Permits required to visit Sikkim

Unlike the neighboring state of West Bengal where Darjeeling is located, Sikkim has certain entry restrictions. In fact the whole of Sikkim is under restricted area regime due to its proximity to neighboring countries like China, Nepal and Bhutan. 
And therefore all foreign nationals require Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit any part of Sikkim including Gangtok. This permit is also popularly known as Inner Line Permit (ILP). Indians however do not require this. 
Rangpo Police Check Post on the way to Gangtok 
Rangpo Check Post, Sikkim 
If you are a national of Pakistan, China, or Myanmar, then it gets a little more difficult to enter Sikkim. You must get a written approval from Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi before the Restricted Area Permit can be issued. 
And there are other restrictions for all visitors including Indians for few specific areas in Sikkim. Certain areas like Tsomgo Lake, Nathula, Yumthang Valley, Gurudongmar Lake, Zuluk etc are defined as Protected Areas due to close vicinity to international borders and have special army deployment.  
Everybody including foreigners and Indians require a separate permit known as Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit such protected areas. A PAP is issued for specific destinations along a route and for specific number of days. 
They are not generic passes which you can use to access any protected area. For example, a permit for Tsomgo lake can not be used to visit Lachung/Yumthang. 
Foreign nationals however are not allowed to visit few protected areas like Nathula, Gurudongmar Lake, Zuluk etc for international border restrictions. 
In fact there are several exceptions for foreign nationals when it comes to issuing a permit - be it a Restricted or Protected Area Permit. Read the section under 'Foreign Nationals' below for clarity. 
Update: Effective 2020, Sikkim has introduced a series of new travel requirements for tourists and visitors including Travel Card and compliance to several other guidelines including staying in health &ásafety compliant hotels and using services from compliant tour operators, etc. This is in addition to the requirements of permits (i.e. ILP and PAP). 
Go through Sikkim Travel Requirements and Travel Card for complete details on Travel Card. 
NOTE: If you are visiting Sikkim, you may like to consider The eBook on Darjeeling &áSikkim to get deep insights into both these places, it could help planning your tour. 

How To Get Inner Line Permit (ILP or RAP)

Restricted Area Permit or ILP is applicable only for foreigners (Indians do not require this permit). It is free of cost. 
You must have a valid Passport and a valid visa for India (additionally carry a photo copy of each along with a passport size photo which need to be submitted). 
With proper documentation, it's easy and takes only 10-15 minutes to get the permit across the counter. 
Restricted Area or Inner Line Permit (ILP) can be manually obtained at the following places: 
  • New Delhi - Sikkim House, 14 Panchsheel Marg, Block F, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri. Phone: 011 - 26115171  
  • Kolkata - Sikkim House, 4/1 Middleton Street. Phone: á033 - 22817905 
  • Siliguri - Sikkim Tourist Information, 2nd, Sevoke Road, Ward 10, Dasrath Pally, Janta Nagar. 
  • Rangpo Check Post (on the way to Gangtok or East Sikkim) - issued between 8am to 8pm. 
  • Melli Check Post (on the way to Jorethang/ Namchi/ Pelling/ Yuksom etc) - 8am to 8pm. 
  • Pakyong Airport near Gangtok (Approach the Tourist Office in the arrival hall for assistance) 
  • Burtuk Helipad near Gangtok (if you arrive by helicopter from Bagdogra, approach the office at the helipad area) 
  • Bagdogra Airport - At Sikkim Tourism Counter on arrival. 
  • Darjeeling: It is possible to get the permit (ILP) in Darjeeling although the process could be a little cumbersome at times. 
    You need to first visit the FRO (Foreigners Registration Office) located on Ladenla Road at the State Bank of India Building (Phone: 0354 225 4203; Hours: 10.30am - 1.30pm &á2.30 - 4.30pm on working days). 
    Here you need to fill up an application form against which a memo would be issued. You need to then visit the District Magistrate's Office at the lower town in Chowk Bazar area to complete the remaining formalities and get your ILP. 
    The Ramman Checkpost which is located on the shorter route from Darjeeling that connects to Sikkim's Jorethang town (gateway to south and west Sikkim) via Tukvar and Jamuni has re-opened for foreign tourists from March 1st 2021 after about a decade. 
    Location of Ramman Checkpost. 
    The bridge over river Rangbhang connects Darjeeling to Sikkim 
    Entry to Rangbhang river bridge 
    It was earlier closed to foreign nationals and only Indians could avail this short route to enter Sikkim while the foreigners were restricted to enter through either Rangpo or Melli checkposts. 
    With re-opening of Ramman checkpost to foreigners, all foreign nationals can also get their ILP permits done here and proceed to south or west Sikkim. 

    Online ILP

    Earlier a foreign national could get a provisional Restricted Area Permit (i.e. Inner Line Permit) online by filling up an online application form, entering the date of arrival, passport &ávisa details, email address, and uploading photo, etc. One could self print the permit and it was free. 
    However, the online ILP was only a provisional permit and needed to be stamped and signed at one of the Sikkim check posts (like Rangpo or Melli) at the time of entry. This online option has been now withdrawn. 
    Presently, one can not get any Sikkim permit online including ILP and Protected Area Permits for North Sikkim as well as Tsomgo/Nathula Pass, etc. 

    ILP Validity Period &áExtension

    Initially an ILP is issued for 30 days. It can then be extended by the state of Sikkim by another 30 days, but not exceeding a total stay period of 60 days. 
    In Gangtok, the ILP extension can be obtained at Foreigners' Registration Office (FRO) at Tadong (5kms from MG Marg, Gangtok). You can take a shared taxi (Rs. 20/- per person) from the stand located at MG Marg next to the Sikkim Tourism Office (ask the driver for M.P. Golai, Tadong). 
    Alternatively descend the stairs next to the MG Marg Sikkim Tourism Office which leads all the way down to Tadong. The FRO is located behind Department Of Tourism building at Tadong. 
    In the other districts of Sikkim (i.e. North, South and West districts), a foreign national can visit the office of Superintendent of Police of the respective district to extend the ILP, if necessary. 

    Protected Areas in Sikkim

    The Protected Area Permits are issued by different Sikkim government authorities depending on the area you are visiting. Following are the protected areas in Sikkim popularly visited by tourists and their respective permit issuing authorities. 
  • Tsomgo (Changu) Lake and Baba Mandir permits are issued at the Police Check Post. For foreigners it is also issued by Sikkim Tourism &áCivil Aviation Department. 
  • Nathula: Permit for Nathula Pass is issued only to Indians (foreigners are not allowed here). It's issued at Police Check Post as well as at Sikkim Tourism Department. 
  • Dzongri &áGoecahala Trek: Permit is issued to both Indians and Foreigners by the Adventure Cell of Sikkim Tourism &áCivil Aviation Department. Trek operators can get the permits. 
  • Singalila Trek from Sikkim: Same as above. 
  • Yumthang, Yumesamdong (also known as Zero Point), Thangu/Chopta Valley: Permit is issued to both Indians and Foreigners by the Tourism Department and Police Check Post. 
  • Gurudongmar Lake: Indians can get the permits at Police Check Post while foreigners can get it from Sikkim Tourism Department but only up to Thangu. 
  • There is no protected area in South Sikkim. For example no permit is required for Indians to visit places like Namchi, Ravangla, Jorethang etc. Foreigners only need Restricted Area Permit (i.e. Inner Line Permit) to tour &átrek South Sikkim. 

    How to get Protected Area Permit (PAP)

    This permit is applicable for both foreigners and Indians intending to visit protected areas (note that foreigners are not permitted in protected areas which are international borders such as Nathula and Gurudongmar lake). 
    You will need to carry two passport size photos and Photo ID proof like passport, voter's ID card, driving license, etc. PAN card is not accepted as ID proof. 
    Update: Effective September 2019, Aadhar Card is no longer accepted for Protected Area Permits. Sources revealed that a Bangladeshi national forged an Aadhar Card and reached Nathula Pass where all foreigners are prohibited. He was later arrested by the police. Aadhar Card has been de-listed since this incident. You should ideally carry a passport or voter Id card to get the permit. 
    For regular tourists, the recommended way to get your Protected Area Permit is to go through a registered tour operator or travel agency of Sikkim who will give you an application form to be filled up and mediate the process of getting you the permit. 
    Most tourists visit Gangtok and then proceed to protected areas of Tsomgo/Natula or North Sikkim. In such case, you should contact a tour operator in Gangtok. 
    They can charge anywhere between Rs. 150 - 200 for the form and additional Rs 20 for fee charged by the permit issuing authority. For example, total permit cost for Nathula pass would be around Rs. 200/- per person. Alternatively, your hotel can also arrange for the permits through an operator. 
    You need to provision for one full day because the permit application can be made in the morning hours and the permit itself is usually issued late in the afternoon on the day of application or next day. 
    However if you contact a tour operator and send scanned copy of documentation in advance, they can get the permit ready before your arrival and thus saving you a day. This is very useful if you are time restricted and do not want to spend a full day in Gangtok. 
    Visit Gangtok Tour Operators to know about some of the well known tour agencies in Gangtok who can help in the matter. In fact they offer complete packages for protected area tours including permit service, reserved transport (usually a SUV like Scorpio / Bolero), food &álodging. 
    If you do not want to visit Gangtok and instead want to go directly to North Sikkim (i.e. to places like Lachung or Lachen), then from Bagdogra airport or NJP Railway Station you can come directly to Mangan via Singtam, stay there overnight (there are few nice hotels here) and proceed next day. Mangan is the district head quarter of North Sikkim. 
    At Mangan you can get the permits done at Mangan District Administrative Centre, or even better, arrange the permit and tour through your hotel in advance. 

    Protected area permit for a child

    If you are travelling with your kid or child (below 18 years), then you will need to produce one of the following documents to get the permit for your child: 
  • Birth Certificate, or 
  • Passport, or 
  • Father's Voter ID Card (Aadhar or PAN card is not accepted) 
    The permit issuing authorities can check the age of a child. If the age is less than 5 years, a child is not allowed and the permit is not issued. 
    It is not recommended to travel to places like Tsomgo, Nathula and high altitude places in North Sikkim like Lachung, Lachen etc with an infant or an aged senior. Lack of adequate oxygen in the air can cause breathing problems. 
    Some unscrupulous tour operators may guide you wrongly and try to find a work around. 
    However, there are high chances that on the way to high altitude places such as Nathula, Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley, you will be stopped by the security persons at the check posts, if you attempt to take an infant below 5 or an aged person. So use prudence and do not push the line. 

    Visiting the places in Sikkim

    Unprotected areas in Sikkim can be visited by all tourists (foreigners with ILP) using a city cab that are available at various taxi stands. You can also self drive a car or bike (private or rental) to these places without any restrictions. 
    Most tourists however take a local tour package offered by the local cab drivers, hotels or tour operators for local sightseeing tours. 
    But note that you can not visit a protected area like Tsomgo, Baba Mandir, Nathula, Yumthang Valley, Gurudongmar Lake etc with a regular city taxi in Gangtok. 
    As already mentioned, the trip has to be organized through a recognized tour operator whose vehicle is registered with Sikkim government. Only then the Protected Area Permit is issued. 
    Visit Sikkim Tour Operators to know about the best tour operators in Sikkim who offer local sightseeing tours as well as tour packages to protected areas. 
    Note that you are not allowed to self-drive your own or rented car to any protected area of Sikkim. However self driven bikes are allowed with special permits. 
    Read Self driving bike or car in Sikkim to get full information on self driving a bike or car in protected as well as unprotected areas of Sikkim, necessary permits and how to get them, rental options for cars andábikes etc. 

    Foreign nationals

  • Nationals of Pakistan, China or Myanmar must get prior approval from Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India (New Delhi) before they can apply for the Restricted Area Permit (i.e. Inner Line Permit). This is because they are nationals of bordering countries and Indian government has taken this measure to stop any possible infiltration. 
    Update December 2018: The above restriction of getting prior approval from Home Ministry was earlier applicable for Bangladesh nationals as well. However effective November 22, 2018 this has been relaxed for Bangladeshis. 
    They can now visit a Visa Application Center (or the Indian Mission) in their own country and get entry permit to Sikkim (i.e. an ILP). 
    Alternatively they can fill up a form online at Indian Visa Application website to receive the permit. Like other foreign nationals, they too have the option of getting the ILP in India at various places discussed earlier. 
  • Foreign nationals will require a regular tourist visa or an e-Tourist visa along with valid passport to apply for a Sikkim permit, i.e. Restricted Area Permit (ILP) and/or Protected Area Permit. 
  • All foreigners should travel in a group of two or more in protected areas wherever allowed. Solo foreigners are not permitted in protected areas. Additionally foreigners should apply for Protected Area Permit through tour operators who are registered with Sikkim Tourism Department. 
  • Foreigners are not allowed in Nathula Pass and Gurudongmar Lake as these two are international border areas. However with necessary permits, foreign nationals are allowed to visit protected areas such as Yumthang Valley, Zero Point, Tsomgo Lake, Dzongri, Goechala etc. 

    Recommended Resources

    The eBook on Darjeeling &áSikkim is a great resource to plan your tour and get deep insights into various attractions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim including trips, tours and rides. 

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    Visitors' Reviews/Comments

    Lakshmi (September 2023) 
    One of the best sites I have found for Sikkim tourism. Question on ID card for kids - Recently there seems to be some change that having a father's voter ID alone might suffice for the kids (ie. No birth certificate needed). 
    Asking since my kids were born outside India but are Indian citizens. Is this true that we can just use the Father's voter ID alone to get permits for kids? 
    Raj ( September 2023 
    Hello, You need to produce one of the following documents for kids or minors below 18 who are Indian citizens, in order to get Protected Area Permits in Sikkim: Passport or Birth Certificate or Father's Voter ID card (Aadhar or PAN Card will not be accepted). 
    So yes, you can use father's voter's ID to get the permits for the kids but carry photos as well. 
    Mona (June 2023) 
    Hi Raj, My husband and I are Canadian citizens and the couple we are travelling with are Indian citizens. My questions are: 
    Is it better to get the ILP from the Sikkim Tourism 314 Laxmi Deep Building, Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi or would it be easier to get it at the border of Sikkim 
    Can a PAP be procured from the above address too. Will we as Canadian citizens be allowed to visit the Tsomgo lake and Baba mandir? As you'd appreciate we're trying to avoid tour operators and would like to handle everything ourselves 
    I truly appreciate your assistance, Thank you. 
    Raj ( June 2023 
    Hi, you can easily get ILP at Bagdogra airport or at one of the entry checkposts of Sikkim... carry all required documents and photos. Foreigners can only visit up to Tsomgo Lake (so Baba Mandir and Nathula will be out of bounds for you). 
    You can visit a protected area in Sikkim only through an authorized operator. You can not take your own rented vehicle/taxi there. It's therefore not worth trying to get the permits yourself. PAP permits are issued in Gangtok. 
    S Bose (May 2023) 
    Hi. I want to know if Indian citizens travelling in their own vehicle would be allowed in the silk route. We plan to travel in May 2023 in vehicle registered in west Bengal. What are the permit requirements? 
    Raj ( May 2023 
    Hello, you can self-drive your own private car on Silk Route and get your permits at Rolngli. You can go all the way through Zuluk, Nathang, Kupup, and then to Tsomgo Lake (Nathula not allowed) and exit at Gangtok. 
    However, unless you are driving an SUV with enough ground clearance, they will issue permits only up to Longthu or Nathang Valley and not the entire route. You must carry all documents including vehicle registration (Smart Card), Photo ID of all passengers, Photos, etc. Go through Self driving in Sikkim for details. 
    Priyanka Bandhakavi (April 2023) 
    Hi Raj, Me and my family are planning a trip to Sikkim on 12th of may to 17th..we are 4 people and only I have an American passport and I am a PIO card holder.. I've stayed in India for 20 years.. where should I go for getting permits? And what documents should I have? I have no DL but I have a learner's license, will that work with the permit process? 
    Raj ( April 2023 
    Hi, PIO/OCI card holders are considered foreign nationals in Sikkim. Your passport, PIO card and photos should be enough to get the permits for Sikkim. You need to first get the ILP (Inner Line Permit) either at Bagdogra airport or at one of the Sikkim check posts (such as Rangpo, Melli, etc located on the way to Sikkim)... this is required for foreign nationals to enter Sikkim. Indians do not require ILP to enter Sikkim. 
    Once you get your ILP (which is issued across the counter and is free of cost), you can visit any unrestricted places within Sikkim such as Gangtok, Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi, etc. However, if you plan to visit any protected area where foreigners are allowed such as Lachung/Yumthang in North Sikkim, or Tsomgo Lake, etc, then you will need to get a separate Protected Area Permit (PAP). Indian tourists also need PAP permits in order to visit protected areas. Indians are allowed to visit additional protected areas in Sikkim such as Lachen/Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim, Nathula Pass, etc, where foreigners are not allowed. 
    But, note that foreign nationals must travel in a group of 2 or more of their own to visit a protected area. You can not travel only with Indian members in your group to such places. Sounds strange, but that's the reality out there... PAP permit won't be issued unless two or more foreigners apply for the permit together. So, this will practically rule out your visits to protected areas, unless you find some other foreign national(s) willing to form a group with you while applying for the PAP permit. 
    For, PAP permits and visits to protected areas, you will need to go through an authorized tour operator in Sikkim. Your hotel can also help organize such tours including PAP permits. 
    Sourav Biswas (February 2023) 
    Hi Raj, You are doing a wonderful job. Last time I visited Darjeeling by the guidance from your website. This time I am going to Sikkim. As per a travel agency, Sikh people are not given permits to visit these places (Gurudongmar, Nathula, Yumthang/Zero Point). Me and my friend are visiting. My friend is a Sikh. Both of us are ex-servicemen from Airforce and Navy. Please confirm if there is any restriction for Sikh people. 
    Raj ( February 2023 
    Hi, There is a controversy and a legal dispute between a section of the Buddhists in Lachen and Sikhs related to the right to a shrine in Gurudongmar. Although there is no official communication from the authorities restricting the Sikhs to visit Gurudongmar, there seem to have been several cases where the Sikhs have been denied permits to visit the lake. However, there is no such issues for Nathula, Yumthang, etc. In fact, the shrine of Baba Harbhajan Singh (who was a Sikh himself), is located between Tsomgo Lake and Nathula. 
    Eashwar (February 2023) 
    Do not plan for anything that requires the protected area permit for your foreign spouse. Came here and burnt my hands over 1 week. Foreigners need to travel only in groups of 2 but the weird part is that the group cannot have the Indian spouse part of it. So effectively, you have to leave your spouse to travel with an unknown stranger because they are both foreigners i.e. if you are lucky enough to find that 'stranger' (I was not, over 3 days could not find 1 foreigner to accompany my wife) 
    Ash (January 2023) 
    Hi Raj, can an OCI holder visit Gurudongmar, Nathula Pass and Zero Point? Is Tso Lhamo possible to visit as well? 
    Raj ( January 2023 
    Hi, in Sikkim, an OCI is treated the same as a foreign national and is not allowed to visit any protected area. Access to Tso Lhamo is not allowed to even Indian civilians. 
    Jessica (December 2022) 
    Hi Raj: thank you so much for providing information and answering questions. There will be a Buddha Dharma Event from Jun.2023 to end of 2023 in Rumtek Monestery. I want to participate this event. I am US citizen. Is there any way to get 6 month permit to stay in Sikkim? Look forward to receiving your reply. 
    Raj ( December 2022 
    Hello, the permit (ILP) is issued initially for 30 days. After that, the State government of Sikkim is authorized to extend the permit only by another 30 days. Since Sikkim is a state with international borders, it needs to abide by the guidelines set by the Central Government and it's highly unlikely that they will or can make any exceptions to this without the intervention of the Center. You can visit/contact the local Indian Consulate Office/Embassy and try to find out if there can be any workaround. 
    Violeta Palanca (September 2022) 
    Good evening, We are Alfonso and Violeta, two Spanish persons who would like to visit Sikkim and do Dzongrila trek on the dates between 16th and 24th October. We have contacted with a local tourism operator to arrange the trek but we need to obtain the Inner Line Permit as soon as possible in order to obtain the special high-altitude trekking permit. If you could tell us how to do it because in the website is said the online option is not working. Thanks in advanced. Kind regards, 
    Raj ( September 2022 
    Hello, there is no online option at present to get an ILP (Inner Line Permit) for Sikkim. In fact, earlier, the online option provided only a provisional ILP... one had to get it stamped at a Check Post in Sikkim to validate and finalise it. I suggest you contact the Indian Mission (Indian Embassy/Consulate) Office in your country who can usually issue ILP for Sikkim. Otherwise, you need to either physically get it at Sikkim Tourism Counter at Bagdogra Airport's Arrival Hall or at one of the Check Posts such as in Melli or Rangpo on the Sikkim borders. 
    Priyal (September 2022) 
    Can I get permits for North Sikkim sightseeing from Darjelling or Pelling? Please state the process. 
    Raj ( September 2022 
    You can not get permits to visit North Sikkim from Darjeeling or Pelling. You can only get it at Gangtok or Mangan through registered tour operators. 
    Prakash Gurung (May 2022) 
    Dear Mr. Bhattacharya: I am a US citizen of Nepali origin and am planning to visit Aritar, Sikkim, in October this year for VAI TIKA. I will fly in either directly from US to Bagdogra or via Kathmandu. Could you please advise if I can get RAP for Sikkim either at Bagdogra airport or in Siliguri. Thank you. 
    Raj ( May 2022 
    You can get RAP (known as Inner Line Permit or ILP) at Bagdogra Airport as well as the District Magistrates Office of Siliguri and Darjeeling. 
    Amalesh Kumar Sarkar (March 2022) 
    Which documents are required for a 18 years old girl for getting Permit to visit North Sikkim, who has no Voter ID Card, Passport and Driving License ? 
    Raj ( March 2022 
    Aadhar and Pan cards are no longer accepted as Photo IDs when issuing permits for north Sikkim... one must have a passport or Voter ID. Suggest you contact one of the registered Sikkim tour operators and check if they can help in the matter. You can go through Gangtok Sightseeing Tours and visit the last section where I have listed several well-known operators in Gangtok: 
    Khan (March 2022) 
    As I have my voter ID card, passport and Driving license as well but my wife has no such documents except adhaar card. So I just want to know can I get permission for North Sikkim and other places. I have to visit in May. áPlease help on this. 
    Raj ( March 2022 
    Adhaar Card is no longer accepted for issuing Protected Area Permits in Sikkim. 
    Jennifer Lobo (January 2022) 
    Hi Raj, myself and my hubby are planning to travel to Gangtok, Pelling, Lachung and Lachen next month just wanted to know whether all these are open for tourist and what are the restrictions due to Covid 19. Will 2 vaccination certificates suffice. Also wanted to know about the permits for restricted areas, are permits mandatory and if yes how can we make those permits? Can we make those permits once we are in Gangtok? I just want my trip to be smooth hence thought of asking it to you. Hope to get an answer from your end. Thank you and regards to you and family. 
    Raj ( January 2022 
    Hi, the situation in Sikkim is quite fluid at the moment... while with full vaccination certificates you can visit Sikkim, they keep changing the guidelines for some places. Several places in North Sikkim are currently not accessible due to snow as well. Sikkim also requires that you fill up and carry Sikkim Travel Card which is available online... you can go through Sikkim Travel Card for details. 
    You can get the protected area permits done once you reach Gangtok (you need to carry photos and Photo IDs like Voters card/Passport etc, Aadhar is not accepted). To be safe, I suggest you get in touch with an approved operator in Gangtok, take their guidance (they follow the up-to-date guidelines), and work out the tour through them. You can find the list of certified operators on the page Tours and Operators in Gangtok (go down to the last section of the page). 
    Reshma (November 2021) 
    Hi Raj, Thanks for the great post. Me and My family is planning to go on a Sikkim tour. that includes 5yr old child and 70 yr old Mother in Law. We are planning to drop Gurudongmar lake due to the altitude problems. But is it safe to go to Mt. Katao and Lachung and Tsomgo lake? We are planning to visit Zuluk and a overnight stay there. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( November 2021 
    Hi, these are all high altitude places and involve safety risks with infants and the aged. In fact, officially Sikkim Government has now defined an age limitation of 60 for visits to north Sikkim high altitude places, but the travel agents sometimes manage the permits. You should ideally take medical consultation, particularly for 70-year old mother-in-law. 
    Bernie Ganatra (October 2021) 
    Hi Raj, My family of 4 (2adults n 2kids) are planning to visit Gangtok next month. Is it easy to get a RAP/ILP on arrival at the airport or should I try to get it before hand through a tour and travel operator? Is there a possibility it could be rejected? We have Australian citizenship with OCI visa and have been residing in India for 14-15 years now. Your reply will be invaluable. Thanks n regards 
    Raj ( October 2021 
    Hi, you can easily get the ILP at the airport or along the way (at Rangpo). Carry passport size photographs for all as well as your passport/visa. 
    Rajdeep (October 2021) 
    Hi, I wish to travel to Gangtok from Kolkata in the month of November. Hence, wanted to know that do I require any permit or PAP to enter Gangtok, if I am not planning to visit any protected areas? 
    Raj ( October 2021 
    Indian nationals do not need any permits to visit Gangtok unless one is planning a visit to a protected area. You will however need to get a Sikkim Travel Card online... it's free, but it's a requirement these days. 
    Kalyan Chakrabarti (March 2021) 
    Dear Mr Raj, Thanks for your guidance against our queries. We two , husband &áwife , senior citizens, with controlled blood pressure with medication as usual, seek your advice whether we can visit North Sikim places like : Lachen, Lachung , Yumthang , Katao , Zero Point and Chango Lake &áNathula Pass etc ?? 
    Though the answer could be for the Doctors but since we seek to travel in the last week of October when the temperature is bearable as per our experience , your guidelines are valuable to us immensely. Thanks and regards. 
    Raj ( March 2021 
    Hello, Permits are no longer issued to Senior Citizens (above 60 years of age) for Lachung/Yumthang, Lachen/Gurudongmar etc in North Sikkim. You should consult a doctor for Tsomgo/Nathula for the high altitudes at which they are located... the issue is not about bearable temperature, it is about high altitude sickness due to low oxygen levels and whether you are in the right physical condition to go at such altitudes. Additionally, Nathula pass requires climbing a long stairway. 
    Indranil (January 2021) 
    Sir, We are group of 7 doctors keen on visiting Sikkim from Kolkata. We will be reaching Bagdogra and from there we decide to go to Mangan. Is there any provision of getting the Permit in very late hours so that we can continue our sikkim expedition in the very next morning. Kindly do reply and oblige. 
    Raj ( January 2021 
    Hello, if you reach Mangan District Administrative Center well before 2pm and have all the documents ready, you can get the permits on the same day... but that's not quite doable from Bagdogra. Since you seem to be staying overnight at Mangan, you should get your permits done through your hotel in advance.  
    Aron Fleischer (April 2020) 
    Dear Raj, I've learned a lot about Darjeeling on your website and I'm really grateful for it. However, I'm a little bit confused about ILP to Sikkim (I'm a foreigner). I understand I can get a Provisional ILP online, but how will I get the real permit exactly? I'm planning to arrive from Delhi to Bagdogra and try to take a helicopter to Gangtok. So I won't have time anywhere in India to get the official permit before I reach Gangtok. The following day that I arrive to Gangtok, I would like to visit Lake Tsomgo. Do you think this plan could work? I'm looking forward to your reply. Best regards, 
    Raj ( April 2020 
    Hi, the provisional ILP needs to get officially stamped/authorised to make it a final permit. You can get that done at Bagdogra airport arrival hall at Sikkim Tourism counter or at the helipad office Gangtok. The staff might even ignore the provisional ILP and issue a fresh manual ILP to you. 
    Ideally, application for a permit to visit Tsomgo should be applied and received a day before your visit. However, if you arrive late and want to visit Tsomgo next day itself, ask your hotel front desk staff as soon as you arrive, they can get it done on the following morning itself (usually between 8am to 9am, provided you hand over all required documentation including your photo, passport etc). You might need to start for Tsomgo a little late than usual, in such a case. 
    Kathy (February 2020) 
    Thank you so much Raj for the information and prompt answer. Can you please tell me if there is a cost for this and if so do you know how much? áAlso can we only purchase once at we get to Bagdogra airport or can we buy this online before we leave New Zealand? Thanks. 
    Raj ( February 2020 
    Hello, there is no cost for ILP, it's free. You can get a provisional ILP online through the website, however, you need to get it stamped at one of the entry check posts (for example at Rangpo check post that comes on the way to Gangtok, this is the entry point to East Sikkim). You can also get a manual ILP at Rangpo. For your information, in the online application, you need to choose a tour operator (you can choose any and it practically has no bearing at this time). 
    Kathy (February 2020) 
    Hello very soon I am travelling to India from New Zealand and I would like to know if we need any special permit to enter Gangtok? áWe are flying to Bagdogra and will then get a taxi from airport to our hotel in Gangtok. áThank you very much for your help. Kind regards 
    Raj ( February 2020 
    Hi, yes you will need ILP (Inner Line Permit) for getting to Gangtok. You can get that at Bagdogra airport arrival hall at the Sikkim Tourism counter. Carry photographs, passport, visa etc. 
    Diya Sharma (December 2019) 
    Hi, I and my husband will be visiting Gangtok in February, 2020. We wish to travel to Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir. as you said Aadhar is not accepted in Sikkim, then what else is a way to get the permit, as we do not have any other documents? 
    Raj ( December 2019 
    Passport and Voter's Card are the acceptable documents for Protected Area Permits. You can try with a driving license if you have. Otherwise, you can not go. 
    Anjali Chaurasia (November 2019) 
    I am a Nepali citizen, planning to visit North Sikkim with my sister, who has an Indian citizenship. Is it possible for us to obtain PAP to visit Lachung, Yumthang valley and zero point ? 
    Raj ( November 2019 
    As per permit rules, foreign nationals must be in a group of two or more of their own to get a Protected Area Permit (PAP) in Sikkim. Pairing with an Indian citizen won't solve that problem. So you are likely to be refused the PAP unless you have at least one more Nepali citizen travelling with you. You can try through a registered operator and they sometimes can find a work around. 
    A. Banerjee (October 2019) 
    Hi Raj. Greetings! You have provided a fantastic details. We are a group of motorcyclist and have done many accomplishments. I want to know that apart from the Voter ID, what ID is permissible to visit Gurudongmar Lake. As few of our fellow riders are not carrying the Voter ID. Is it possible to access with Aadhar Card? And one more thing is can we get the permits on the same day of traveling towards Lachen? 
    Raj ( October 2019 
    Hi, only Voter Card and Passports are accepted for permits. Since September 2019, Aadhar is no longer accepted. If you reach Mangan early, you can get the permits done on the same day provided the officers are available (but you can not get it on the same day in Gangtok). 
    Claire Taylor (October 2019) 
    Hello, Sir, and thank you for posting all of the information you already have. I had no idea you could no longer obtain a permit for Sikkim in Darjeeling. This is useful information. We will ensure that we get our permits in Kolkata before travelling to Sikkim. My question, if you have time to answer, is as follows: I have read that foreigners cannot travel through Jorethang as there is no checkpoint, but if we were to already have our permits would we be allowed to take this route? We would like to go straight to Pelling, then after we have explored we would like to go straight to Siliguri. Is this allowed or would we need to go to Gangtok (either way) first to avoid Jorethang? Thank you for your time. 
    Raj ( October 2019 
    Hello, firstly it is possible to get your Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Darjeeling although the process could be a little cumbersome at times. You need to first visit the Foreigners Registration Office on Ladenla Road, fill out an application form and get a memo. You need to then go down to District Magistrate's office in lower town and get the ILP. 
    You can not take the short Darjeeling-Tukvar-Jamuni-Jorethang route even if you have permits... entry to Sikkim through this route is allowed only for Indians. However, you do not need to go via Gangtok either. Once you come down from Darjeeling to Teesta bazar area and get on to NH10, you will take diversion towards Melli, and it would be much easier to get your ILP at Melli check post. From here the route goes all the way to Jorethang and then to Pelling (there is no restriction on this route if you have the permit). You will take the same route back on your return up to Teesta and then continue on NH10 to reach Siliguri. 
    Adam Olivier (September 2019) 
    Hello, I would like to know if it's possible to get the Inner Line Permit at Rangpo with a indian E-Visa ? 
    Raj ( September 2019 
    Yes, e-Visa is accepted for issuing ILP. 
    Aneesh Karatt Vellatt (September 2019) 
    Dear Sir, I would like to visit Sikkim with my wife, I am an OCI cardholder and my wife is an Indian citizen. However, the requirement for RAP says there should be a minimum of two foreign nationals for processing the application. Would this work for us although only one of us is a foreign national? 
    Raj ( September 2019 
    RAP (Restricted Area Permit which is also known as ILP) won't be a problem for an individual foreign national. However when it comes to PAP (Protected Area Permit which is required to visit protected areas such as Tsomgo, Yumthang etc) the requirement of minimum two foreigners comes into play. They can make exceptions in cases like yours, but you need to go and talk to the officials or approach through a well known registered tour operator. 
    Chowdhury Enam (September 2019) 
    Hi Raj, Thank you very much for Your initiatives. I want to know some information. We four people got RAP/PAP permission for Sikkim from Indian High Commission, Dhaka. In that permission letter our route is Kolkata- Gangtok, Sikkim-Kolkata (By Air) mentioned as per our request. According to our permission we will arrive on 13 September, 2019. But we see that there is no flight operating to Pakyong airport in Gangtok this time. This airport is not usable this time. So we would buy AI ticket for áKolkata to Bagdogra Airport. Then we want to take taxi to go to Gangtok. Will it create any problem at the check post? Can you suggest which check post we can use for entry to Gangtok? What could be the best way for our way to reach Gangtok?...Thank you again. 
    Raj ( September 2019 
    Hi, it should not be a problem, but do check with the Indian High Commission at Dhaka. You can use the Rangpo check post (on NH10) to get to Gangtok from Bagdogra. 
    Cben Nllie (July 2019) 
    Hello Sir, Me and my friends are planning to visit Sikkim soon and we plan on visiting Tsomgo Lake. As Northeast Indians do we need to apply for Restricted Area Permit? If yes, what is the best way to obtain it and what documents will be needed? 
    Raj ( July 2019 
    Hello, no Indians require restricted area permits (i.e. ILPs) in Sikkim, however Tsomgo, Nathula etc require a Protected Area Permit which you can get through an authorized tour operator in Gangtok. 
    Irene Holt (July 2019) 
    It is possible to get the Restricted Area Permit (for foreigners for travel in Sikkim) in Darjeeling. I got mine there on 22 May, 2019. áFirst you have to visit the F.R.O. (foreigners registration office) and then go to the District Magistrate office. áVery simple and pleasant process, no waiting, the day I did it. áIt was good for two weeks beginning the date I gave for my entry into Sikkim. 
    Renzo Andri (March 2019) 
    Dear Raj, Thanks for this very informative website. We (2 Swiss, 1portuguese, 1 German) are thinking about a stay in Sikkim, but we have some questions regarding the ILP. Is the ILP application also possible with the eVISA or do we need to apply for a full Visa then? Then we would arrive from Bogdogra and Darjeeling, from your list it is not clear, if we could get ILP in Darjeeling as I've read on an other site? Or would you suggest to apply from abroad. Thanks a lot for your help. 
    Raj ( March 2019 
    Hello, eVisa is okay to get your ILP. ILP is no longer issued directly in Darjeeling although it's possible to get it. You need to first visit the F.R.O. (Foreigners Registration Office) and then go down to the District Magistrate office at the lower town area. You can also easily get your ILP at the designated places mentioned on my website. 
    Saneer Basnett (March 2019) 
    Hello Raj, I'm planning to take the helicopter to Gangtok from Bagdogra upon our arrival from New Delhi. My daughter aged 6 holds a US passport (has Indian visa). I have an Indian passport and am a Sikkim native. Somewhere in your áarticle I read that the Sikkim-tourism counter at Bagdogra no longer gives the ILP? How do we work around this is we want to take the helicopter ? Could I take her to the closest office upon arrival at Gangtok? Will they let her board the helicopter? We do have a day layover at New Delhi- we were hoping to rest - would you suggest we get the ILP in New Delhi? Many thanks, 
    Raj ( March 2019 
    Hi, they issue ILP at the helipad at Gangtok (Burtuk Helipad) on arrival. You can alternatively get it at New Delhi Sikkim House located at 14 Panchsheel Marg, Chanakyapuri. 
    Rashidul Hasan (March 2019) 
    Hello, I am from Bangladesh. I have valid Indian Tourist Visa till Sep 2019. Next May I want to visit Sikkim by Air. I will fly from Kolkata to Pakyong Airport. I will collect Sikkim ILP from Bangladesh Indian Embassy (as per recent changed rules). Now my question is: After landing at Pakyong Airprot where I can register myself as foreigner on the way to Gangtok? Is there any option at Paykong Airport? 
    Raj ( March 2019 
    I suggest you contact the the Tourist Office at Pakyong airport arrival hall. They will guide you on the matter. 
    Mark (February 2019) 
    Hi, me and my girlfriend are going to visit Sikkim in March. We wanted to go in a few restricted areas. Do we need just one permission for all areas or is for every area another permission required? Do we need a local Guide in every restricted Area or is a Taxi Driver also respected as a Guide? Is there a Website to book approved local Guides on the Internet and how much is a guide approx. for one day? Thanks, 
    Raj ( February 2019 
    Hi, whether you need separate permits would depend on the places you want to visit. North Sikkim and East Sikkim protected area permits are issued separately and you need to organize the tours through registered tour operators of Sikkim. They have packages which includes vehicle, permit, guide, accommodation etc. However there are certain areas where foreign nationals are not allowed for example you can not visit Gurudongmar lake, Nathula Pass, Zuluk etc. You can contact an operator online through their website and organize the tours. 
    Anetsaba Tzudir (January 2019) 
    Hi, What is the procedure for a Chinese national to get the approval from the ministry of home affairs. Do we have to go and get it from Delhi or can we apply online? 
    Raj ( January 2019 
    You can approach the Indian Mission (Consulate) office in your home country and make an application through them or take their guidance for the application. There is no provision for online application. 
    Christophe (December 2018) 
    Hi Raj, as I am renting a car from West Bengal, I was wondering if they will let us enter Sikkhim with our car to visit Gangtok and Pelling. We have a tourist permit on the front window of the car...what do you think? Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( December 2018 
    Hi, self driven rental cars from outside Sikkim (for example Zoomcars) are allowed in Gangtok and Pelling. Chauffeur driven rental cars (black letters on yellow number plate) from outside Sikkim are allowed only for hotel drops but not for local sightseeing within Sikkim. You should check this out with your rental company. As foreign nationals, you will be required to get permits (ILP) before you enter Sikkim. 
    Dil (December 2018) 
    Hi Raj, We are planning to visit Sikkim with our 5-year-old boy. As we are Nepalese do we need permits to visit Tsomgo Lake. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( December 2018 
    Hi, yes everybody including Indians need protected area permit to visit Tsomgo lake. 
    Mark Adams (December 2018) 
    Hi Raj, The information on the website is really useful. I am a foreigner who is working in West Bengal with a work visa. áI want to visit Sikkim. áI am going to get my permit from the Rangpo checkpoint. However, can you tell me if the permit allows multiple entries over the 60 days or can I only enter/leave Sikkim once? Any advice would be much appreciated. Many thanks. 
    Raj ( December 2018 
    Hi Mark, foreign tourists need to fill up 'the place arriving from' and 'the date of arrival' on the permit form. The permit is stamped at the checkpost on entry and exit so the same permit can not be used for re-entry. It takes only 5-10 minutes at Rangpo check post to get your permits done... carry a photocopy of your passport, visa and one passport-size photo. 
    Shalu (November 2018) 
    Hi Raj, Thank you for such valuable information on this page. I am an Indian travelling to north Sikkim in January. I will be staying in Lachen for 3 nights and in Lachung for 4 nights. When i am trying to book/avail a cab for my entire trip to Darjeeling and Sikkim, a few cab drivers have informed me that the permits to north Sikkim are only valid for 5days. I am unsure of this information, whether it is true or false. they are asking me to reduce my days at Lachen and Lachung and instead stay at Dzongu or Gangtok. Please advice. 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Hi, protected area permits for north sikkim are usually issued for up to 3 days for a single route (like Lachen/Gurudongmar) or 5 days for a combined visits to Lachen/Gurudongmar and Lachung/Yumthang. 
    Christophe Cozien (November 2018) 
    Good day, We (2 persons from Europe) are coming to India in Decembre. We are going to rent a car from Mumbai and then drive first to Assam and are planning first to visit Kalimpong then Gangtok and then Darjeeling. I know I can get permit at the police check point on the way to Gangtok. I am a bit confused about Darjeeling. I read that Foreigners driving to Darjeeling need a permit. Can I apply for it at the airport in Dehli when entering India or at the police check point in Gangtok? Thanks a lot for your answer. 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Hi, there is no permit required for foreigners in Darjeeling, even if you are self-driving. However you must have valid international travel documents like passport, visa etc. Permit is required for Sikkim (Gangtok) because it has international borders. 
    Bee Lian (November 2018) 
    Hi, Raj your blog has been very useful for my visit to Sikkim. I am flying from Kolkata to Pakyong on 22 Dec , can I apply for the ILP at the new Pakyong airport? I am from Malaysia. Thank you so much. 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Hi, there is a Sikkim Tourism help desk at the arrival area of Pakyong Airport. They will help you with the ILP (a foreign national can not enter Sikkim without an ILP). Carry two photographs and of course your passport and visa. 
    Martin (October 2018) 
    Hello, I have just tried to fill in the online form of ILP. I am a solo traveller to Sikkim and I don't have any tour operator. Which tour operator do I have to fill in? Is a tour operator obligatory? 
    Raj ( October 2018 
    You can choose any tour operator while filling up the online form... a tour operator comes into play when you try to visit a protected area such as Lachung/Yumthang and then you need to get a special permit (protected area permit) done through the operator. A solo foreign national is anyway not allowed to travel to a protected area in Sikkim. 
    Actually this online form makes no sense... you need to anyway get your self printed provisional ILP stamped at an appropriate check post (for example at Rangpo check post while entering Sikkim). Instead you can get the usual ILP itself at the checkpost in a matter of minutes (with your passport, visa and couple of photographs). Such manually issued ILPs have no mention of any tour operator, so it's quite strange that the online application asks for it. 
    Maria (September 2018) 
    Hello Sir, At what time does the Melli checkpoint stop issuing ILP? And what about Rangpo? My flight is landing in Bagdogra at 17:50 and I don't know if I'll make it on time to get the ILP at one of the checkpoints. - Is it possible to get the ILP in Darjeeling? - If i decide to spend a night in Siliguri, is it customary for shared taxi or buses to stop at the checkpoint and wait for foreigners to get the ILP if previously I ask the driver for it? 
    Raj ( September 2018 
    Hello, permits at Rangpo check post are issued till 8pm. Shared taxis or buses won't wait at the check post for permits because there will be other passengers... you need to take a reserved taxi. Sikkim ILP is no longer issued in Darjeeling. 
    Jessica Giner Ildefonso (September 2018) 
    Namaste Mr. Raj Bhattacharya, This is Jessica. It is a pleasure for me to talk with you. I am going to India in January for my Vipassana meditation course. It is my second time in India, I would love to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim. Please, would you mind advice how can I obtain my visa to visit the gorgeous Darjeeling and Sikkim. I am a Spanish citizen, I have read that I can obtain my visa online for entering India, but what about obtaining the visa permits to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim? Look forward your to hear from you. Thank you very much in advance. 
    Raj ( September 2018 
    Hello, foreign nationals do not require any permit to visit Darjeeling. However entry to Sikkim would require an Inner Line Permit which you can obtain at the check post of Rangpo (on the way to Gangtok, capital of Sikkim). Further if you want to visit north Sikkim protected areas (such as Lachung/Yumthang) you need to get a Protected Area Permit which you can obtain while in Gangtok and through a Sikkim Government registered tour operator. Foreigners must be in a group of two or more to visit permitted protected areas. 
    Catherine Lemaire (September 2018) 
    Dear Sir, Is an e-visa (I will land in Mumbai) sufficient to ask for an inner line permit to go to Sikkim. OR do I obligatory need a regular visa? Thank you very much for your answer. With my best wishes. 
    Raj ( September 2018 
    Hello, e-visa is okay to get required permits for Sikkim. 
    Shino (August 2018) 
    Thank you so much, this page has been very helpful. I am Japanese and am planning to go to Sikkim and Darjeeling this September with an Indian friend. Can I visit places like Lachung, Lachen and Lake Tsomgo, as I won't be alone( 1 Japanese(me) and 1 Indian)? Also which is the nearest place to Bagdogra airport to get the Inner Line Pemit? 
    Raj ( August 2018 
    Hello, you can visit Lachung (including Yumthang valley), Lachen (but not Gurudongmar lake), Tsomgo lake (but not Nathula pass) etc with your friend. You can get your Inner Line Permit at Rangpo check post (while entering Sikkim by road from Bagdogra). You need to however get Protected Area Permits separately for all the above places on reaching Gangtok. 
    Lynn Brooks (August 2018) 
    Hi Raj, Hope you can find time to help me! áMyself and three others are travelling to Gangtok from the UK in October and need an inner line permit. áI understand that this can be obtained from the checkpoint at Rangpo. Does the checkpoint stay open 7 days a week as we will be travelling to Gangtok by car on a Saturday. Hope you can help - and thanks for a fabulous website. 
    Raj ( August 2018 
    Hi, yes the Rangpo check post is open all 7 days a week. 
    Phub (July 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I must say, all your articles are very informative and you replied each questions very carefully. I also want to ask. My question is that, me (Bhutanese) and my girlfriend (Myanmar) want to visit Darjeeling and Ravangla in February, 2019. We are the students who are studying in India. Is there any restrictions for our visit?? If some permission needed, please tell us from where and how we can get. Please share some information about it. Thank you. 
    Raj ( July 2018 
    Hi, there is no restrictions for foreigners in Darjeeling. However Ravangla being in Sikkim, a Myanmar national can not visit without special permission from Home ministry in Delhi. There is no such restrictions for Bhutan nationals though. 
    Md. Khurshid Khan (June 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I have always wanted to visit and enjoy the panoramic beauty of Sikkim but the problem is I have heard Sikkim does not welcome Bangladeshi people as it does others. Is there any way that will allow us to visit Sikkim? Is it possible to get ILP from Shilliguri or Darjeeling or from Sikkim? Can anybody help me to show me the way of enjoying the beauty of Sikkim. We are 4 person family (2 adults and 2 child). (I have a visa and border Changrabandah/Shiliguri). 
    Raj ( June 2018 
    Hi, unfortunately citizens from bordering nations like Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Myanmar are not yet allowed in Sikkim without prior permission from Home Ministry at Delhi. This is due to national security of India as Sikkim is a state with borders with China, Nepal and Bhutan. However there is some news making rounds that such restrictions may somewhat get relaxed in future (but Nathula Pass may still remain out of reach for foreigners). 
    Stephen McDonald (February 2018) 
    Hi Raj. How long does it take to get from Bagdogra airport to Rangpo? I'm concerned about getting to Rangpo before ILPs stop being issued at 8 pm. Also, are jeeps easy to get to Gangtok from Bagdogra airport? Thanks. 
    Raj ( February 2018 
    Hi, it takes around 2.5 hours to reach Rangpo from Bagdogra airport under normal traffic conditions. There is a tricky point in between (known as Kalijhora) which is notorious for traffic jams due to ongoing heavy excavation work. You can get pre-paid small or large vehicles from Bagdogra airport for Gangtok (they are usually allocated by turn). Note that vehicles which are not registered under Sikkim Transports, are usually not allowed to go beyond Deorali (a place 2kms before Gangtok town). In such a case you need to change your taxi there to a local taxi, and pay additional fare to get to your hotel. So clarify this point at the airport pre-paid taxi counter before you board. 
    Samir Khan (February 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I must say, all your articles are very informative. My question is, can Zoomcar be taken to Zuluk &áThambi View point from Rongli check post. I intend to stay at Zuluk and return the next day through Rongli. I understand that a permit is required for me and my family but is a permit required for a Zoomcar as well. Any help or guidance is appreciated! 
    Raj ( February 2018 
    Hi, Zoomcars or for that matter any self driven cars are not allowed in protected areas of Sikkim including Zuluk. 
    Ruchira Chakraborty (December 2017) 
    Hey... I am married to a foreign national of Nigeria... So does he need any permit to visit sikkim or he can show the marriage certificate to enter Sikkim?? 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    As a national of Nigeria your husband needs an Inner Line Permit to enter Sikkim. Other permits (i.e. Protected Area Permit) may be required for both of you if you plan to visit any Protected Area such as Lachung/Yumthang, Tsomgo lake etc. However foreigners are not allowed in certain areas such as Nathula and Gurudongmar lake. 
    M. Sato (December 2017) 
    We, 4 Japanese, plan to visit Darjeeling next month(JAN) for sightseeing in Darjeeling city only. Do we require to obtain some permission to make city sight only such as going to mountain view point and ride toy train. If it is required, kindly advise me how we can obtain same in Darjeeling on arrival ? We visit Darjeeling via Delhi with Indian tourist visa in advance. Thank you. 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    Hello, foreign nationals do not require any permit for visiting Darjeeling. 
    Sonali Majumder (December 2017) 
    Hi Raj, One of my friends from Bangladesh is coming to visit Darjeeling. Please let me know is there any permit/registration required to visit Darjeeling. Please note he will only visit Darjeeling &ánearby places. He is not entering Sikkim. Thanks in Advance. 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    Hi, no permit is required for Darjeeling. 
    Fabian Bazing (November 2017) 
    Dear Raj, I am a German citizen wanting to visit Sikkim next year. However, information on the internet concerning the ILP often remains a little ambiguous. Can I travel the less-restricted places like Gangtok, Yoksum etc. alone and without a travel agent? Having to enter a travel agent when applying for the ILP suggests I can't, yet you only need a passport and two photos according to the official website. I would really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot in advance. 
    Raj ( November 2017 
    Hi, yes you can travel alone to Gangtok and Yuksom. Group is required for protected areas. However as a foreigner you will still need an ILP to visit Gangtok or Yuksom, or for that matter any place in Sikkim. If you are unable to get it online, you can always get it on the way to Gangtok at Rangpo check post (entry point to east Sikkim). Carry your passport, visa and photo. ILP is issued at Rangpo daily between 8am to 8pm. 
    Chris C (November 2017) 
    Hi Raj, I'll start by saying that I'm a big fan of your site. It's been a huge use for me planning my trip up to the hills. I think it might be worth mentioning somewhere that the Sikkim administration won't grant special access permits to single foreign Travellers. I'm currently in Gangtok and have been disappointed not to be able to visit the lakes or the valleys on my own. There aren't many other foreigners around at the moment who I can team up with so I'm sort of stuck here! Kind regards, 
    Ling (October 2017) 
    Is there any age restrictions while applying for North Sikkim permit ? My mum is 68 years old. 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    There is no such restriction. 
    Samir (October 2017) 
    Hey, just wanted to check if self drive Zoomcar vehicles from Siliguri (Black plates with yellow number) are allowed towards Northern parts of Sikkim like Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang and Gurudongmer. If it requires a permit, will it be similar to taking a permit for private vehicles or is Zoomcar not allowed there at all and only till Gangtok? 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    Hi, self driven Zoom cars are allowed in Gangtok, Pelling, Namchi etc, but not in any protected areas including North Sikkim. 
    Abbasi Tankiwala (October 2017) 
    Dear Raj, read your post, thanks for all the updates regarding normalcy returning to Darjeeling. We are family of 6 adults visiting Darjeeling &áGangtok on 28th October. As my sister is a british citizen with pio card is there a way of getting permit in Mumbai before visiting Gangtok. Thanks in advance for all your help. 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    Hello, permits are not issued in Mumbai. You should work through a registered tour operator in Sikkim to get the permit in advance. 
    K. P. Dahal (October 2017) 
    Hi, Does a Nepali national need PAP or ILP for traveling to Yumathang and Zero Point by a jeep? What document shall he/she (Nepali) should bring along? Thank you for your reply. 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    Yes, Nepali nationals require both PAP and ILP to visit Yumthang and Zero Point. Get them through a registered tour operator in Sikkim. 
    Kirby Earnest Dayal (June 2017) 
    Hello, My name is Kirby. I'm an Australian Citizen and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). I have an OCI card Issued by Government of India. This allows me to travel to India every time without the need to apply for any visa. I plan to visit North Sikkim soon. Being a Overseas Citizen of India am I allowed to request for Travel permits to all areas in North Sikikim which is same as Indian Passport holder? Please advise as I'm really interested in travelling to Gurudongmar Lake. Hope to hear back from you!! 
    Raj ( June 2017 
    OCIs have same restrictions in Sikkim as any other foreigners. You can apply for both restricted and protected area permits for visiting north Sikkim, however you won't be allowed in certain protected areas such as Nathula Pass. 
    Dr. Md. Nahiduzzaman Talukder (June 2017) 
    Hi, as we are citizens of Bangladesh, how can we procure ILP if we want to visit Sikkim? How do we get approval from Ministry of Home affairs, New Delhi while in Siliguri or Darjeeling?? áAnd if by luck we are able to visit Sikkim, can we visit Nathula Pass, Tsongmo lake? I mean, can we reach there by road? Are they as spectacular as other seasons of the year? Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( June 2017 
    As a Bangladesh national, you need written approval from Ministry of Home affairs in Delhi and this can not be done in Siliguri or Darjeeling. You should consult the Indian Visa Issuing authority in your country for the procedure of getting such approval. While you can visit Tsomgo lake with valid permits, no foreigners are allowed in Nathula. If road condition is okay, you can visit Tsomgo lake in monsoon, but there are possibilities of land slides. 
    Sumit (May 2017) 
    I can see you have mentioned the PAP permit can be received for Indian citizens at police check posts. Can you tell if we have to separately visit to any specific police check post for this at Gangtok? Or we will get this at any respective check posts while traveling to these protected areas (Nathula Pass, Tsomgo lake etc.) by hired car from Gangtok? 
    I have contacted sikkim tourism office, and the agent there confirmed that those Permits can be applied only via the local tour operators. My question is, is it mandatory to opt for tour operator to get permit? What if I simply hire cab at Gangtok to go those places, will there be any option to get this permit by ourselves? 
    Raj ( May 2017 
    You can not hire just any car and visit places like Nathula. Only vehicles of authorized operators are allowed. Better get your pass through them as it requires vehicle details etc. 
    Kevin (May 2017) 
    Hi Raj, me and my wife are planning to visit North and East sikkim and Bhutan in Oct. we are planning to rent out bike from Siliguri and ride through. for the North and East permits, can we apply on the same day or is it required to obtained the permit a day prior to the travel to that particular area (North and East). Thanks. 
    Raj ( May 2017 
    You can apply for both permits on same day but mention your travel dates so that the permits are issued accordingly. 
    Josef - Czech Republic (May 2017) 
    Hi Raj, Thank you for a great website with lots of updated information. I really wanted to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim on my trip next week and I have already filled the online form to entry Sikkim Restricted Area, but there are 2 problems. 1) as I read on your website (February 2017 update) it is impossible to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim with E-VISA? á2) in my e-visa form I wrote I plan to visit only Mumbai and Goa - I did not write I plan to visit Darjeeling. Do you think, it is impossible to get there to Darjeeling? Thanks for your response and help. 
    Raj ( May 2017 
    Hi, eVisa is issued for entry into India and not for specific places in India. Once in India, you can travel to any place within India provided you have required permits for the place as a foreigner. While Sikkim requires permits, Darjeeling has no such requirements.  
    Prabhakar Krishnamurthy (March 2017) 
    Hello Raj, Great website with lots of information! áThank you. Regarding obtaining ILP. áMy travel agent told me the office at the Bagdogra Airport. áI called a number that Justdial provided for Sikkim tourism in Bagdogra and person who answered said they only provide helicopter service and directed me to Siliguri or Darjeeling to get the ILP. Can you please clarify? 
    Raj ( March 2017 
    Hi, the helicopter booking counter at Bagdogra airport is different from the Sikkim Tourism office (which is basically a stall) in arrival hall. You can get your ILP done at the Sikkim Tourism office. They also have a webcam and can take your picture required for the ILP. 
    Mukul Purohit (February 2017) 
    Hi Raj, First of all thanks for the excellent website and that too up-to-date. I with my wife and two kids plan to visit Gangtok from Hyderabad in May. All are Indian citizens; me and my wife have necessary government issued photo I-cards, but the kids (age - 7, 9) don't have any govt issued card. So my question is that what documentation would suffice for them? School I-card, Birth certificate (which generally does not have a photo). Or we need to get some document for them. Thanks. 
    Raj ( February 2017 
    Unless you are visiting protected places like Tsomgo, Nathula etc, your kids won't need any ID cards. Otherwise take both school and birth certificates, in case asked. 
    Alwynne Lamp (December 2016) 
    I'm a little confused about the solo travel requirement. Does it mean that even with a tour guide, one must find someone else to travel with.Or, does it mean a foreigner travelling on their own in Sikkim must organize through a tourist agency and therefore the guide is the second required person? Please clarify. 
    Raj ( December 2016 
    In protected areas of Sikkim, foreigners themselves need to be in a group of two or more, and can not go there solo. Foreigners are however not allowed at all in some protected areas such as Nathula Pass and Gurudongmar lake. This is a requirement of Home Ministry, Govt. of India.  
    Additionally you need to arrange your travel to these protected areas through a Sikkim Govt. registered travel agency because only their vehicles are allowed in such places. Separate guide is not mandatory unless you are trekking to places like Dzongri/Goechala etc. Registered travel agency's vehicle, driver and two or more in your own group of foreigners are all that you require for the protected areas.  
    However you can travel solo to places in Sikkim which are not earmarked as protected areas, such as Gangtok, but you still require the ILP (Inner Line Permit). 
    Brigitte &áIvo (November 2016) 
    Hi, We do not exactly understand if it is allowed for foreigners (2 pax) to ride (by bicycle) the road from Gangtok - Kupup - Reshi after obtaining a PAP on their own, meaning without guide or support vehicle. Can we get the necessary PAP without going through a travel agency? We would appreciate it very much if you could clarify the situation. Thank you very much for your help! Kind regards. 
