Your browser does not support the running script, you cannot get a perfect browsing
Your reliable Bhutan trip advisor that provides the best Bhutan Tour Packages since 2013.

Bhutan Update SDF Incentives with 50% Discount till 2027

From reopening on September 23rd, visitors to Bhutan will make an active contribution to Bhutan’s economic, social and cultural development. The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) enables investment in transformative programmes that preserve our traditions, protect our heritage and environment, upgrade infrastructure, create opportunities for our young people, and build resilience.

Bhutan SDF Incentives with 50% Discount from 1st Sept.2023

--Update on August 25, 2023 by bhutan.travel ( Department of Tourism, Bhutan)

The Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to announce additional incentives and policy measures to boost the tourism sector. This is in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment; earning foreign exchange; realizing the potential for spillover benefits for ancillary industries; and in boosting overall economic growth.

The Bhutan SDF incentives and measures shall consist of the following:

1. A 50% discount shall be granted on the prevailing SDF of USD 200 for US Dollar paying tourists visiting Bhutan. The effective SDF with the discount shall be USD 100 per person per day for US Dollar paying tourists, effect from 1 September 2023 till 31 August 2027.

2. In addition, a 50% discount on the SDF shall be granted on the rates applied to children aged between 6 to 12 years (USD 100 with 50% discount = USD 50 per person per night) for US Dollar paying children visiting as tourists, effect from 1 September 2023 till 31 August 2027.

3. The 24 hours SDF waiver for tourists staying in the border towns shall continue.

The above incentives will come into effect from 1 September 2023 and shall remain effective for four years till 31 August 2027.

Bhutan Tiger's Nest

Bhutan Tiger's Nest

FAQ on Bhutan's introduction of a 50% reduction in the Sustainable Development Fee

1. Is the 50% SDF discount a reduction in the SDF rate?

Bhutan's SDF remains at USD 200 per person per night. The effective SDF with the 50% discount is USD 100 per person per night for US Dollar paying tourists. This is a time-limited incentive until 2027.

2. Will previous duration incentives (4+4, 7+7, 12+18 nights packages) still be available?

No, the incentives introduced in June 2023 (4+4, the 7+7 and the 12+18 have been revoked and are no longer applicable). However, the 24 hour SDF waiver for border towns in Bhutan remains valid.

3. Can the 50% discount be combined with the SDF waiver for border towns?

No, it cannot be combined. Visitors wishing to explore border towns before or after the SDF discount must apply for another visa.

4. Explain the 50% SDF discount for children aged between 6 to 12 years for US Dollar paying children visiting as tourists?

The 50% discount shall be on the USD 100 rate. Therefore, the effective SDF with the 50% discount for children will be USD 50 per person per night for US Dollar paying tourists. Children who have not yet turned six years old are eligible to visit Bhutan without paying any SDF.

Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan

5. What is the normal SDF without any discounts?

For all visitors, the SDF is USD 200 per person per night. Indian guests (with an Indian passport or voter ID) pay 1200 Ngultrum or the equivalent in Indian Rupees per person per night. Indian children aged 6 to 12 receive a 50% discount, and those under six are exempt.

6. How long can I stay in Bhutan with a tourist visa?

You can stay for a maximum of 90 nights from the entry date.

7. Can refund for excess SDF payments following the duration incentives be available?

Yes, if you've paid for guests arriving on or after September 1, 2023 with the previous incentives. You can choose to keep it as is or apply for a visa with the 50% discount. Any excess amount can be refunded.

8. Who receives the refund for excess payments due to the 50% discount?

The excess amount will be refunded to the original payment account.

Thimphu, Bhutan

Thimphu, Bhutan

9. When does the 50% SDF discount take effect?

It starts on September 1, 2023. Until then, the existing system remains in place.

10. How long is the 50% SDF discount valid?

It's valid until August 31 2027. Further details post-2027 will be announced one year before the validity ends.

11. Is the 50% SDF incentive calculated on a per day or per night basis?

A11: It’s calculated on a per night basis.

Bhutan Tshechu Festivel

Bhutan Tshechu Festivel

FAQ on Bhutan Trip Planning

1. Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?

Yes, all visitors need a visa to enter Bhutan, except for visitors from India, who require a permit.

Nationals of Bangladesh and the Maldives, as well as nationals of Switzerland and Thailand who hold diplomatic or government-official passports, are also eligible for a visa on arrival at their port of entry.

Visitors from India will need a permit to enter Bhutan and are required to hold an Indian passport or an Indian voter ID card. Indian nationals under the age of 18 may enter with a birth certificate or passport and must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

2.How do I apply for a visa or permit?

Visitors can apply for their visa or permit through this website, or they can engage tourism service providers to process their travel documents.

Although visitors from Bangladesh and the Maldives can process their visas on arrival at their port of entry and visitors from India can process their permits on arrival, it is recommended that these be applied for online instead in order to reduce the wait time at the port of entry.

3. How much is the visa fee?

The visa fee is US$40 per person; this fee is non-refundable.

