Pre-travel research about the necessary permits, visas and Forex requirements is always a daunting task for most travelers.
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 by Election Commission of India)
2. Application written to the Immigration officer requesting a permit
3. You need to fill a form which is available at the immigration office
4. Two passport size photographs
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 needs to be filled along with it
3. Xerox copy of the travelers permit
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.
Note: Please do check the route permits to ensure that all the places you will be visiting in Bhutan are covered. For the places not covered, you will need to apply for the permits at the Department of Immigration in Thimphu / RSTA in Thimphu (if required).
We do provide permits in advance for our clients. However, they would require the guide identified in the permit to accompany them during the entire trip. For more information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Sample Bhutan e-Permit Clearance & Route Permit below: