Everyone needs a visa for Nepal but with so many recent changes it can be really confusing.
Let’s start with the basics – the tourist visa.
Assuming you are not Indian, American, from a SAARC country or Chinese you get basically the same tourist visa. That is unless you are from one of the countries listed below that require a visa BEFORE arrival in Nepal.
To obtain a tourist visa you need to either apply online or at Tribhuvan International Airport on arrival.
Nepal visas can be obtained online at Nepal Immigration Website
Visas can also be issued on arrival.
Please note, in both cases, including online visa applications, payment must be made on arrival in Nepal. Please bring US Dollars in the exact amount. No change will be given in convertible currency.
To obtain a tourist visa on arrival in Kathmandu airport you require:
- Original passport
- Two passport-sized photos
- Fill up the form on arrival (or have done this online in advance)
- Visa fees (USD)
- 15 days $30
- 30 days $50
- 90 days $125
Please ensure your passport has at least six months validity on it and two blank pages.
Those on tourist visas cannot stay more than 150 days in any calendar year.
What Happens if I am From One of the Other Countries Mentioned?
Visitors from certain countries have special arrangements or require special visas for Nepal. Here are the details:-
If you are American, then good news! There is a new, five-year multi-entry tourist visa for you! Here is what the American Government says:
“Nepal now provides 5 years multiple-entry tourist visas to American citizens. Prior to arrival, American citizens must apply for a 5-year multiple entry tourist visas at the Embassy of Nepal in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate General of Nepal in New York City. Unlike a tourist visa issued upon arrival, tourists possessing a 5-year multiple entry tourist visa can stay no more than 180 days in any given calendar year. The visa fee for 5 years visa is US$ 160. Please note: Foreigners may generally obtain a regular tourist visa upon arrival and then visit the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu to change to another visa type.”
We would like to add that we know of Americans who have applied directly to the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu for their 5-year tourist visa but were unsuccessful.
It seems as yet, (summer 2019) information has not trickled down to the Immigration Department in Nepal. So best to apply ahead of time in the USA. Please note that you cannot stay more than 180 days in a calendar year even with the new 5-year visa.
If you are Indian, even better news! You do not need to obtain any visa for travel to and within Nepal. If you are arriving by land, a valid ID (such as your Indian ID) is fine.
When arriving by flight, in theory, you can use your Indian ID but to be on the safe side, we recommend bringing your passport.
Those of you from SAARC countries also have different rules. Those visitors from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are entitled to FREE entry for up to 30 days once every calendar year. For repeat visits, the visa fee is the same as for other tourists.
Although Afghanistan is in SAARC, visitors from there require a visa BEFORE arrival in Nepal.
For visitors coming from China, there is no visa fee – they are receiving a gratis tourist visa. It is unclear how long Chinese visitors are allowed to stay on their gratis tourist visa.
We assume it is up to the maximum as 150 days per the calendar year as per other nationalities. Visitors from China can complete the form online or on arrival in Nepal.
No Visa on Arrival in Nepal
Visitors from the following countries must obtain a visa for Nepal BEFORE departure from their home country. Please check with the Embassy in Nepal in your country for further information.
Visa on Arrival in Nepal by Land Crossings
For countries other than those who require a visa before arriving in Nepal, visas can also be obtained at the following land-crossings:-
Between Indian and Nepal
Between Tibet (China) and Nepal
What if I Want to Stay Longer In Nepal? What Other Types of Nepal Visas are Available?
Yes, it is possible to stay longer in Nepal on a non-tourist visa. But it is extremely difficult and becoming more so.
The types of non-tourist visas available are:-
- Tourist Visa
- Business Visa
- Diplomatic Visa
- Non-Tourist Visa
- Official Visa
- Resident Visa
- Study Visa
And when we say ‘available’ we mean that according to the Government of Nepal these visas are available. But those who have tried to obtain one recently might say differently!
Again, if you are American, new rules apply entitling you to five-year visas. Please consult with the Nepal Embassy in the USA.
Business Visa for Nepal
A Business Visa is available for those who invest money to start up a business in Nepal. The amount of investment has just been increased (in 2019) to US$500,000.
So unless you have a lot of money or are a large organisation, this pretty much counts you out. However, if you do want to set up a business here you can obtain a one year visa in return. This is renewable every year on certain conditions.
If you bring your whole investment into the country in one lump sum, you may qualify for a five-year visa.
Visa fee: depending on the size of your investment, approximately $500 per year.
This is a generic term for visas available to those who work for international development organizations, are married to Nepali nationals, are a tourist group leader, are foreign journalists (but we wonder whether that is still valid), and some other folks. The visa is valid for a year and is renewable.
Visa fees: vary. Please check with the Immigration Department.
