Immagration Act, 2007

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Immigration Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan,2007 _English_

THE IMMIGRATION ACT
OF

THE KINGDOM OF BHUTAN, 2007

Table of Contents

Title Page No.

PREAMBLE................................................ 1

CHAPTER 1 ............................................ 1

PRELIMINARY........................................1

TITLE, COMMENCEMENT AND EXTENT....... 1
REPEAL ...................................................2

CHAPTER 2 ............................................ 2

GENERAL PROVISIONS......................... 2

ENABLING AUTHORITY.............................. 2

CHAPTER 3 ............................................ 3

POWERS AND DUTIES OF
IMMIGRATION OFFICER...................... 3

POWERS OF IMMIGRATION OFFICER........... 3
DUTIES OF IMMIGRATION OFFICER............. 5
DUTIES OF PERSON SEEKING ADMISSION OR
ENTRY ................................................... 5

CHAPTER 4 ............................................ 6

IMMIGRANTS ...........................................6

IMMIGRANTS .............................................. 6

CHAPTER 5 ............................................ 8

NON-IMMIGRANTS ................................. 8

NON-IMMIGRANTS ..................................... 8
EMPLOYMENT VISA FOR HIGHLY SKILLED,
PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL EXPERTS. 9
EMPLOYMENT VISA FOR SKILLED AND
TECHNICAL WORKERS.............................. 10

CHAPTER 6 .......................................... 11

REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION .. 11

REQUIREMENTS FOR PERSONS ARRIVING IN
THE KINGDOM.......................................... 11
REQUIREMENTS FOR A VISITOR................ 12
ENTERING AS VISITOR IN TRANSIT TO
ANOTHER COUNTRY................................. 13
ENTERING AS STUDENT............................ 14
ENTERING AS SKILLED WORKER.............. 16
ENTERING AS OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE........ 17
ENTERING AS MEMBER OF THE GROUND
STAFF OF FOREIGN OWNED AIRLINE......... 17
ENTERING TO ESTABLISH AND OPERATE
BUSINESS IN THE KINGDOM ..................... 18
REQUIREMENT FOR RIGHT OF ENTRY....... 19

CHAPTER 7 .......................................... 20

REGISTRATION...................................... 20

REGISTRATION......................................... 20
PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION.............. 20

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS............. 22

CHAPTER 8 .......................................... 22

INADMISSIBILITY AND REFUSAL OF
ENTRY................................................... 22

GROUNDS FOR REFUSAL.......................... 22
REPORT ON INADMISSIBILITY .................. 30

CHAPTER 9 .......................................... 31

PASSPORTS AND VISAS ....................... 31

PASSPORTS............................................... 31
VISA .................................................... 31
REQUIREMENT FOR VISA.......................... 31
CATEGORIES OF VISA............................... 32
TYPES OF VISA......................................... 35
DURATION OF VISA .................................. 36
EXTENSION OF VISA................................. 37
ORDER OF CONSIDERATION..................... 37
DENIAL OF ADMISSION OR ENTRY............ 38
VISA FEE.................................................. 38

CHAPTER 10 .........................................38

INSPECTION, SUSPENSION,
CANCELLATION AND REVOCATION ... 38

INSPECTION.............................................. 38
SUSPENSION OF PERMISSION TO ENTER IN
THE KINGDOM.......................................... 39
CANCELLATION ....................................... 40

REVOCATION ........................................... 40
BURDEN OF PROOF................................... 40

CHAPTER 11 .........................................41

REMOVAL AND DETENTION............. 41

REMOVAL OR DEPORTATION.................... 41
REMOVAL PROCEEDING........................... 42
CONDUCT OF PROCEEDING....................... 43
VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE........................ 43
DETENTION.............................................. 44

CHAPTER 12 .........................................46

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES.............. 46

FINES................................................... 51

CHAPTER 13 .........................................52

MISCELLANEOUS.................................. 52

OBLIGATIONS OF AGENCIES/INDIVIDUALS
OF THE KINGDOM..................................... 52
OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF FOREIGNER.....52
MAINTENANCE OF INFORMATION............ 53
RULE MAKING POWER.............................. 53
RULE OF CONSTRUCTION......................... 53
AUTHORITATIVE TEXT............................. 53
AMENDMENT ........................................... 54
DEFINITIONS ............................................ 54

PREAMBLE

To ensure that the Kingdom remains free from illega
immigrants and to retain control on the immigration of
foreigners for the security and prosperity of the nation;
and

To regulate the entry of foreigners to, their residnce in,
and their departure from the Kingdom;

The National Assembly of Bhutan in its 86th Session
held on 17th Day of 11th Month of the Fire Dog Year of
Bhutanese Calendar corresponding to 5th January 2007,
hereby enacts the Immigration Act of the Kingdom of
Bhutan as follows:

CHAPTER 1
PRELIMINARY

Title, commencement and extent
1. This Act shall:

(a) be called the Immigration Act of the
Kingdom of Bhutan, 2007;

(b) come into force on the 3rd Day of the 1st
Month of the Fire Pig Year, which
corresponds to the 20th Day of 2nd Month
of the Year 2007; and

(c) apply to all the citizens of Bhutan and
persons seeking admission or entry, stay
and exit in and out of the Kingdom.

Repeal
2. The provisions of all existing laws relating to

immigration, which are inconsistent with this Act,
are hereby repealed.

CHAPTER 2
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Enabling Authority
3. There shall be a Department of Immigration

under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs,
for the implementation and administration of this
Act.

4. The Department shall empower all immigration

offices with full operational immigration powers
and authority to effectively implement the
provisions of this Act.

5. The Ministry may designate any person or class
of persons as immigration officers to carry out
any provision of this Act.

6. All law enforcement agencies, such as Ministry

of Foreign Affairs, Royal Bhutan Police, Ministry
of Labour and Human Resources, Bhutan
Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority,
Department of Forestry, Department of Revenue
and Customs, Department of Civil Aviation and
Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency shall support,
coordinate and cooperate with the Department of
Immigration in the enforcement of this Act.

CHAPTER 3
POWERS AND DUTIES OF IMMIGRATION

OFFICER

Powers of immigration officer
7. An immigration officer appointed under this Act

shall have the full authority to implement the
provisions of this Act

8. An immigration officer is authorized to proceed
with an examination where a person makes an
application for entry to the officer in accordance
with this Act, provided an examination of
whether the foreigner fulfills the required criteria
shall be conducted solely on the basis of
documents submitted by the foreigner requesting
for admission or entry into the Kingdom.

9. An immigration officer shall have the authority
and powers of a law enforcement officer to
enforce any provisions of this Act relating to
arrest, detention and deportation of any foreigner
or to investigate the commission of an
immigration offence.

10. An immigration officer shall have the authority to

appear in the court of law and conduct any
prosecution in respect of any offence under this
Act or the rules and regulations made thereunder.

11. An immigration officer shall have the power to

enter any private or official premises for search,
arrest, seizure, detention, interrogation or
forfeiture of any vehicles, trains, vessels,
aircrafts, or goods in accordance with the laws of
the Kingdom.

12. An immigration officer may board and inspect

any means of transportation bringing a foreigner
to the Kingdom, examine any person carried by
that means of transportation and any record or
document pertaining to that person, seize and
remove the record or document or obtain copies
or extracts thereof and hold the means of
transportation until the inspection and
examination are completed.

13. An immigration officer may require or obtain
from a foreigner who is arrested, detained or
subjected to a removal order, any evidence such
as photographic, fingerprint or otherwise that
may be used to establish his identity in
compliance with this Act.

14. While acting in the position of an immigration
officer, the officer is not liable for any act done or
omitted in good faith and in pursuance of the
provisions of this Act.

Duties of immigration officer
15. It shall be the duty of an immigration officer to

perform all acts as may be deemed necessary for
effectively enforcing the provisions of this Act.

16. It shall be the duty of an immigration officer to
conduct examination in accordance with rules and
regulations of this Act.

17. It shall be the duty of an immigration officer to

conduct investigations into cases of violations of
the provisions of this Act.

Duties of person seeking admission or entry
18. A person who makes an application shall answer

truthfully all questions put to him for the purpose
of examination and shall produce all relevant
evidences and documents that an immigration
officer reasonably requires.

CHAPTER 4
IMMIGRANTS

Immigrants
19. Following categories of foreigners living in the

Kingdom are immigrants whose conditions for
stay in the Kingdom are as defined against each
category:

(a) A foreigner who is married to a Bhutanese
man and is the holder of Special Residence
Permit;

(b) The son or daughter of a Bhutanese
woman married to a foreigner and is the
holder of Special Residence Permit;

Terms of stay:
(i) persons with Special Residence

Permit as in (a) and (b) above shall
have the right to reside in the
Kingdom;

(ii) such persons shall be given free

movement in the Kingdom.

(c) A foreigner who is married to a Bhutanese
or the son or daughter of such parentage
and is the holder of an Immigration Card;

Terms of stay:
(i) persons holding an immigration

card shall be provided with stay
permit on periodical basis as may
be decided by the Government from
time to time;

(ii) such persons shall register
themselves at the nearest police
station each time they change their
place of residence;

(iii) they shall obtain route permits to
travel outside the designated areas.

(d) A holder of green card or refugee card;

Terms of stay:
(i) holders of cards as stated under sub

clause (d) above shall be entitled to
stay in the Kingdom until such time
as they leave the Kingdom or as
may be decided by the Government;

(ii) they shall enjoy free movement in
the Kingdom.

(e) A holder of trader card who is permitted to
reside and conduct business in the
Kingdom.

Terms of stay:
(i) the holders of such cards shall be

permitted to stay and conduct
business in the designated
commercial centers;

(ii) they shall obtain route permit for
movement outside their designated
place of residence.

20. An employment visa may not be issued to an

immigrant until the consular officer is in receipt
of a determination made by the relevant
organization.

CHAPTER 5

NON-IMMIGRANTS

Non-immigrants
21. The admission of any foreigner into the Kingdom

as a non-immigrant shall be for such duration and
under such conditions as the Department may
prescribe by rules and regulations. However, the
normal duration shall not exceed three years.