Phunaka, Bhutan

Phunaka, Bhutan

4. What documents do I need in order to apply for a visa?

Option 1): A digital copy of your passport if applying online (or the hard copy of your passport if applying in person). The passport must be valid for six months from the intended date of departure from Bhutan.

A recent digital passport-appropriate photograph (or a recent passport-size photograph if applying in person).

Valid travel insurance for the duration of the trip.

Option 2): As a visitor from India you will need a digital copy of your passport or voter ID card if applying online (or a hard copy of your passport or voter ID card if applying in person). The passport must be valid for six months from the intended date of departure from Bhutan. Those under the age of 18 can use a birth certificate or passport and must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

A recent digital passport-appropriate photograph (or a recent passport-size photograph if applying in person).

Valid travel insurance for the duration of the trip.

5. How long does it take to issue a visa/permit?

It may take up to five working days to process a correctly input visa application.

6.Can I extend my visa or permit while I’m in Bhutan?

Yes, provided the extension is applied for before the original visa or permit expires. Visitors can extend their stay via the online visa application portal on this site, using the same log-in details that were used to process the original visa. The fees for processing your extension application, and daily Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) for the duration of your extended stay, are payable via the same portal.

Wedding in Bhutan

Wedding in Bhutan

7. How do I pay the SDF?

The SDF must be paid during the visa or permit application via wire transfer or using a credit card. The SDF is paid in US dollars. Indian nationals applying for a permit can pay in Indian rupees. Visitors eligible for a visa on arrival pay the applicable SDF in US dollars at the port of entry.

8. Is travel insurance mandatory?

Yes. All visitors must have full, valid travel insurance for the duration of their visit. For all visitors except for those from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives this is required to be in place when you make your visa application.

Visitors from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives have the option to purchase domestic travel insurance from Bhutanese insurance providers at their port of entry. Please contact tourism information officers stationed at all ports of entry if you need assistance

9. What is the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) and how is it used?

The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) is a daily levy paid by visitors to support Bhutan’s development. Since the kingdom first opened its doors in 1974, guests have played a critical role in our country’s growth.

The SDF is collected by the national exchequer and funds are allocated to various projects that create long-term, sustainable opportunities for the Bhutanese people, through free healthcare, education and training, upskilling the tourism and hospitality industry, improved infrastructure, environmental preservation and conservation, cultural preservation programmes and initiatives that support local businesses and economies. The SDF is also a vital means of maintaining the exceptional forest cover and carbon-neutrality for which our small nation is world-renowned and globally critical. The SDF also helps us to ensure that we can continue to offer guests tranquillity and an intimate experience.

Bumthang, Bhutan

Bumthang, Bhutan

10. Can guests who have already obtained visa take advantage of the new SDF incentives?

Yes, guests who have already obtained visa and booked trips to Bhutan can take advantage of the new SDF incentives. They will need to cancel their existing visa application and re-apply. Please note that DoI will forfeit their original visa fee (USD 40) and guest will be required to pay the USD 40 visa fee again when they process their new visa application. The SDF that they have already paid can be used when applying again.

11. What happens if a guest wants to change the SDF incentive option after the visa application is submitted, but before any action has been taken by the DoI?

The guests should cancel their visa application and apply again. Please allow at least five working days to process the visa application. The SDF that they have already paid can be used when applying again.

12. If I cancel my trip, will my SDF be refunded?

Yes, the SDF will be refunded by the Department of Immigration for any cancelled or shortened trips; any bank charges will be deducted from the total refunded. Requests for SDF refunds should be submitted online using the visa portal. The refund will be processed after visitors leave Bhutan.

Welcome to Bhutan

Welcome to Bhutan

Need help for your Bhutan Trip? Contact our Bhutan Tripadvisor for Free !

BhutanTrip.com is a leading online travel service called Asia Odyssey Travel. Since 2013, we have been arranging both private & customized Bhutan trips for our clients from all over the world. Aiming at providing the best Bhutan tour service at the most reasonable cost, we guarantee that we will present you with a worry-free, unforgettable, and unique Bhutan journey once in your lifetime.

Feel free to contact Asia Odyssey Travel Team if you have any questions for a trip to Bhutan.

Bhutantrip Feedback

Bhutantrip Feedback

Hot Deals

Best of Bhutan Tour 8Days
8Days Bhutan Tour Packages
View more
Bhutan Thunder Dragon Tour 6Days
6Days Bhutan Tour Packages
View more
Bhutan Gangtey Tour 9Days
9Days Bhutan Tour Packages
View more
Best of Nepal and Bhutan Tour 12Days
12Days Bhutan Nepal Tours
View more
Bhutan Highlights Tour 5Days
5Days Bhutan Tour Packages
View more
Loading... View more Bhutan tours
Make Inquiry Now
We have helped thousands of travelers enjoy their Bhutan trips since 2013. Tell us your ideas and get a quick response within 6-8 hours.
  • Data in submission...
Contact us Now :