The Nepal Visa On Arrival Guide (With Border Crossing Tips)
By DAN FORTEZA
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I recently crossed the India-Nepal border and managed to get my Nepal visa on arrival with no issues at Nepal’s Bhairahawa Immigration office. Although there’s nothing nice to see while crossing the Sunauli-Bhairahawa border, I was more than happy to have Nepal as my 30th country (not that I’m counting.) Nepal was also the newest addition to the countries I have visited before the end of year 2019.
So without further ado, here is my guide on how to get your Nepal visa on arrival specifically when crossing Nepal from India overland.
WHO ARE ELIGIBLE OF NEPAL VISA ON ARRIVAL?
First things first, do you need a visa on arrival to visit Nepal? Well, depending on your nationality, you may or may not need a visa on arrival. See the detailed information below which category you fall in.
NOTE: Only the citizens of India do not need a visa to enter Nepal, and can reside permanently as Nepali citizens with no restrictions
Citizens of the following states are required to apply for a visa prior to arrival in Nepal:
With the exception of nationals of states mentioned above, ANY foreign nationals can obtain a tourist visa on arrival. Multiple entry visas can be issued for a duration of stay of 15, 30 or 90 days.
Nationals of SAARC member countries can receive a tourist visa free of charge for 30 days at no cost. Those countries are:
NOTE: In addition, residents of China, Hong Kong, and Macau can have their visa fees waived if they are traveling as tourists since 1 January 2016.
As a Philippine passport holder, I am eligible of getting a Nepal visa on arrival and that is what I’ll be discussing further down below.
Please note that the Nepal visa on arrival is available at:
- Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal
- Any other Entry and Exit points established at the border regions also provide ‘On Arrival Visa’ to foreign nationals hoping enter to Nepal via land.
- The Sunauli border is the most popular entry point from India to Nepal, and vice-versa when traveling overland.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET A NEPAL VISA ON ARRIVAL
There are three things you need to prepare in order to successfully apply for a visa on arrival at the Bhairahawa Immigration Office in Nepal’s border.
- Take note that they DON’T accept payment by debit or credit cards but only by cash in either USD or their local currency (though the US dollar is preferred.)
- The cost depends on how long you intend to stay in Nepal. I paid 30 USD for a 15-day valid visa.
- 30 USD – 15 days max.
- 50 USD – 30 days max.
- 125 USD – 90 days max.
- Photo IDs. Two passport-sized photo IDs (2×2 size will do as well.)
- Confirmed hotel booking. I have only booked my first two-night stay in a cheap hostel I found on Booking.com.
- You will need this information (such as your hostel’s address and its contact number) to fill up the visa form. So make sure you have it prepared.
You can book a room at any hotel in Nepal through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
TRAVELING FROM GORAKHPUR TO SUNAULI CROSSING
If you’re coming from another city in India to travel to Nepal overland, you’ll most probably be traveling by railway train to Gorakhpur which has the closest train station to the Sunauli border crossing.
Again, there’s nothing nice about Gorakhpur or even Sunauli. Nothing at all. Someone once told me that Gorakhpur is just a dusty and unappealing town you want to get out of immediately.
It’s kind of true. After exiting the Gorakhpur railway station at around 10:00 AM, I went straight to the bus station going to Sunauli. You can get to the bus station by foot in 15 minutes. On your way to the bus station, you’ll see this statue of a man riding in a horse.
The buses run all day, starting from about 6:00 AM. They leave approximately every hour, or as soon as they’re full. The bus would take 3-4 hours to get you to Sunauli.
NOTE: Bus fare (Gorakhpur to Sunauli) is 117 INR or 1.63 USD.
CROSSING THE BORDER FROM THE INDIAN SIDE
I arrived at the Sunauli border (on the Indian side) at around 2:00 PM by bus from Gorakhpur. The buses drop passengers in a parking lot a few hundred meters from the border. You can walk, but if you don’t want to, negotiate a cycle rickshaw to take you across.
Just like Gorakhpur, Sunauli is just a dusty town in a poor and inhospitable part of Uttar Pradesh. It’s also recommended that you make the border crossing as quickly as possible.
- For foreigners, the first stop is the Indian immigration office to get a departure stamp in your passport. You’ll find it on your right-hand side before the border.
I got my Indian exit stamp at the Indian Immigration and finally crossed the border at 2:45PM.