22. The period of authorized status as a non-
immigrant shall be for such period as prescribed
in the rules and regulations to this Act.

23. Every foreigner applying for entry shall be

presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes
to the satisfaction of the consular/immigration
officer, at the time of application for a visa/entry
permit that he is entitled to a non-immigrant
status.

24. The Department shall provide a process for

reviewing and acting upon application under this
Act with respect to non-immigrants within fifteen
days after the date of filing a complete
application.

Employment visa for highly skilled, professional and
technical experts

25. Employment visa may be given to a foreigner
who:

(a) has extraordinary ability in the field of
science, art, education, business, or sports
which has been demonstrated by sustained
national or international acclaim and
whose achievements have been recognized
in the field through extensive
documentation;

(b) seeks to enter the Kingdom to continue
work in the area of extraordinary ability;
or

(c) is a skilled worker, professional, or other

worker, who will substantially benefit the
Kingdom.

Terms of stay:

(i) they may be allowed to stay and work
in the Kingdom for a maximum
period of three years.

Employment visa for skilled and technical workers

26. Employment visa may be given to a foreigner
who:

(a) is a skilled or technical worker;

(b) will benefit the Kingdom.

Terms of stay;

(i) they shall be allowed to stay and
work in the Kingdom for a maximum
period of one year.

CHAPTER 6
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION

Requirements for persons arriving in the Kingdom
27. A person shall, on arrival in the Kingdom or

when seeking entry, produce on demand by the
immigration officer:

(a) a valid national passport or other

document satisfactorily establishing his
identity and nationality; and

(b) such information as may be required to

establish whether he requires permission to
enter the Kingdom and, if so, on what
terms and conditions permission to enter
may be given.

28. Entry clearance takes the form of a visa (for visa

nationals) and an entry permit (for non-visa
nationals). These documents are to be taken as
evidence of the holder’s eligibility for entry into
the Kingdom.

29. An applicant seeking entry clearance shall be
outside the Kingdom at the time of the
application.

30. An application for entry clearance shall be
considered in accordance with the provisions of
this Act and the rules and regulations made
thereunder.

31. An entry clearance may be revoked, if the

immigration officer is satisfied that:
(a) it was obtained through false

representations or material facts were not
disclosed; or

(b) the holder’s exclusion from the Kingdom

would be in the interest of the public good
and national security.

32. The time limit and other conditions shall be made

known to the person concerned either by written
notice given to him or endorsed by the
immigration officer in his passport or travel
document or in any other manner permitted by
rules and regulations under this Act.

Requirements for a visitor
33. A person seeking permission to enter the

Kingdom as a visitor shall fulfill the following
requirements, that he:

(a) is genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for
a limited period;

(b) intends to leave the Kingdom at the end

of the period of the visit as stated by him;

(c) does not intend to take employment in the
Kingdom;

(d) does not intend to produce or sell goods

or services within the Kingdom; and

(e) shall meet the cost of the return or
onward journey.

34. A person seeking permission to enter the
Kingdom as a visitor may be admitted for a
period not exceeding ninety days, subject to a
condition prohibiting employment, provided the
immigration officer is satisfied that each of the
requirements enshrined under this Act is met.

Entering as visitor in transit to another country
35. Any person, who as a visitor in transit to another

country needs to fulfill the following
requirements that he:

(a) is in transit to another country;

(b) has both the means and the intention of
proceeding at once to another country;

(c) is assured of entry there; and

(d) intends and is able to leave the Kingdom

within forty eight hours.

Entering as student
36. Any person seeking permission to enter the

Kingdom as a student needs to fulfill the
following requirements that he:

(a) has been accepted for a course of study in

an academic institution recognized by the
Government;

(b) shall leave the Kingdom at the end of his

studies;

(c) does not intend to engage in business or to
take any employment; and

(d) is able to meet the costs of his course and

accommodation and the maintenance of
himself without taking employment or
engaging in business or having recourse to
public funds.

37. A person seeking permission to enter the
Kingdom as a student shall be admitted for an
approved period depending on the length of his
course of study and his means.

38. Extension of student visa may be approved if the
applicant:

(a) was last admitted to the Kingdom in

possession of a valid student entry
clearance, or valid prospective student
entry clearance in accordance with rules
and regulations under this Act;

(b) meets the requirements for admission as a

student;

(c) has produced evidence of his enrolment
acceptance for the course;

(d) can produce satisfactory evidence of

regular attendance during any course
which he has already begun; or any other
course for which he has been enrolled in
the past; and

(e) can show evidence of satisfactory progress

in his course of study including the taking
and passing of any relevant examinations.

Entering as skilled worker
39. A person coming to the Kingdom to seek or take

employment shall:

(a) hold a valid employment visa or
employment clearance from the relevant
organization;

(b) not be of an age which puts him outside

the limits for employment;

(c) be capable of undertaking the employment
specified in the work permit;

(d) not intend to take employment except as

specified in his employment visa/permit;

(e) leave the Kingdom on expiry of the
permit;

(f) be physically and mentally sound as

certified by a relevant organization; and

(g) posses valid identity documents or
certificate of nationality.