Here is what the Immigration Department has to say about Non-tourist Visas:-
- Foreigners involved in the social and economic development works approved by Nepal Government, under the expenses to be borne by governmental institutions of the foreign-friendly nations;
- Foreigners having obtained a recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work in the institutions run by the foreign missions located in Nepal,
- Foreign representatives having obtained a recommendation from the Ministry of Information and Communications to work in foreign newspapers and news agencies,
- Foreigners having obtained a recommendation from the concerned Ministry to act as helpers of the foreigners having obtained diplomatic or official visas,
- Foreigners having obtained approval from Nepal Government to work on remuneration basis in any firm, company, association, industry or enterprise within Nepal,
- Foreigners having obtained recommendation from the Ministry concerned to work in any international airlines organization located in Nepal,
- Foreign importer visiting Nepal from the third country on the recommendation of foreign governmental agency or Federation of Industries and Commerce or Chamber of Commerce of a foreign country,
- Foreigners who have marital relations with a citizen of Nepal and furnish the marriage registration certificate.
- Foreigner of Nepalese origin or such children of a Nepalese father or mother, who have come to Nepal to visit their relatives or father, mother, brother or sister of the foreigner married with Nepalese citizen having recommendation letter of relationship from the concern embassy, who have come to Nepal to visit her/him.
- Foreigners who come to Nepal to work, on the recommendation of the concerned Ministry pursuant to an agreement or understanding agreed upon at the governmental or non-governmental level.
- Foreigners having obtained the recommendation of the concerned Ministry to conduct a feasibility study of an industry or enterprise for a period not exceeding 6 months. But the foreigner, according to this part, must submit the document of the source of investment, qualification of investor and details of experience along with the visa application form.
- Group leader of the foreigners making an application, accompanied by the recommendation of the Ministry of concerned, for making the tourists’ tour in the group in Nepal,
- Foreigners who have obtained the recommendation of the concerned Ministry and who have to come to work in a non-governmental organization as per the agreement concluded with the Social Welfare Council or concerned Ministry.
Resident Visa for Nepal
At the time of writing (summer 2019) we are unsure whether these still exist. In theory, they are issued to people who have contributed to Nepal in such a way as to be recognized by the Government of Nepal, or who have reached retirement age (we think its 65) and who then bring US$20,000 into the country every year, to be spent (with proof) in Nepal.
If you are famous you may also qualify for this visa which is valid for a year, renewable thereafter for one year at a time.
Visa fee: Please enquire at Immigration Department
Study Visa for Nepal
This visa is for those who wish to study in Nepal in a recognised institute i.e. the Tribhuvan University or the Rangjung Yeshe Institute, or for those who are coming to Nepal to undertake research for their study in their home, or another country. This is also perhaps the easiest and least expensive non-tourist visa to obtain.
You have to pay the tuition fees of the institute you wish to study at. These vary so please enquire at the relevant institute. The most popular institute is the Government of Nepal run
Bishwo Bhasa Campus. Here you learn the Nepali language for 2 hours a day, Monday to Friday. The fee is US$500 per semester.
Then the visa fee of US$30 per month. Plus extra for re-entry permits. There are two intakes a year, in June and January.
In addition to the campus fees and visa fees, students must show US$1,500 in a Nepal bank account to obtain admission. They must also attend 70% of the classes to qualify for a visa for the following semester.
Prices are higher for those who are doing their own research and want to obtain a student visa for this purpose.
Here is what the Immigration Department says:
- The study visa shall be granted to the foreigners and their family who, having obtained the approval of Nepal Government, come to study, teach or conduct research in any educational institute in Nepal.
- Except for the foreigners who visit Nepal under the award of scholarship by Nepal Government or the accepted program of Nepal Government or Students and researcher under the agreement within the two universities or students from SAARC member states or students studying up to secondary level the foreigners intending to study and conduct research at their own will shall be granted the study visa only on the basis of the authentic source, in the case of the foreigner, to make expenses of at least three thousand American Dollars, grossly or on a monthly installment basis per annum during their stay in Nepal, and in the case of their family, that of at least two thousand American Dollars per annum, or on the basis of the submission of a certificate of the exchange of foreign currency equivalent thereto or bank statement equivalent thereto.
- The study visa shall be granted for one year at a time. In cases the visa has to be granted for a period in excess thereof, the term of the visa may be extended by taking into consideration of the study and research progress report of such person, his activities as well as other necessary matters. Provided, however, that in the case of a researcher or student, such extension of the term shall be only for up to the period of research or that of educational degree under study.
Work Permit in Nepal
None of the above visas allow you to work in Nepal. If you want to work you require a Work Permit.
This is only available through your office or a legally registered business. This is a very complex and lengthy (up to 5 months) process as several Government of Nepal Ministries are involved.
Realistically, unless you are working with a company of international recognition it is virtually impossible to obtain a work permit these days.
Visa fee: refer to the Department of Immigration for the latest news.
Volunteering Visa for Nepal
- IT IS ILLEGAL TO VOLUNTEER IN NEPAL ON A TOURIST VISA.
- IT IS ILLEGAL TO UNDERTAKE VOLUNTOURISM PLACEMENTS.
NO orphanage or school has permission to have volunteers.
So, volunteer at your own risk!
There are some exceptions such as VSO and Peace Corps who have legal permission from the Government of Nepal to employ volunteers. If you wish to volunteer with them, you have to apply in your own country.
Nepal Immigration Department Contact Details
Department of Immigration
Kalikasthan | Dilli Bazaar | Kathmandu
Telephone: +977-01-4429659, 4429660