Bhutan - Consular Information Sheet
October 24, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Bhutan is a small land-locked Himalayan
monarchy. By treaty, it accepts the guidance of India in foreign
affairs. Facilities for tourism are limited.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Tourists are admitted only in
groups by pre-arrangement with the Tourism Authority of Bhutan,
P.O. Box 126, Thimpu, Bhutan, tel. (975-2) 23251, 23252; fax (975-2)
23695. Entry is available only via India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and
Thailand. The border with China is closed.
Visitors to Bhutan are required to book through a registered
tour operator in Bhutan. This can be done directly or through
a travel agent abroad. The minimum daily tariff is regulated and
fixed by the Royal Government. The rate includes all accommodations,
all meals, transportation, services of licensed guides and porters,
and cultural programs where and when available.
A passport and visa are required for entry into and exit from
Bhutan. All visitors, including those on official U.S. Government
business, must obtain visas prior to entering the country. There
are no provisions for visas upon arrival.
For additional entry/exit information, please contact the
Bhutan Mission to the United Nations (Consulate General),
2 UN Plaza, 27th floor, New York, NY 10017, tel. (212)826-1919,
fax (212)826-2998, or via the Internet at http://www.embassy.org/embassies/bt.html.
CRIME INFORMATION: There is relatively little crime in
Bhutan. Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse snatching,
is occasionally reported. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport
abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to
the Department of State's pamphlets, A
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to South Asia, for ways to promote a more
trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are available by mail from
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Bhutan are limited.
Some medicine is in short supply. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often
expect immediate cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States or elsewhere can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please
ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital
or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Bhutan is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Not Applicable (Tourists pay
a set fee per day, which includes supplied transportation.)
Road Conditions/Maintenance in Urban Areas: Good
Road Conditions/Maintenance in Rural Areas: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Although Bhutan's road network is not extensive, principal sites
likely to be visited by travelers are connected by reasonably
well-maintained, paved, two-lane roads. Traffic is rarely heavy,
but sharp curves, narrow lanes, and limited visibility in mountainous
terrain make traveling slow and potentially hazardous. Reduced
speeds and special caution are advisable.
general information about road safety, including links to foreign
government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority
to operate such service between the U.S. and Bhutan, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Bhutan's
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Bhutan customs authorities enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Bhutan of items such as firearms, ammunition, explosives
and military stores; narcotics and drugs (except for medically
prescribed drugs); wildlife products, especially those of endangered
species; and antiques. Please contact the Tourism Authority of
Bhutan for specific information on customs requirements. (Please
see the section on Entry/Exit Requirements.)
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than penalties for similar offenses in the United States. Persons
violating Bhutan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking
in illegal drugs are strictly enforced in Bhutan. Convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Bhutan is an earthquake-prone country.
General information about natural disaster preparedness is available
via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information
on international adoption of children and international parental
child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_
issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
EMBASSY LOCATION AND REGISTRATION: There is no U.S. Embassy
or Consulate in Bhutan. Although no formal diplomatic relations
exist between the United States and Bhutan, informal contact is
maintained through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. Updated information
on travel and security in Bhutan may be obtained at any U.S. consulate
or embassy in India or Bangladesh. Americans living in or visiting
Bhutan are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
They may also obtain assistance from the U.S. consulates in India
or, to a more limited degree, from the U.S. Embassies in Dhaka,
Bangladesh or Kathmandu, Nepal.
U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located at Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri
110021, tel. (91)(11)419-8000, fax:(91)(11)419-0017. The Embassy's
Internet home page address is http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/in1/wwwhmain.html
U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) is located at Lincoln
House, 78 Bhulabhai Desai Road, 400026, tel. (91)(22) 363-3611/
Internet home page address is http://usembassy.state.gov/mumbai/.
U.S. Consulate General in Calcutta is at 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani,
700071, tel. (91)(033)282-3611 through 282-3615. The Internet
home page address is http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/in4/wwwhmain.html
U.S. Consulate General in Chennai (Madras) is at Mount Road,
600006, tel. (91)(44) 827-3040. Internet home page address is
U.S. Embassy in Dhaka is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Madani
Ave, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212, tel. (880) (2) 882-4700-22, fax (880)(2)
U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is located at Pani Pokhari, Kathmandu,
tel. (977)(1)411179, 410531, fax(977)(1)419963. The Internet home
page address is http://www.south-asia.com/USA/.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
15, 1999 to expand information on Entry/Exit Requirements, Traffic
Safety and Road Conditions, and Embassy Location and Registration,
and to add information on Customs Regulations.