40. A person seeking permission to enter the

Kingdom as skilled worker under this category
may be admitted for a period not exceeding one
year.

Entering as overseas employee
41. A person may be granted permission to enter the

Kingdom as an overseas employee, if he:

(a) is able to produce either a valid entry
clearance for entry or satisfactory
documentary evidence of his status as an
overseas employee;

(b) does not take up any other employment;

and

(c) will leave the Kingdom upon the closure
of his office or on the expiry of his
tenure.

Entering as member of the ground staff of foreign
owned airline
42. A person may be granted permission to enter the

Kingdom as a member of the operational ground
staff of a foreign owned airline, if he:

(a) has been transferred to the Kingdom by a
foreign owned airline operating services to
and from the Kingdom to take up duty at
an international airport as station manager
or technical manager;

(b) intends to work full time for the airline
concerned;

(c) does not take up any other employment;

(d) holds valid immigration documents for
entry in this capacity; and

(e) will leave the Kingdom upon the closure
of his office or on the expiry of his tenure.

Entering to establish and operate business in the
Kingdom
43. A person may be granted permission to enter the

Kingdom to establish business, if:

(a) he fulfills the requirements mentioned
under this Act or in any other laws of the
Kingdom ;

(b) he holds valid immigration documents for

entry in this capacity;

(c) he establishes with documentary evidences
of having received Government approval
for establishment of business in the
Kingdom as per prevailing policies and
laws;

(d) he will be actively involved full time in
trading or providing services on his own
account or in partnership, or in the
promotion and management of the
company; and

(e) there is a genuine need for his investment

and services in the Kingdom.

Requirement for right of entry
44. A person claiming to be a Bhutanese citizen shall

prove that he has the right of abode in the
Kingdom by producing either:

(a) the Bhutanese citizenship identity card;

(b) Bhutanese passport describing him as a

Bhutanese citizen; or

(c) any certificate duly issued by or on behalf
of the Government certifying that he is a
citizen of the Kingdom.

CHAPTER 7
REGISTRATION

Registration
45. No visa/stay permit shall be extended to any

person until such person has been registered in
accordance with this Act, other laws and rules
and regulations made under this Act.

46. Every foreigner in the Kingdom shall have the

duty to be registered at the nearest police station
within ten days and thereafter with every change
of address, except for tourist.

47. Every parent or legal guardian of a foreigner residing

in the Kingdom shall have the duty to register their
wards at the nearest police station within ten days and
thereafter with every change of address, except for
tourist.

Procedure for registration
48. The Department shall provide registration form to

the foreigners and such form shall include:

(a) the date and place of entry into the
Kingdom;

(b) visa/entry permit/work permit number and
date of issue;

(c) activities in which the person has been and
intends to be engaged;

(d) the length of time the person expects to
remain in the Kingdom;

(e) the place of stay and work;

(f) police and criminal record, if any; and

(g) any additional information as may be
prescribed.

49. All registration records shall be confidential, and
shall be made available only to such persons or
agencies as may be designated by the
Government.

50. Every person who is required to apply for the

registration of self or another shall submit all the
required information.

51. Every foreigner in the Kingdom who has been

registered shall be issued a foreigner registration
card prescribed under rules and regulations made
under this Act.

Notice of change of address
52. All foreigners who have been registered under

this Act or other laws or rules and regulations
made under this Act shall notify the Department
in writing of the change of address within ten
working days from the date of such change.

53. Every parent or legal guardian of a foreigner shall

have the duty to notify the change of address for
their ward.

CHAPTER 8
INADMISSIBILITY AND REFUSAL OF ENTRY

Grounds for refusal
54. The entry or permission to enter the Kingdom

shall be refused if:

(a) the person seeking entry to the Kingdom is
currently the subject of a deportation
order;

(b) the person fails to produce a valid national
passport or other travel documents
satisfactorily establishing his identity and
nationality;

(c) the person fails to provide any
information, documents, copy of
documents or medical report requested by
an immigration officer;

(d) the person fails to furnish the immigration

officer with any additional information as
may be required for the purpose of
deciding whether he requires permission to
enter and, if so, on what terms permission
should be given;

(e) a previous permission to enter or remain

was obtained by deception;

(f) the Government has specifically directed
the exclusion of that person from the
Kingdom; or

(g) the information available to the

immigration officer justifies the refusal of
entry on the ground that exclusion from
the Kingdom is conducive to public good
and national security.

55. A foreigner may be denied admission to enter
into the Kingdom, if there exists reasonable
ground to believe that the admission of such a
person would have serious adverse foreign policy
consequences for the Kingdom.

56. A foreigner who holds an entry clearance which

was duly issued to him may be refused entry
where the immigration officer is satisfied that:

(a) the entry clearance is obtained through

false representation;

(b) material facts were not disclosed;

(c) there is a change in circumstances;

(d) refusal is justified on grounds of restricted
return ability on medical grounds or on
grounds of criminal record;

(e) the person seeking permission to enter is

the subject of a deportation order; or

(f) it is in the interest of public good and
national security.

