You need a valid passport to enter Bhutan. Make sure it has sufficient empty pages for stamps, especially if you are travelling via India or Nepal. Also make sure your passport isn’t about to expire (six months or less). In case you loose your passport, you have to travel ‘stateless’ to India, since it’s the only country in the region that can issue a replacement passport. Always carry some additional form of identification and a photocopy of your passport with you.

Flight tickets

Druk air is the only airline that flies to and from Bhutan. Therefore the fares are expensive. You find the latest fares at www.drukair.com.bt. Discounts or special student fares only apply to Bhutanese citizens. Also be aware of the Druk Air rule that if fares are increased after the ticket is issued, the flight company may collect the difference when you check in.


Prior to your arrival in Bhutan, you must apply in advance for a visa through a tour operator. If you don’t have an approved visa, you will not be permitted to board the Druk Air fligth to Bhutan. All applications for tourist visas must be initialised by a Bhutanese tour operator and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu. A visa costs 20 US dollar and is approved and issued prior to entry, with the pre-payment of your travel itinerary. Therefore you need to finalize your travel plans well in advance. Recommend is at least 90 days, especially if you travel to Bhutan in the peak months of September, October, November, March, April or early May. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu issues visa to all foreign travelers.

Visa extensions

You will receive a visa for the exact period you have arranged to be in Bhutan. If you want to stay longer than two weeks in the kingdom, you can apply with the Bhutan Tourism Corporation Limited (BTCL) in Thimphu for an extension of your tourist visa. A visa extension for a period not exceeding six months costs Nu 510  (10$).

Restricted area permits

Exept the Paro and Thimphu valleys, the rest of Bhutan is classified as a restricted area. Tour operators obtain a permit for the places on your itinerary. This permit is checked and endorsed by the police at immigration checkpoints strategically located at important road junctions. Your tour operator must return the permit to the government at the completion of the tour, and it is examined for major deviations from the authorised program.

Chorten in Bhutanese style up on Dochu La pass at 3140 meters

Dochu La pass (3140 m) - Chorten in Bhutanese style


Passport > 6 months valid upon arrival in Bhutan

All nationalities need visa which is issued by the Department of Tourism in Bhutan. You have to apply at least 2,5 months in advance. You can do this yourself, but usually it’s done via a touroperator.

Two pictures

General processing time Embassy is at least 6 weeks. Emergency application is not possible.

More information: Tourism Authority of Bhutan tel.: 00975-2-23251/23252

Before departure passengers must obtain a ‘visa clearance’, which takes about 10 days to process. Airline tickets will not be issued without this clearance. Visa will be stamped in passport at port of entry ( Paro Airport) after payment of USD 20.

Extension of visa up to 6 months can be obtained in Thimphu after payment of Nu 510 (10$)

Visa note: for Bhutan visas, use your full name exactly as it appears on your passport. It is absolutely imperative that your Druk Air tickets have the same name as your passport and your visa!  Druk Air will not allow you to board even if your name has changed.