Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
Travelers to Bangladesh should be aware that Dhaka’s Shahjalal International airport has been resurfacing its sole runway since December 1, 2012. The project has shut down all commercial arrivals and departures from 12:45 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. daily for the remainder of the project. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) estimates the project will run till September 1, 2013, but could run more or less time depending on local conditions. As a result, several flights per day have been rescheduled. The project has created stress on airport check-in counters, immigration/customs desks, and access roads. Travelers should expect delays both arriving to and departing from Dhaka during this time. In addition, flights unable to land while the runway is open may be diverted to Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport. CAAB has urged airlines to instruct their passengers to allow extra time for check-in and immigration processing for all flights.
A passport valid for six months longer than your planned length of stay in Bangladesh and at least one blank visa page, visa, and onward or return ticket are required to enter Bangladesh. The United States is on a list of countries eligible for visitor (tourist) visas on arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh has not widely publicized its policies for visas on arrival. Travelers are encouraged to secure visas before traveling as visas on arrival are not a traveler’s right, but a privilege extended to travelers by the immigration officer at the port of entry. You may encounter delays in airport visa issuance or be refused entry to countries en route to Bangladesh if you do not have a visa before arrival in Bangladesh. Therefore, we highly recommend that you obtain a visa prior to arrival.
While visas on arrival can be issued with single-entry validity up to a maximum of 30 days, most visas on arrival are issued only with the validity of the duration of the visitor’s planned to travel in Bangladesh. The visa on arrival fee for U.S. citizens is US $50 plus taxes (about US $1) payable upon arrival in Dhaka in U.S. dollars, cash only. Validity is single-entry, 15 or 30 days. Travelers other than those on government duty must have a minimum of US $500 in cash or on a credit card with them and must possess a return ticket if in Bangladesh on a short visit. Please note that visas on arrival are also now available at Shah Amanat International Airport located in Chittagong and Osmani International Airport in Sylhet. A valid visa in an expired or canceled U.S. passport is not acceptable to Bangladeshi authorities. If you are issued a new U.S. passport for any reason, you will need a new visa. You may obtain a visa in your new passport at the Directorate of Immigration and Passport, located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Agargaon, Dhaka. The phone numbers are 88-02-913-1891 and 913-4011. The fee for the new visa is U.S. $160 plus taxes (effective June 1, 2012). Please carry photocopies of the bio-data page of your U.S. passport and the pages containing the Bangladeshi visa and Bangladeshi immigration stamps. If your passport is lost or stolen, copies will help you apply for a replacement passport and an exit visa from the Bangladesh government. Replacing a lost visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.
Bangladeshi-Americans and their immediate family members are eligible for a “No Visa Required for Travel to Bangladesh” seal, which can be issued by the nearest Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulate. This endorsement allows travelers multiple entries into Bangladesh with no restriction on duration of stay, for the validity of the bearer’s passport. As with visas, “No Visa Required” seals are no longer valid in expired passports. If the passport bearing your original “No Visa Required” seal is lost or expires, you must obtain a new seal in a valid passport prior to entering or departing Bangladesh.
If you intend to use Dhaka as a hub to visit other countries in the region, ensure that you obtain a multiple-entry Bangladeshi visa before your arrival. If you intend to work for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Bangladesh, you should ensure that your sponsor has provided you with up-to-date advice on the kind of visa you must obtain before your arrival. It is difficult and time-consuming to change your immigration status after you have arrived in Bangladesh.
Visas to Bangladesh that are expiring may be extended at the Directorate of Immigration and Passport, located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Agargaon, and Dhaka. The phone numbers are 88-02-913-1891 and 913-4011.
Visa rules introduced in October 2006 require foreign nationals who come to Bangladesh to work or for long-term visits to have the appropriate work permits and clearances on arrival. There are increased financial penalties for overstaying visas. Additionally, those who overstay for more than 90 days could be charged with violating the Foreigners Act of 1946. For further information on these rules, please check with the nearest Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulate (U.S. addresses listed below) before traveling, or visit the Bangladeshi Immigration Police website for further details on rules relating to foreigner registration.
When traveling by air, all foreigners except children under the age of two must pay a departure tax. This tax is often included when air tickets are purchased. Otherwise, it is collected at the airport at the time of departure. The amount of the departure tax varies depending on the destination (e.g., the departure tax for the United States is the most expensive, at 3,000 Bangladesh Taka [BDT]). There is no tax for transit passengers transiting Bangladesh without a visa and in-country for 72 hours or fewer. These requirements are subject to change, and travelers are advised to check with the Embassy of Bangladesh before traveling. If departing the country by road, foreigners are required to obtain a road permit from the Director-General, Immigration, and Passports, Dhaka.
If your visa or “No Visa Required” seal has expired or is in a passport that is no longer valid, you should expect delays upon departure. Travelers who have overstayed by 1 – 14 days will be fined 200 BDT per day, which can be paid at the Shahjalal International Airport Immigration Office. Fines for overstays of 15 days or more cannot be paid at the Shahjalal International Airport. Travelers who have overstayed 15 – 90 days are subject to a fine of 500 BDT per day, which must be paid at the Immigration and Passport Office at 7th Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Agargaon, Dhaka. Individuals who overstay in excess of 90 days face prosecution by the Bangladeshi Immigration and Passport Authority.
The Government of Bangladesh has announced that a new security surcharge will be levied on departing passengers, but no date of implementation has been set.
As of December 2012, the Bangladesh Customs Authority has established a currency export policy for travelers as they are departing the country. Travelers are not allowed to carry more than 2000 BDT when exiting Bangladesh. This is applicable for all land, sea, and airport travel. Some travelers have reported being questioned by customs officials on how much taka they are carrying and even having to surrender excess taka. Foreign travelers can bring in and take out up to U.S. $5,000 without declaration. Travelers must declare more than this amount in the airport customs office.
The Government of Bangladesh has no written policy regarding the entry of individuals with HIV/AIDS. However, according to anecdotal reports, some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions may exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh has informed the Embassy that a health officer or immigration officer at the airport who has concerns about an individual's possible HIV/AIDS status will make a case-specific determination regarding that individual's entry. For further information on entry requirements and possible exceptions to the exit requirements, please contact the Embassy of Bangladesh, 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone 202-244-0183/7248 /7216/3830/3571, fax 202-244-2771/7830, or the Bangladeshi Consulates in New York at 211 E. 43rd Street, Suite 502, New York, NY 10017, telephone 212-599-6767/6850/1874, fax 212-682-9211 or Los Angeles at 10850 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250, Los Angeles, CA 90024, telephone 323-932-0100, fax 323-932-9703.