Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
You will need a passport valid for at least six months following the date of your arrival to Bhutan and a visa to enter and exit Bhutan. All visas are approved from Thimphu and are only issued to tourists booked with a locally licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator (See the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators website for further information). All visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must obtain visa clearance from Thimphu before coming to Bhutan. Visa clearance takes at least 10 days to process and air tickets to Bhutan cannot be purchased without visa clearance. At your point of entry into Bhutan, immigration authorities will stamp a visa into your passport upon payment of USD 20. You will also need to provide two passport photos. Tourist visas are usually granted for the scheduled travel period. More information, including a list of authorized tour operators in Bhutan, may be obtained from the Tourism Council of Bhutan, PO Box 126, Thimphu, Bhutan, telephone 975-2-323251, 2-323252, fax 975-2-323695.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan sets a non-negotiable minimum daily tariff for all visitors to Bhutan. The rate includes all accommodations, all meals, transportation, services of licensed guides and porters, and cultural programs where and when available. The rate is the same for both cultural tours and treks. Travelers should contact the Tourism Council for the latest daily tariff.
At this time only Drukair, the Bhutanese government airline, services Bhutan. Entry by air is available only via India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, and Singapore. The border with China is closed. Drukair will board only travelers with visa clearance from the Tourism Authority of Bhutan.
Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bhutan. There are no disclosure regulations or restrictions for HIV/AIDS patients who enter Bhutan on a tourist visa for a maximum two-week visit. For longer stays, however, applicants must present the results of an HIV/AIDS test completed within the six months prior to their visit. The test can also be administered by Bhutanese officials upon arrival. Travelers should verify this information with the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations before they travel.
For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please contact the Bhutan Mission to the United Nations (Consulate General), 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 682-2268, fax (212) 661-0551. Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Bhutanese embassy or consulate.