57. The cancellation of a person’s permission to enter
or remain which is in force on his arrival in, or
whilst he is outside the Kingdom shall apply if:

(a) there has been such a change in the

circumstances whereby the given
permission should be cancelled;

(b) the permission was obtained as a result of

false information; or by that person’s
failure to disclose material facts;

(c) it is undesirable to admit that person for

medical reasons;

(d) it seems right to cancel permission on the
ground that exclusion from the Kingdom is
conducive to the public good; or

(e) the person fails to provide any

information, documents, copy of
documents or medical report requested by
an immigration officer.

(f) it is in the interest of public good and

national security.

58. The arrival of a foreigner is illegal if he enters the

Kingdom at any place other than as designated by
the Government.

59. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the
Kingdom on security grounds for:

(a) engaging in an act of espionage or an act

of subversion against the Kingdom;

(b) engaging in or instigating subversion by
force of any Government;

(c) engaging in terrorism;

(d) posing threat to the security of the
Kingdom;

(e) engaging in acts of violence that would or

might endanger the lives or safety of
people in the Kingdom; or

(f) being a member of an organization against

which there are reasonable grounds to
believe that it engages, has engaged or
may engage in acts referred to in
paragraph (a), (b) or (c).

60. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the

Kingdom on grounds of:

(a) violating human or international rights for
committing an act outside the Kingdom
that constitutes an offence of the crimes
against humanity and war crimes; or

(b) being a prescribed senior official in the
service of a foreign Government that, in
the opinion of the Royal Government,
engages or has engaged in terrorism,
human rights violations or genocide, a war
crime or a crime against humanity.

61. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the

Kingdom on grounds of serious criminality for:

(a) having been convicted in the Kingdom of
an offence of felony under the laws of the
Kingdom;

(b) having been convicted of an offence

outside the Kingdom that, if committed in
the Kingdom would constitute an offence
of felony under the laws of the Kingdom;
or

(c) committing an act outside the Kingdom
that is an offence in the place where it was
committed and that, if committed in the
Kingdom, would constitute an offence of
felony under the laws of the Kingdom.

62. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the

Kingdom on grounds of organized criminality
for:

(a) being a member of an organization that is
believed on reasonable grounds to be or to
have been engaged in activity that is part
of a pattern of criminal activity planned
and organized by a number of persons
acting in concert in furtherance of the
commission of an offence punishable
under an Act of Parliament; or

(b) engaging, in the context of trans-national

crime, in activities such as human or drug
trafficking, or money laundering.

63. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the

Kingdom on health grounds if his health
condition:

(a) is likely to be a danger to public health or

safety; or

(b) might reasonably be expected to cause

excessive demand on health or social
services.

64. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the

Kingdom, if he is or will be unable or unwilling
to support himself and has not satisfied an
immigration officer that adequate arrangements
for care and support, other than those that involve
social assistance, have been made.

65. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the
Kingdom for misrepresentation on account of:

(a) directly or indirectly withholding material

facts relating to a relevant matter that
induces or could induce an error in the
administration of this Act; or

(b) a final determination to cancel the earlier
decision allowing the claim for admission.

66. A foreigner shall be inadmissible into the

Kingdom for engaging in:

(a) proselytization or showing disrespect to
the religions of the Kingdom;

(b) religious congregation which may create

communal disharmony; and

(c) any other undesirable practices including
political activities.

67. Any foreigner who has engaged, is engaging, or

seeks to enter the Kingdom to engage in an
offence or who aids, abets, assists, conspires, or
colludes in the commitment of an offence shall be
ineligible for admission in the Kingdom.

68. Any foreigner who obtains the status of a non-
immigrant and violates a term or condition
mentioned under this Act or rules and regulations
shall be refused re-entry and other immigration
permits until the person has been outside the
Kingdom for a continuous period of five years.

Report on inadmissibility
69. An immigration officer, who is of the opinion

that a person, who is in the Kingdom is
inadmissible may prepare a report setting out the
relevant facts and reasons justifying his opinion
and submit it to the Department.

70. If the Department is of the opinion that the report

is well founded, the Department may impose any
conditions, including the payment of a deposit or
the posting of a guarantee for compliance with
the conditions or removal of the person.

CHAPTER 9
PASSPORTS AND VISAS

Passports
71. All foreigners visiting the Kingdom shall carry

valid passports issued by their respective
countries except as may be otherwise mentioned
by law.

72. A passport has to be valid for a minimum of six

months beyond the date of intended departure
from the Kingdom.

Visa
73. All foreigners intending to visit the Kingdom are

required to obtain Bhutanese visa prior to
departure from their respective countries except
the nationals of those countries exempted by the
Government.

74. The Bhutanese visa shall be issued by the

Department of Immigration, Royal Bhutanese
Embassies or Consular offices abroad.

Requirement for visa
75. The visa applicant shall state the following when

making an application:

(a) the purpose of visit;

(b) the duration of stay; and

(c) proof of residence outside the Kingdom as

well as other binding ties ensuring return
abroad at the end of the visit.

