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Bhutan Visa for US Citizens and Canada Citizens

Lying in the mighty Himalayas, Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is the last true Himalayan kingdom, and is fast becoming a popular tourist destination in Asia. It is one of the most unique tourist destinations on the planet, thanks largely to its isolation from the outside world for centuries.

Opened to tourism in 1974, the kingdom has seen a steady increase in tourist numbers over the last 40 years, with the latest figures for 2017 showing more than 237 thousand visitors within the year.

With more than 10,000 visitors per year traveling to Bhutan from The United States and Canada combined, Bhutan has become a popular tourist destination for the high-end tourists, mainly due to the cost of tours to Bhutan being more expensive than most other countries in Asia.

Getting a Bhutan visa is not as easy as other countries as well. With only three exceptions, Bhutan visas can only be issued once a pre-booked tour has been arranged and the booking paid for in full.

For those who want to visit Bhutan with from the North American, here is the most ultimate guide on how to apply for the Bhutan visa with their US passports or Canadian passports.

Bhutan Visa Requirements for US Citizens

The visa requirements for a US citizen traveling to Bhutan are simple. Tourists must have booked a pre-arranged Bhutan tour first, after which the visa can be applied for.

The required travel documents for Bhutan Visa are only a scanned copy of your passport’s photo and information page, which is sent to the tour operator. Once the operator has that, and the tour has been paid for, the visa can be applied for on your behalf.

Passport of United StatesFor US citizens, the required travel documents for Bhutan Visa are only a scanned copy of your passport's photo and information page.

The application is made through the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), who processes the application with the Immigration Office, and once completed, the Immigration Office send the LoI to the TCB and the immigration desk at Paro International Airport.

The TCB then forward the Letter of Invitation (LoI) to the tour operator and the airlines, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines, and the tour operator sends a copy to you.

The LoI is required to make your flight booking with one of the two airlines that are permitted to fly into Paro International Airport, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines, both of which are Bhutanese-owned carriers.

You cannot book a flight to Bhutan without first having your visa approved. When booking, simply give the details on the LoI to the carrier, who will check it against their copy.

Your flight must be booked in the name of the passport holder for whom the visa was applied, and all details must match the details on the passport used.

>> Know more about How to travel to Bhutan from USA

Bhutan Visa Requirements for Canadian Citizens

Visa requirements for Canadian tourists are the same as for the United States, and almost every other country in the world, with the exception of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

The visa requires you to have a pre-booked tour, arranged through a registered Bhutanese tour operator, who will make the application on your behalf. You need to provide the tour operator with a scanned copy of the photo and information page of your passport, and once received, and your tour is paid for, the visa will be applied for through the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

Tiger's Nest in BhutanOnce you get your Bhutan Visa successfully, you can visit the notable Tiger's Nest and other attractions in Bhutan.

Payment of the cost of the Bhutan tour, for both US and Canadian citizens, is paid to the bank account of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, who will not process the visa without receiving the payment. This payment is held by the TCB until your tour is complete, at which time the portion of the payment due to the tour operator is paid out by the TCB, on completion of a satisfactory post-tour survey, which you are required to complete before exiting the country.

The same process of booking flights to Bhutan as with the US citizens applies to Canadian citizens, and without the LoI, no flight can be booked to Bhutan. Once you arrive in Bhutan, your visa will be stamped into your passport at the immigration desk of Paro International Airport.

Extra Visas for Entering Bhutan from Neighboring Countries

Since there is NO direct flight from US or Canada to Bhutan, you need to get to the countries that offer international direct flights to Bhutan first, and then take the flight to Bhutan.

Recently, there are only five countries provide direct flights to Bhutan, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand and Singapore.

In this case, you may need to have a visa for that country, depending on how long you are planning to stay in the country.

India Visa for Bhutan Tours from India

Transit visas for traveling through India to get to Bhutan are not required if you are flying through one of the five airports in India, and are taking a connecting flight to Bhutan, as long as you have the flight already booked with confirmation and tickets. Transit passengers traveling through India are not permitted to leave the transit area of the relevant airport, and have a 72-hour period in which to board the connecting flight to Bhutan.

If you are planning to stay in India first, or are planning to travel overland from India to Bhutan, then you will need a visa before flying to India. For those traveling overland directly to Bhutan from the airport, a Transit Visa can be arranged, which gives you three days to make the trip. For the purposes of the Transit Visa, the three days equates to 72 hours from the time of your arrival in India to reach the Bhutanese border and cross into Bhutan. The Visa costs US$ 47.70 for US citizens and US$ 27.70 for Canadian Citizens.

