Vehicle Permit

When you think of taking your Indian vehicle into Bhutan, forget the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. That convention is not applicable here.
So that makes taking your vehicle across easier. Bhutan allows Indian vehicle in their territory after completing a set of formalities. Though your vehicle is allowed, Bhutan authorities advise you to take a local driver for your car and discourages self driving. You are allowed to ply your vehicle in Phuentsoling without permit during the daytime.
The road authority in Bhutan is the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA).
Their Phuentsoling office is located on point B in the map below.

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You need to get your vehicle permits issued by the RSTA before you venture out of Phuentsoling. There are a lot of check-post of along the route so you can’t escape.
Documents required
  • Original Registration certificate – two photocopies required
  • Original Insurance Paper - two photocopies required
  • Pollution Under Control Certificate
  • Your Driving license, if you do not wish to hire a local driver.
  • You do not need your immigration paper. So you can apply for immigration and come to RSTA to get this permit.
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Procedure to get vehicle permit:

  • Reach the RSTA office. (from the entry gate, go straight, take a left at T point, go along the road, cross the river taking  left turn, the RSTA office will be on your right.) First pic below is the RSTA office.
  • Go to second floor and locate the gallery in the third pic below
  • Write an application on a plain paper requesting them to allow you to take your vehicle into Bhutan.
    Mention your registration as well as Chasis and Engine number. Do mention the number of days for which you need the permit.
    The application should be addressed to the RLO
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  •  Attach all your documents to the application
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  •  Its time to get your application passed. So the final signatory authority is the RLO but you need to get ir checked by other officials. Since the officer just sits on a table, you will have to ask people where to get it signed.
  • Show him all the original papers.
  • Next get his sign.
  • Get it signed by the RLO who sits at the end of the corridor.
  • Next its time to pay the fee.
  • Queue up at the accounts officer’s gate.
  • Show him your papers and he will tell you the fee. In 2009, it was 145Nu.
  • Pay, get the paper issued. The paper in 2009 looked like the one in the 3rd image below.
  • Next go to the hall before the gallery. Get the papers stamped by the person sitting on the table. (2nd Image below)
  • You are done.
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Some other info:
  • It is at RSTA where you get bus.
  • DO NOT TRY TO BRIBE THE OFFICIALS. You might end up in trouble.
  • Get everything done before lunch time as lunch is of one hour.

    Important Traffic rules

  • Uphill traffic get the preference.
    Means, if a car is going down the hill and the driver spots a vehicle coming up the hill towards him, he should stop the car spotting a broad place on the road. The uphill vehicle does not break its motion.
  • Right indicator means - ‘do not overtake’
    If the vehicle ahead of you flashes its right indicator, it means you should not overtake that vehicle. It might have stopped for some uphill traffic or for some other reason to avoid any traffic issue, he tell you to stop and not overtake. If you see a vehicle coming towards you with its right indicator flashing, means he has stopped for you and you should go towards it without worrying about traffic.
  • Left indicator means you may get ahead.
    If the vehicle ahead of you flashes its left indicator, means its asking the vehicle behind it to come ahead.
  • Do not use high beam at night.
  • Always keep left especially at turns.
  • Use horn to the minimum.
  • When you reach behind a CAR at night, switch off your headlights and turn on your parking and fog lamps to avoid any reflection of your light in that car’s rear view mirror.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hello.. can we drive in Bhutan with Indian Driving License.

    1. Yes, you can.
      You need to provide driving license details at the time of permit or get it entered at checkpost.
      But considering the tough terrain and different driving rules of hills we ought to avoid driving.
      Transport officers at checkpost insist on local driver as Indian drivers often lead to accident of Locals.

    2. Thanks for the revert.
      Usually how long it will take to get the permits done, should we mentally keep a day aside.
      should we take some special permits to exit via Gelephu.
      Please help.

  3. Hi , i intend to drive down to Bhutan next week and your information will come in handy , for sure.
    The car which i will be driving will be in my friends name though i will have all original papers for the car. Hope that will not be a challenge at the border.

    1. That will not be an issue. It would be advisable to get a written consent from your friend and get it notarized. In my case, the car was in my Father's name. Additionally yo may get the car's Insurance an add on of "Geographical Extension" to Nepal and Bhutan. It costs only approx Rs 500. Contact insurance company, they do it easily.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. We will be reaching to NJP on 17th September,2016. Will need to take vehicle permit for our bikes.Wanted to know if the office remains open during Saturday and Sunday?

  6. Hi Satyam!! i am a solo rider. So i just want know about the bike permit for Bhutan. Will you help me ??

  7. Hi! Do I need to get an international Driving License or my National Driving Lisece will make do?

    1. Indian License is valid.
      And 500 & 1000 Notes not valid there.

  8. Hi Neil,

    Can I get the motorbike permits with a temporary RC, since I haven't recieved the original RC.

    1. IMHO you can't.
      Even when you go to Nepal, Original RC is mandatory.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. hi neil, how many persons are allowed to travel in i10/swift/alto car in bhutan, including driver

  11. can i hire Bhutnese vehicle for self driving on Indian License?

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  13. My diesel car is only 7 months old.. do I need a puc... If it is necessary , can it be arranged at the border... I will reach bhutan on 16 th feb

  14. When I went, my car was 10 Months old. I was given permit without PUC. But to be safe, keep a PUC

  15. Hi,

    I shall be visiting bhutan in the month of may. I will be renting a car and will be driving myself. What are the documents required to get the permit in that case?

    1. Where will you rent the car from ? India or Bhutan ?

    2. Not sure if you self drive in Bhutan is introduced yet. You got to take a car with a local driver there.

  16. Is local driver is available at the border?
    How to hire a local driver of bhutan?
    Where will i get a local driver?

    1. hiring local driver is not necessary, as the roads are not dangerous. you can self drive your car from phuentsholing to thimphu or paro. but make sure you start from phuentsholing before 4 pm or else it will be 10 pm till you reach thimphu.

    2. Local drivers can be hired from the taxi stand just outside the RSTA office where you make your vehicle permit. But they charge you almost same as taxi rates. One of the driver told me that we charge you to take you safe, the value is of life not car, so charge is same weather you hire car or just the driver.

    3. If you do self driving, please do not break the Hill Rules I mentioned in the blog page above. Bhutani drivers are very disciplined and drivers from India are infamous for breaking the hill driving rules.

    4. If you are not used to Hilly Driving, please leaving P'ling by 1PM. Else you'll have to stay for a night in tsimasam.

  17. How much time it takes to get the vehicle permit?

    1. it takes 1 hour to get the vehicle permit but make sure you deposit the fees and get the challan before 3 pm bhutan local time, then proceed for further documentation.

  18. Hello i want to know how much is the fee for cross border. And we will go far from Bhutan like jichu dreak. So total ta
    riff set by the govt.
    Plz help

  19. Can Indian residents living in Bhutan use their Indian registered private vehicles?

  20. Hi Supratim !!!
    How much they take deposit for vehicle permit ??

  21. Thanks for reply bro.
    Can I get your Mobil No . ?
    You can sms me on 8425901234

  22. Hi,

    If i reach Phuentsoling at around 12pm afternoon, is it possible for me to get my personal permit and my bike permit on the same day? What re the timings of the office?


    1. Hi Viraj,
      Make sure you reach 12 o clock bhutan standard time, i.e-11 am IST. Immigration and RTO closes at 1 pm Bhutan standard Time.

  23. For list of Taxi and Private vechile available in Bhutan you can visit

  24. Can we take self drives cars to Bhutan?(zoomcars)

  25. Can we hire a Zoom Car from Siliguri and drive all the way up-to Bhutan