Categories of visa
76. The categories of visa shall be:

(a) diplomatic visa;

(b) official visa;

(c) ordinary/tourist visa; and

(d) gratis visa

77. The diplomatic visa shall be issued to:

(a) members of reigning houses of Kings and
Queens; Presidents and Prime Ministers
whether on official/private visit;

(b) members of diplomatic service of foreign

states and Consular Officers
traveling/visiting on official business;

(c) Cabinet Ministers and important salaried
officials of Foreign Governments on
official missions;

(d) members of the diplomatic missions

accredited to the Kingdom;

(e) officials of United Nation and
International Organizations holding
diplomatic passports, when traveling on
duty; and

(f) accompanying spouse and family members

of above persons.

78. The official visa shall be issued to:

(a) guests of the Royal Family;

(b) ambassadors of foreign states on

holiday/tourism purpose;

(c) officials of foreign Governments on
duty/guests of the Government;

(d) foreigners coming to attend conferences,

meetings, seminars, symposia, etc.
sponsored by the Government; and

(e) professionals working for Government,
United Nation agencies, their spouse and
children.

79. The ordinary/tourist visa shall be issued to:

(a) tourists;

(b) diplomats of foreign states on

holiday/tourism;

(c) relatives/guests of foreigners working in
the Kingdom including United Nation
agencies and missions etc.;

(d) private visitors, students, business persons,

journalists;

(e) consultants/experts of private firms on
assignment with bilateral and multilateral
projects;

(f) skilled and qualified professionals or

persons who are engaged or appointed by
companies, organizations, economic
undertakings as technicians, contractors,
technical experts, senior executives; and

(g) others not falling under the diplomatic and
official/gratis types.

Types of visa
80. Single entry visa means that the visitor can enter

the Kingdom only once irrespective of duration
of his visa.

81. Double entry visa means that the visitor is

permitted to enter the Kingdom only twice, if his
visa and passport are valid.

82. Triple entry visa means that the visitor is

permitted to enter the Kingdom only three times
if his visa and passport are valid.

83. Multiple entry visa means that the visitor is

permitted to enter the Kingdom many times if his
visa and passport are valid.

Duration of visa
84. The duration of visa depends upon the purpose of

the visit. The visa shall be issued for a maximum
period of ninety days at the entry points for
diplomatic, official/gratis and thirty days for
ordinary visa.

85. The foreigners working in the Kingdom shall be

issued visa with validity depending upon the
terms of their assignment in the Kingdom.

86. The visa for tourist shall be given for a maximum

period of ninety days.

87. The visa for student shall be issued for the

duration of the academic course of study or for a
period of five years which ever is less, on the
basis of firm letters of admission from an
academic institution recognized by the
Government;

88. The visa on transit shall be issued for a maximum

period of forty eight hours with single entry
facility to bona-fide transit passenger only.

89. The visa for business persons shall be issued for
one year or more with multiple entries.

Extension of visa
90. Extension of visa may be granted only on the

grounds of illness as an exceptional case for a
period not exceeding 15 days at a time.

91. No extension shall be granted to the foreigners

who have not registered according to Chapter 7 of
this Act.

Order of consideration
92. Visas made available under this Act shall be

issued in the order in which an application is filed
with the concerned authority.

93. In issuance of visa/entry permit to a foreigner,

the concerned authority shall consider any
credible evidence relevant to the issuance of the
visa/entry permit.

94. A visa/entry permit shall not be issued until the

concerned authority is fully satisfied that the
person is eligible under this Act.

Denial of admission or entry
95. Applicants should be aware that a visa/entry

permit does not guarantee entry into the
Kingdom. Immigration authorities may deny
admission or entry in accordance with this Act.

Visa Fee
96. The visa fee shall be revised from time to time in

accordance with the rules and regulations made
under this Act.

CHAPTER 10
INSPECTION, SUSPENSION, CANCELLATION

AND REVOCATION

Inspection
97. Where a person has arrived in the Kingdom with

permission to enter or remain, which is in force
but which was given to him before his arrival,
may be examined by an immigration officer.

98. All foreigners who are applicants for admission
or otherwise seeking admission or re-admission
to or transit through the Kingdom shall be
inspected by an immigration officer.

99. An applicant for admission shall be required to

state any information sought by an immigration
officer regarding the purposes and intentions of
the applicant in seeking admission to the
Kingdom, including the applicant’s intended
length of stay.

100. There shall be spot checking in all public places

as well as regular field inspections in all
residential, commercial, private and official
premises to expose illegal immigrants and
unauthorized foreign workers from the Kingdom.

Suspension of permission to enter in the Kingdom
101. During the examination process, if the examining

immigration officer has reasonable grounds to
deny the person’s entry, the immigration officer
may suspend such permission to enter the
Kingdom until the examination is completed.

Cancellation
102. The power to cancel permission to enter or

remain, which is already in force, is not to be
exercised by any immigration officer acting on
his own except upon the order of the Department.

Revocation
103. The Ministry may, at any time, for reasonable and

sufficient cause, revoke the approval of any
application approved by the Department.

104. The Department may, at any time, for reasonable

and sufficient cause, revoke the approval of any
application approved by the Regional
Immigration Office.

105. The revocation shall be effective as of the date of

approval of any such application. However, such
revocation shall not have effect unless a notice of
revocation is mailed to the applicant’s last known
address.