Jay Prakash Narayan International AirportOne option to get to Bhutan from USA is taking flight to Patna International Airport in India, then get a train to Bhutan.

For those traveling into India for more than three days before traveling to Bhutan, a standard tourist visa is required to be obtained before travel. India does not have a Visa on Arrival service for US and Canadian citizens, so all visas must be applied for from the embassy in your home country prior to departure.

Tourist visas for India require you to have a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining, two passport-sized photos, proof of onward or return travel, and a completed application form. Postal applications can be made, as long as you include the pre-paid self-addressed return envelope. It is also possible to apply online for an E-visa for US and Canadian citizens, which has the same requirements. The fee for the tourist visa for India is US$ 67.70 for US citizens and US$ 47.70 for Canadian citizens.

Nepal Visa for Bhutan Tours from Nepal

Traveling to Nepal to get to Bhutan is easier for many people than traveling through India, as long as you are not planning on traveling overland to Bhutan from Nepal.

If you are taking a connecting flight to Bhutan from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, no transit visa is required, as long as you have the ticket already booked and confirmed, and you do not leave the transit area of the airport.

If you are planning to have a Nepal tour first, then you can easily get a Visa on Arrival at the airport in Kathmandu, which costs 30 US dollars and only requires your passport with six months validity remaining, a passport-sized photo (if you do not have the photo, the immigration staff will scan the photo in your passport for the cost of two dollars), a completed application slip from the website or the airport kiosks, and the fee. Processing takes less than an hour.

Swayambhunath Temple in NepalIf you're planning a tour to Nepal before you visit Bhutan, the Nepal Visa is required on your arrival in Nepal.

For those brave souls that are planning to take a Nepal India Bhutan tour, you will need to have the Nepal visa on your arrival in Nepal, and a pre-arranged Indian transit visa or tourist visa, depending on your length of stay in India. The Indian State of West Bengal lies between Nepal and Bhutan, and you will need to cross through India to enter Bhutan overland.

However, this is relatively simple to arrange, and if you are planning the trip overland to Bhutan through India, there is a direct rail link from Panitanki, on the eastern border of Nepal, to Hasimara, the closest railway station to Bhutan.

Thailand Visa for Bhutan Tours from Thailand

Traveling through Thailand to get to Bhutan does not require a transit visa, as long as you are taking a connecting flight to the kingdom, and do not leave the transit area of the airport.

If you are planning a trip to Thailand before traveling on to Bhutan, then both US and Canadian citizens have a visa exemption for a maximum period of thirty days in Thailand. This exemption is only valid twice in a calendar year, when entering overland, but is unlimited if you are entering by air to one of the major international airports.


For both US citizens and Canadian Citizens, they need to order a pre-booked Bhutan tour, which covers the Bhutan Visa application, and complete the full payment before they go, so that they can get the visa for Bhutan.

The required documents for applying for the Bhutan Visa are the scanned copies of the photo and information page of your passport with at least six months validity remaining.

Since there is no direct flight from North American to Bhutan, you may also need to apply for the transit visa or tourist visa of Indian, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand or Singapore, which are the only countries offering direct flights to Bhutan.

For most of our customers who came from the US and Canada, the popular countries to start a Bhutan tour are India, Nepal, and Thailand. And it is easy for US citizens and Canadian citizens to get the visa of these countries.

If you have more questions about getting a Bhutan visa with your passport, or need a full arrangement of a multi-country tour packages, such as a Nepal Bhutan tour or an Indian Nepal Bhutan tour with extension to Tibet, you can contact us or just leave your questions below. Our professional travel consultant will contact you within 24 hours.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

Kungga Dundruk, often respectfully referred to as “Manager Kunga”, is the most revered and legendary Tibetan guide in our team.

Currently working as a customer service manager in Lhasa, Kunga used to study business overseas and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland. With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

As a legendary Tibetan guide with 22 years of guide experience, Kunga was awarded the Gold Medalist of China’s Best Tour Guide in 2019, marking the pinnacle of his career. Today, Kunga loves sharing his wealth of Tibetan knowledge through travel articles and stands ready to offer prompt support whenever our guests need help in Lhasa.

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