    Raj ( November 2016 
    Hi, foreigners are not allowed beyond Tsomgo lake on that route. So you can not go further towards Nathula, Kupup and then come down via Reshi in West Bengal. Foreigners also need a guide from a Sikkim registered agency. 
    Priyanta (May 2016) 
    Hi... I am traveling in a group of 8 to Sikkim. I only have adhaar card and PAN Voter ID, passport or driving license.. In such a situation would it restrain me from entering Sikkim and the protected areas that require permits? Thanking you in advance. 
    Raj ( May 2016 
    Hi, Aadhar card is now accepted for issuing permits to Nathula and other protected areas in Sikkim, but not PAN card. 
    Sonal Taneja (April 2016) 
    We would like to travel to Tsomgo lake, Nathula pass and Yumthang valley in our personal vehicle next week. Pls let us know are permits issued to personal vehicles? Can permits be issued in advance? Can we travel to these places in our personal vehicle from Lucknow, UP? Many many thanks. 
    Raj ( April 2016 
    Usually the vehicles of Sikkim government registered tour operators are only allowed in protected areas such as North Sikkim and Nathula. However a personal vehicle like SUV may be allowed. It requires a vehicle fitness certificate from the permit issuing authority (office of IG Police, Check Post, Gangtok) and also a local guide needs to accompany. Vehicle fitness certificate requires vehicle inspection, and therefore can not be done in advance. Visitor's permits can be however taken in advance through operators by sending them all required documentation. 
    Nasheed Zaragoci (April 2016) 
    Hello, Many thanks for all the very useful and well-researched information you provide. In the 3rd week of April, I am planning to take my family to Darjeeling and Gangtok. I and my mother are Indian passport holders, but my husband and my two children are foreign nationals with OCI and PIO cards. My question is - to only see Gangtok and not the restricted zones do they still need any permit? If yes, how is it to be arranged? Thank you in advance. 
    Raj ( April 2016 
    All permits applicable for foreign nationals will also be applicable for OCI and PIO in Sikkim. For Gangtok, they need Inner Line Permit (i.e. Restricted Area Permit). 
    Mudit Mangal (April 2016) 
    Sir, is there any way of obtaining the permits for Nathula from Darjeeling? Actually I am worried about not obtaining the passes in 1 day after reaching Gangtok because of the April rush. 
    Raj ( April 2016 
    Nathula requires a Protected Area Permit which is issued only at Gangtok. This is because the pass may not be issued at all on certain days due to border sensitivity, army restrictions, prevailing road &áweather conditions etc. In such a case you should try to visit on some other day. So the permit or visit is never assured. However if you have a day at Gangtok, you should get the permit, if available. The only way to get it in advance is to send required documentation to a registered tour operator, who can get it for you. But even if you get it in advance, any restriction on the day of journey will still apply. The permit however remains valid for few days. 
    Manoj (March 2016) 
    Hi, Are the permits for the Lachung tour and the Nathula pass issued separately? And how much time does it take for each of the permits to be issued? Thanking You 
    Raj ( March 2016 
    Separate Protected Area Permits are required for Nathula and Lachung. But you can get them together from the Sikkim Tourism office in Gangtok. Tour operator or even the cab driver can get the permits if you provide all required documentation. During high season you should be prepared for half a day (preferably in the morning half) if you plan to get the permits yourself or through the tour operator. So you must plan to stay in Gangtok for a day to get the permits if you apply on arrival. If you do not have time, you should get them done in advance through an operator before arrival. 
    Indranil (March 2016) 
    Hi, I am an Indian citizen, but my wife and minor son are both foreigners and OCI as well. If I plan to visit any restricted area like Tsongo lake together, can we travel together as a group of us 3 only ? If no then what are our options of visiting the restricted places? What permits would be required in that case? 
    Raj ( March 2016 
    You can travel together, but OCI is treated as foreign national, and so permits applicable for foreigners would be required for your wife and child. You must go through a govt. registered tour operator of Sikkim and they can handle all the required permits. 
    Rajaie Razali (February 2016) 
    Dear Raj, I am a tourist from Brunei and myself together with my mates (2 altogether) are planning to visit Darjeeling end of February. Is it possible if we get entry permit to areas of Sikkim without any itinerary arrangements with any tour guides? 
    Raj ( February 2016 
    Hi, you can get the Inner Line Permit yourself from Bagdogra airport or Rangpo check post on the way to Gangtok. However for north Sikkim (like Lachung/Yumthang etc), you need to apply for Protected Area Permit one day in advance. You can't go there yourself. You can go only through a Sikkim govt. registered tour operator. So better to apply through one of them. You can engage with the operator once in Gangtok, but you need an additional day to get it done. If you don't have time, you need to contact a tour operator before arriving, send required documentation and get the permit arranged. Foreigners are not allowed in some border areas like Nathula, Gurudongmar etc. 
    Santosh Raj (December 2015) 
    Me, my wife and 3 children along with my wife's brother and his wife are planning to visit Sikkim. My wife's brother is married to an Indonesian and both reside in Singapore and do have the permanent residence cards. Can we be allowed to visit the protected areas along with my brothers wife. Kindly advise us. 
    Raj ( December 2015 
    NRIs and Foreigners are not allowed to visit protected areas like Nathula. They can however visit Tsomgo lake with permits. 
    Sugee Kamat (October 2015) 
    Dear Sir, My only worry is if our AI flight gets delayed from its scheduled 1pm arrival. I hear Bagdogra permits closes at 4 pm and Melli at 6 pm. Do you see any other way Sir? 
    Raj ( October 2015 
    Tourism and other kiosks in Bagdogra usually remain open until the last flight arrives and passengers leave the airport. So permit at Bagdogra should not be a problem. There is no flight arriving after 3:30pm, so the counter on normal days gets closed by 4pm. Melli counter will close as scheduled. 
    Brian Crowley (June 2015) 
    Hi Raj, Update on this - the helicopter was cancelled, but there is an office at Bagdogra airport that issues permits for Sikkim. áThey weren't interested in my online permit. áAlso I didn't have to provide photos, they used a webcam, but I guess other places may differ. 
    At Rangpo there was actually a signboard advertising the online permits, but inside the officer said it's a waste of time, just makes work (I think it's just not yet fully hooked up). 
    The other thing I was told is that due to some irregularities, the Sikkim government has stopped issuing permits through outside organisations, now they are only issued at Sikkim tourism offices and border checkpoints - not at immigration and not at FROs (though FROs within Sikkim will do extensions). Hope this helps. 
    Janssens Elke (June 2015) 
    Dear sir, We are planning a trip to Sikkim this year and we already made our itinerary, but my question was: how is it possible to extend your ILP when you're still trekking, I mean if after the 15 days you are still in the mountains? Isn't it possible to obtain an ILP for 30 days at once from the beginning? Thank you kindly for your answer. Kind regards, 
    Raj ( June 2015 
    Approach an FRO or State Tourism Office within Sikkim with a government registered tour operator who is organizing your trek, they can make exceptions based on your trek itinerary. 
    Rohit (June 2015) 
    I am traveling to Darjeeling by my own car and would like to know that any special permission is required for taking my car to Gangtok. 
    Raj ( June 2015 
    Private vehicles do not require any permits for Gangtok. However private vehicles are not allowed in protected areas such as Tsomgo, Nathula etc. For protected areas, you will need special permits for vehicles. 
    Jip Tan (September 2014) 
    Hi Raj, I read quite a lot in your forum. Appreciate your contributions advising people who are interested in visiting this region of the country. I am from Singapore and would be travelling during my business trip here from Kolkata in November. As I am travelling alone to Darjeeling-Sikkim for 8 days, below are few questions hope you can help me on: 
    (1) From Darjeeling, is it advisable to go to Gangtok first like most did, or I can head for Pelling first then Gangtok later? 
    (2) At Pelling, I would also like to go to Dzongri. Does this require another permit? Can a solo traveller be allowed at the tour agencies? Is one day tour enough for Dzongri and back to Pelling? 
    (3) For Tsomgo Lake, can I just join any other 2 persons to meet the requirement of at least 2 persons to go? 
    (4) Does travelling to Lachung-Yumthang Valley also need additional permit to travel north? Does it also require at least 2 persons to go? What will be the temperature roughly in the North in November? 
    (5) Last, is 8 days enough for me to venture to the above districts? 
    Thank you very much. 
    Raj ( September 2014 
    Hi, You can head for Pelling first. However, get your RAP (Restricted Area Permit, aka Inner Line Permit) before visiting any place in Sikkim. You can get it in Darjeeling from Foreigners Registration Office near State Bank of India on Laden La Road. You must carry your passport with valid Indian visa and photos (if required). 
    Solo foreigners are not allowed in any protected area in Sikkim including Dzongri, Yumthang. Tsomgo etc. Foreigners should be in their own group of two or more. If you are travelling alone, the tour/trek agencies may be able to combine other foreigners to make the minimum group size. One day is not enough for Dzongri. A separate permit is required for all to visit Yumthang ... you can get that at the check post or Sikkim Tourism office. 8 days is okay to visit the places you mentioned except Dzongri, but will be very hectic.