2. The second stop is the Nepal Immigration Office at Belahia, Bhairahawa, on the other side of the border. It’s again on your right-hand side, a short distance after crossing. Nepal visa on arrival are issued there.
GET YOUR NEPAL VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA) IN 4 EASY STEPS
STEP 1: FIND THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE BUILDING
After officially crossing the border, I went looking for the Immigration office on the Nepal side to process first my Nepal visa on arrival. You’ll find its building on the right side—just a short walk from the border gate.
Ask the officer that you want to process your Nepal visa-on-arrival.
STEP 2: FILL UP THE FORM
The officer will hand you two forms—the visa application form and the arrival form. Fill them up. Make sure you also have a passport-sized photo (in my case I used my extra 2×2 photo IDs) to be glued on the application form.
You need to have an address in Nepal ready as this information is required. I used the address on my hostel in Kathmandu.
STEP 3: PAY THE VISA FEE
Once you have the form filled up, just give it to the visa officer together with your passport. You will be asked how long do you intend to stay in Nepal as the amount of the visa fee will depend on them.
Then pay your visa fee accordingly. I paid 30 USD for a 15-day max of stay.
STEP 4: GET YOUR PASSPORT WITH VISA STICKER!
Then you’ll have to wait for about 5-10 minutes. Once your name is called, you’re basically done.
The officer will hand your passport with a visa sticker including the “arrival stamp”!
NOTE: It only took me 15 minutes to finish the whole visa process. But of course it depends on how many people are on queue.
- Visa Type: Tourist Visa
- Visa Validity: 15 Days
- Visa Fee: USD 30.00
SECURE YOUR ONWARD TRAVEL
Now you’re ready to go and explore Nepal. But before that, you would want to organize onward travel. You don’t want to spend your first night in the town of Bhairahawa, right?
Pokhara and Kathmandu are roughly the same distance away from Bhairahawa, about eight hours or more. There are a few options for getting there: shared jeep or minivan, or bus. There’s a bus terminal at Bhairahawa, about two kilometers from the border (take a cycle rickshaw). However, plenty of travel agents will approach you with offers of transport before that.
In my case, I took an overnight bus from Bhairahawa bus terminal to Kathmandu city. The bus normally leaves at 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM at the bus station. It costs me 800 NPR (or 7 USD) for an A/C bus.
OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES
1. Crossing the Indian-Nepali border at Sunauli is not that hard to do! It is not heavily guarded nor regulated as a normal entry or exit border point should be. And as a foreigner like me, there could be a tendency of missing the immigration exit and entry stamps. So in case you’re crossing an international land border too, please don’t forget these stamps!
2. Make sure you have dollars with you (before crossing the border) to pay your visa fee. And some extra more just in case! I know I said this already but I really wanted to reiterate this.
3. In case you intend to change your US dollar banknotes to Nepali Rupees, make sure the banknotes are looking new and don’t have any cut or slit. Even a small cut on the corner could get your banknotes rejected in EVERY money changer in the area.
4. But don’t you worry, there is also an ATM—just about a 5-minute walk from the border area. Just keep asking where it is!
5. If you’re crossing from Nepal to India, Indian e-visas aren’t accepted at the border. You’ll need to apply for a visa at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Indian e-visas are only accepted if arriving at India’s international airports and seaports.
RECOMMENDED PACKAGE TOURS
I hope that you find this NEPAL VISA ON ARRIVAL (TOURIST VISA GUIDE) blog useful!
In case you’re also looking for package tours to simply jumpstart your actual itinerary, I highly recommend booking tours through Viator which is perfect for your Nepal itinerary. See tours and packages I personally handpicked for you:
- Hotel / Hostel
- Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
- Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms in Kathmandu or any city in Nepal! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!
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- KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.
- Nepal Package tours
- Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.
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- Travel Insurance
- World Nomads. If you don’t have travel insurance when times get tough, basically you are screwed. Traveling always comes with inherent risks attached. Whether you are trekking in the Himalayan mountains or wandering the streets of Pokhara, unforeseen events can suddenly upend your world. Generally speaking, travel insurance covers you for the following: Medical Costs – hospital visits, emergencies, evacuations; Property Loss – luggage and their contents; Travel Issues – accommodation and transportation expenses. Thus, I highly recommend you guys getting a travel insurance. I bought one from the World Nomads (available in 130+ countries) where most travelers get their travel insurances.
Go to this link to get to your World Nomads travel insurance.