The Bhutanese visa process may appear complicated, but is actually quite straight forward once you understand it. Most countries issue visas from their embassies abroad and stamp it in your passport, but not Bhutan. Bhutanese embassies abroad cannot issue Visas for travel to Bhutan. You must apply in advance through a tour operator such as Book Bhutan Tour and receive approval before you travel to Bhutan. Visas are approved by the Immigration Department in Thimphu, with which you allowed to enter Bhutan or board the Druk Air flight and Bhutan Airlines.
The person visiting Bhutan as tourist visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received, the visa approval will be managed within three days.
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Bhutan and Swiss official can travel without visa.
Geographically Bhutan and Switzerland look-alike with the landscape. Swiss and Bhutanese have long diplomacy tie in friendship and has assisted Bhutan in most of its development project. Bhutan and Swiss official can travel without the visa, this means that Bhutanese and Swiss officials may travel freely to each other’s country.
Diplomacy: Bhutanese and Swiss officials and diplomats will not require the visa to travel to either country after the governments signed a visa exemption agreement on Oct 8, 2014.
Switzerland is the first country outside the region to sign such an agreement with Bhutan. Until now, the visa is exempted for diplomatic and official passport holders from Bangladesh, Maldives, Thailand, and India.
Foreign Secretary Yeshey Dorji, who signed the agreement with the Swiss ambassador, said this was an exclusive arrangement given to Bhutan.
“The visa exemption will greatly facilitate official travel between the two countries and strengthen contacts and cooperation,” he said, adding that Switzerland is one of the oldest development partners that continue to support the country.
Foreign ministry officials said that Bhutanese, who need to attend urgent meetings in Switzerland, the hub of many international organizations, could now do so without any inconvenience.
“There were times when officials had to cancel their attendance because it took about three weeks, at the earliest, to get a Swiss visa,” an official said.
Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, Linus von Castelmur, said the visa requirement waiver for officials and diplomats is an expression of trust and solidarity between the two countries, and of the desire to further strengthen friendly relations.
Official and diplomats would be permitted to stay for a period of up to 90 days without the visa.
The agreement does not extend to business travelers and tourists. Swiss tourists would require a tourist visa and be subject to the royalty as usual.
Bhutan and Switzerland formally established diplomatic relations in 1985. Development cooperation started from the 1960s.
The ambassador said many bilateral partnerships have formed over the years. “An active exchange between the judiciary of our countries is taking place, as part of which Bhutanese students are obtaining legal degrees from Swiss Universities for the first time,” ambassador Linus von Castelmur said.
“Bhutan has changed impressively in the past 30 years. Creativity and new thinking are required to continuously develop this partnership for the next 30 years,” he said, adding that he wishes to continue a political dialogue and more professional and economic exchanges in future.
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