Burden of proof
106. Whenever any person makes application for a

visa or entry permit for entry into the Kingdom,
the burden of proof shall be upon such person to
establish that he is eligible to receive such visa or
any immigration permit.

CHAPTER 11
REMOVAL AND DETENTION

Removal or deportation
107. If an immigration officer determines that a person

who is arriving in the Kingdom is inadmissible on
any ground under this Act, the officer shall effect
the removal of such person from the Kingdom
without further hearing or review unless
otherwise provided in other laws of the Kingdom.

108. A person shall be subject to deportation or

removal if he:

(a) does not enter the Kingdom through a
designated port of entry; or

(b) is found unlawfully present in the Kingdom.

109. A person who arrives or enters the Kingdom

illegally shall be removed to the country in which
the person has boarded the aircraft or vehicle on
which he arrived in the Kingdom or the last
country before he entered the Kingdom.

110. An illegal immigrant or an unauthorized foreign
worker exposed during field inspection shall be
subject to deportation after imposing fines as per
the provisions of this Act or rules and regulations
made thereunder.

111. Owners and operators of all modes of carriers and

individuals who bring a foreigner into the
Kingdom unlawfully shall be liable to bear all
transportation and related costs for the
deportation of that foreigner.

Removal proceeding
112. An authorized authority shall conduct

proceedings for deciding the inadmissibility or
deportability of a person.

113. A notice shall be served in person or, if personal

service is not practicable, the notice shall be
served upon the person through registered mail.
However, if the person to be served cannot by the
exercise of due diligence be found, it may be
served by leaving a copy with:

(a) an adult member of his family; or

(b) a person living with him at that time.

114. The notice shall specify:

(a) the name and address of the person;
(b) the nature of charges and statutory

provisions alleged to have been violated;
and

(c) that a person produce any evidences to
justify his stand.

Conduct of proceeding
115. All proceedings shall be conducted in accordance

with the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of
Bhutan.

Voluntary departure
116. The Government may permit the person

unlawfully present in the Kingdom to voluntarily
depart the Kingdom at his own expense before
trial, if the Government is satisfied and enters an
order granting voluntary departure in lieu of
removal by deportation.

117. The voluntary departure may be granted, if the
person:
(a) has established that the person has not

been involved in any criminal activities;

(b) has established that the person has no

financial dues payable;

(c) has established by clear and convincing
evidence that the person has a means to
depart the Kingdom;

(d) intends to depart from the Kingdom; and
(e) has no any court cases pending against

him.

118. Permission to depart voluntarily under this Act

shall not be valid for a period exceeding fifteen
days.

119. The person permitted to depart voluntarily shall

be required to execute a bond of surety to ensure
that he will depart within the specified time.

Detention
120. The Department may detain a person in the

immigration detention center for a maximum
period of one week. Where the detention exceeds
more than one week, the immigration officer shall
comply with the provisions of the Civil and
Criminal Procedure Code of the Kingdom of
Bhutan.

121. The Department shall detain a foreigner on

grounds of established facts that the foreigner:

(a) was inadmissible for entry into the Kingdom

(b) has entered illegally and has been residing
illegally in the Kingdom

(c) was illegally working or transacting

business without valid work permit and
immigration document

(d) has refused to leave the Kingdom after

serving removal or deportation order

122. A foreigner shall be detained for the purpose of:

(a) conducting examination;

(b) deportation proceeding;

(c) awaiting the host, relative or employer to
appear for questioning;

(d) paying fines by the host, relative, employer

or guarantor as the case may be.

CHAPTER 12
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

123. The Penal Code of Bhutan shall apply in case of
any immigration offences mentioned under the
Penal Code.

124. Any foreigner or his parent/legal guardian who

willfully fails or refuses to register within the
stipulated period in accordance with Chapter 7 of
this Act shall be guilty of the offence of violation.

125. A person shall be liable for petty misdemeanour

if he:

(a) knowingly and without any reasonable
cause obstructs the immigration officers in
execution of lawful duties; or

(b) knowingly reports false information to the

immigration authority with intent to
deceive the authority.

126. A person who enters or obtains entry or stays in
the Kingdom by false or misleading
representation or by concealment of a material
fact or without a valid immigration documents
shall be liable for the offence of petty
misdemeanour and the person shall be deported.

127. A person shall be liable for the offence of the

felony of the fourth degree , if he:

(a) hires or recruits for employment a
foreigner knowing that such person is
unauthorized to be in the Kingdom;

(b) hires or recruits for employment a

foreigner without complying with the
requirements under this Act;

(c) knowingly aids, abets, assists any

foreigner to depart or enter the Kingdom
with invalid travel documents;

(d) knowingly aids, abets, assists any

foreigner by furnishing false documents or
other means to facilitate unlawful
departure or entry into the Kingdom; or

(e) harbours an inadmissible foreigner.

128. A person shall be liable for the offence of
misdemeanour if he:

(a) falsely represents, or has falsely

represented himself to be a citizen of the
Kingdom for any purpose or benefits;

(b) fraudulently or willfully misrepresents a
material fact and procures a visa or any
immigration documents for admission into
the Kingdom; or

(c) conceals the presence of an unauthorized

person in the Kingdom.

