If you’re traveling to the magnificently mountainous country of Nepal, the first two things that you should have with you are your passport and your visa. Only Indian nationals can enter Nepal without a visa (as long as they have acceptable proof and they are arriving from India). Transit passengers who are continuing their journey by the same connecting aircraft on the same day do not need a visa, either. They, however, have to carry valid onward or return documentation. They are also not allowed to leave the airport. If you don’t have a visa and you’re neither an Indian national nor a transit passenger, then forget about your up-close-and-personal meeting with Mt. Everest.
There are ten different types of visas available. Make sure to apply for the right one to avoid any troubles with immigration officers.
Transit visa. You can get this visa from the Airport Immigration Office within 48 hours of the presentation of your confirmed air ticket. You’ll have to pay US$ 5.00 for this type of visa.
Business visa. This is issued to foreigners who will be conducting business in Nepal. Applications are made upon arrival and have to be approved by the Ministry of Industry.
Diplomatic visa. Issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this type of visa is only available to diplomatic passport holders and their family members. You must be recommended by the foreign diplomatic mission to be granted diplomatic privileges.
Official visa. This type of visa is granted to administrative and technical government officials and employees of international and regional institutions located in Nepal. This is also issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Study visa. As the name suggests, a study visa is issued to a foreigner who wants to study in any educational institute in Nepal. It is also issued to those who want to teach or perform research work in the country, provided they have obtained approval from the government. This visa is valid for up to one year, but can be extended to match the academic year or the period of research. It is issued by the Department of Immigration, and paid in Nepalese currency equivalent to US$40 a month.
Tourist visa. If your plan involves sight-seeing or trekking, this visa is for you. There are two types of tourist visas: single entry and multiple entry. Single entry visas can be obtained for US$30, and are good for 60 days. You may extend your stay by paying US$50 for 30 days.
Non-tourist visa. This type of visa is issued by any Nepalese embassy or diplomatic mission to foreigners involved in the economic and social development works approved by the government; foreigners who will be working in the institutions run by foreign diplomatic missions located in Nepal; foreign representatives who will be working in foreign news agencies and international air lines in the country; and foreigners with marital relation with a Nepalese citizen (a marriage registration certificate is needed as proof). The fee should be in Nepalese currency equivalent to US$10 to US$60 depending on the purpose of visit.
Residential visa. This type is available to foreign nationals who fall under any of the following: renowned international personalities; businessmen who invest at least $100,000 at one time in an industrial enterprise; persons capable of rendering excellent contribution to the cultural, social and economic development of Nepal; and persons interested in settling in Nepal for good without any business. Those who have renounced their Nepalese citizenship but still intend to stay in Nepal for good may also apply for this visa. This visa requires an annual issuance fee of US$700 and an annual renewal fee of US$1200.
Non-Residential Visa. This is open to non-residents of Nepalese origin who intend to study, teach, conduct business or simply stay in Nepal. This is issued by the Department of Immigration. A US$100 issuance fee is collected annually. The visa is valid for 10 years.
Temporary visa. In order to cover the delay in issuing long-term applications for a non-tourist, study or business visa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues temporary visas. This type is valid for three months. It is obtained from the Department of Immigration upon the Embassy’s recommendation.
To get a Nepalese visa, you need to submit a completed application form, a passport-size photo, a valid passport and the relevant fees (in cash, bankdraft or postal order). Aside from these, here are some additional requirements:
- study visa – a recommendation letter from Nepal’s Ministry of Educational, six copies of completed application, a photocopy of your passport and a bank encashment receipt with a balance equivalent to US$250 per month or US$3,000
- non-tourist visa – a work permit (if an employee), a recommendation letter from the concerned department or ministry, a marriage certificate, a relation certificate, and a valid press ID card issued by the Department of Information
- residential visa – a certificate of registration of the industrial enterprise, a health certificate, a bank statement showing annual expenses equivalent to US$20,000, a no objection letter from the embassy of your country, and a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Home of Nepal
- non-residential visa – a health certificate, a recommendation letter of relationship from the embassy, municipality or village development committee, and a recommendation from an academic institution (if a student)
All visa applications, with the exception of those for business visas, should be submitted to any Nepalese Consulate or Embassy. Visas can also be obtained from the Immigration authorities upon your arrival at all entry points, provided that you have all the valid travel documents, two passport photographs and the relevant fees. Business visa applications must be submitted directly to the Department of Immigration.
Foreigners are requested to be mindful of the expiry date of their passports and visas to avoid future problems. If you wish, you may apply for a visa extension as long as you do it within the valid period. Also, do not lose your travel documents. Living in Nepal without a valid visa or passport is a punishable offense.
If you have a tourist visa, you are not allowed to accept a job, conduct business or offer voluntary service. If you wish to change the purpose of your stay, visit the Department of Immigration.
If you are a trekker, remember that deviation from the given routes in the trekking permit is a violation of the law (Learn the Six tips to make trekking more tolerable). Be aware of cheaters or brokers, or any counterfeit documents of trekking permits to avoid any legal complications. Contact the Department of Immigration directly. If you have secured your Nepal visa time to to conquest Mt. Everest by learning how to climb Mount Everest.