The Department of Immigration, under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs in Bhutan, is the only authority that issues visas for travel to Bhutan. With the exception of Indian visitors who will need a permit, all other visitors must obtain a visa to enter Bhutan.Nationals of Bangladesh and the Maldives shall be eligible for a visa on arrival at the port of entry. Nationals of Switzerland and Thailand holding diplomatic and official passports shall be also eligible for a visa on arrival at the port of entry.
Although visitors from Bangladesh and Maldives can process visas on arrival, it is recommended that these be applied online to reduce wait time and for faster clearance at the port of entry. The visa fee is USD 40 per person and it is non-refundable. While the process to issue the visa is usually quick, the visa can take up to five working days to process.
The Following documents are required to process the visa:
- A passport copy is required. The passport must be valid for six months from the intended date of departure from the Kingdom;
- Travel insurance is valid for the duration of the trip and
- A recent passport-size photograph.
The Sustainable Development Fee enables investment in transformative programmes that preserve our cultural traditions, protect our heritage and environment, upgrade infrastructure, create opportunities for our young people, and build resilience.
Press Release on Introduction of Incentives for the Tourism Sector
The Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to announce additional incentives and policy measures to boost the tourism sector. This is in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment; earning foreign exchange; realizing the potential for spillover benefits for ancillary industries; and in boosting overall economic growth.
The incentives and measures shall consist of the following:
- A fifty percent discount shall be granted on the prevailing SDF of USD 200 for US Dollar paying tourists visiting Bhutan. The effective SDF with the discount shall be USD 100 per person per day for US Dollar paying tourists.
- In addition, fifty percent discount on the SDF shall be granted on the rates applied to children aged between 6 to 12 years for US Dollar paying children visiting as tourists.
- The 24 hours SDF waiver for tourists staying in the border towns shall continue.
The above incentives will come into effect from 1 September 2023 and shall remain effective for four years till 31 August 2027. The Royal Government shall conduct periodic assessments of the domestic and international tourism scenarios and may discontinue the above incentives to uphold and promote High Value Low Volume Tourism Policy of Bhutan after 31 August 2027.
There are a few options available for making the SDF payment:
- When applying for the visa or permit, the SDF can be paid via wire transfer or credit card and further, the certified Travel Agents can assist you with the payment procedures (click here).
- The SDF must be paid in USD, but Indians may also pay in INR.
- If eligible for a visa on arrival, guests must pay the applicable SDF in USD at the port of entry.