more, I found on one website that the kids can travel with adults with birth certificate and school ID (no need for passport for kids). So if that's the case, we should be good for the trip with kids to Bhutan!

  6. Hi, am a solo Indian traveler, and I wish to randomly backpack across the country for about a month, with no fixed itinerary, is it possible ? what are the permissions I would require ?

  7. Hello. Solo travel across Bhutan without a plan is a great idea. You would need two permits in Phuentsholing (one for yourself and another one for your vehicle if you are driving). These permits will allow you to enter Paro, Thimphu and Dochula Pass. If you want to go to Punakha or Ha Valley, you need separate permits from Thimphu which will take one full day to process.

  8. will be in bhutan in april 25th to 29th.can u sujjest some hotels of budgeted style. i am solo traveller on a motorcycle. prefer rooms costing rs 500/day.

  9. Hi, you needn't worry about hotels. There are many in Phuentsholing, Paro and Thimphu within that budget. If you have a bike, you can easily drive around and explore different hotels. I really do not think that you need a recommendation for that because even I explored after I reached.

  10. Hey Gaurav, I stumbled upon your portal while reading about Bhutan and I have been reading other posts too. Glad to see that you are able to travel the way you wanted and able to make a living too.

    I have a question too which will help me and may be others. Most of the resources speek about the 200 – 250 USD minimum payment for travel. But I am also seeing INR 500 stay per day etc. Generally we are backpackers and prefer to meet the road as it is and travel with minimal planning. I hope that is possible ? We can probably book a base location and then plan the rest after reaching say, the capital if we are OK with spending 1 – 2 days roaming around making enquiries etc ?

  11. USD 250 per day is not applicable for India and Bangladesh people. It is only for other countries from Europe, US etc. Indians can go and take permit and spend as they like according to their pocket. If you are an Indian, you needn't worry about spending so much.

  12. Hi Gaurav, it possible to get a permit on saturday/sunday from phuentsholing? I am planning to visit Bhutan in 2 months.

  13. Hi Neeti. It is better that you plan in such a way that you reach Phuentsholing on Friday morning. It is a government office and will be closed on Saturday & Sunday (although I am not sure). Still do not take a chance.

  14. I inquired with Phuentsholing hotels and they say permit office is closed on Saturday, Sunday and all govt. holidays. So please plan accordingly.

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