129. A person shall be liable for an offence of

misdemeanour, if he brings any unauthorized
foreigner into the Kingdom despite having
exercised due diligence in ascertaining the
person’s admissibility.

130. A person shall be liable for the offence of

misdemeanour, if he willfully fails or refuses to:

(a) make timely application in good faith for
travel or other documents necessary for his
departure; or

(b) present himself for removal at the time and
place as required by the authority pursuant
to the removal order.

131. A person shall be liable for the offence of fourth

degree felony, if he:

(a) knowingly brings or attempts to bring to
the Kingdom a foreigner in any manner
whatsoever through a place other than a
designated port of entry or place;

(b) willfully disregards the fact that a

foreigner has entered, or remained in the
Kingdom in violation of laws and
transports, or moves such person within
the Kingdom by means of transportation or
otherwise, in furtherance of such violation
of laws; or

(c) willfully disregards the fact that a

foreigner has not received prior official
authorization to enter, or reside in the
Kingdom and brings such person to the
Kingdom in any manner whatsoever.

132. A person shall be liable for the offence of fourth
degree felony, if he tampers with the immigration
documents knowing that he does not have the
authority to do so and removes, mutilates,
destroys, conceals, makes a false entry in, or
falsely alters any record or other written
instrument filed with, deposited in, or otherwise
constituting a record of immigration office.

133. A person shall be liable for the offence of third
degree felony, if he:

(a) makes, completes, executes, authenticates

or issues immigration document using the
authority of another, who did not authorize
the person to use the authority; or

(b) causes any circumstance to exist or make
any false entry in any book or record, or
makes any document containing false
statement, intending that such
circumstances may appear in evidence in a
judicial proceeding, or in any other
proceeding conducted by lawful authority.

134. The court may for good cause suspend the
sentence of a person convicted under this Act and
order the person’s release under such conditions
as the court may prescribe. In determining
whether good cause has been shown to justify
releasing the person, the court shall take into
account such factors as:

(a) the age, health, and period of detention of
the person;

(b) the effect of the person’s release upon the
national security and public peace or
safety;

(c) the likelihood of person’s resuming or
following a course of conduct which made
or would make him deportable;

(d) the efforts made by such person and by
representatives of the country or countries
to which the person’s removal is directed
to expedite the person’s departure from the
Kingdom; and

(e) the reason for the inability of the
Government to secure passports, other
travel documents, or removal facilities
from the country or countries to which the
person has been ordered to be removed.

Fines
135. The imposition, variation of the amount of fine

shall be as specified in the rules and regulations
to this Act.

CHAPTER 13

MISCELLANEOUS

Obligations of agencies/individuals of the Kingdom
136. Hoteliers, tour operators, contractors, employers

of foreign workers, and any other individual shall
be bound by this law to consciously adhere to and
apply the provisions of this Act.

137. It shall be the duty of all employers/managements

to maintain records of foreigners staying in their
hotels, arriving through their agencies, working
or transacting business with them. The record
shall be produced to the immigration officer on
request or may be examined periodically by him.

Obligations and rights of foreigner
138. A foreigner shall comply with any conditions

imposed under the rules and regulations of this
Act.

139. A foreigner shall abide by the laws of the
Kingdom, and shall respect the social norms,
tradition, customs, culture and religion of the
Kingdom.

140. A foreigner has the right to be protected by the
law of the Kingdom.

Maintenance of information
141. The Department shall maintain a record of

immigrants and non-immigrants within the
Kingdom.

142. Arrival forms retained at the time of entry shall

be preserved until the receipt of departure forms,
for counter check.

143. Every visitor shall be recorded in accordance with

the arrival or departure forms in a register/data.

Rule making power
144. Except as otherwise provided, the Ministry may

make any rules and regulations regarding any
matter for the purpose of giving effect to the
provisions of this Act.

Rule of construction
145. In this Act, unless the context indicates

otherwise, the singular shall include the plural
and the masculine shall include feminine.

Authoritative Text
146. The Dzongkha text shall be the authoritative text

and shall prevail over the English text in the
event of any difference in the meaning.

Amendment
147. The amendment of this Act by way of addition,

variation or repeal shall be effected only by
Parliament.

148. Any action pertaining to major immigration

matters outside the provisions of this Act shall be
effected by two third majority of Parliament.

Definitions
149. In this Act unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Authorized authority ” means any
authority authorized to enforce this Act
and it includes the Royal Court of Justice
of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

(b) “Citizenship Act” means the Citizenship

Acts of Bhutan.

(c) “Consular officer” means any consular,
diplomat, or other officer or employee of
the Kingdom of Bhutan designated under
regulations prescribed under authority
contained in this Act, for the purpose of
issuing immigrant or non-immigrant visas.

(d) “Department” means the Department of
Immigration.

(e) ‘‘Foreign national’’ means a person who

is not a Bhutanese citizen and includes a
stateless person.

(f) “Government” means the Royal

Government of Bhutan

(g) “Green Card” means the resident card
issued to Tibetans who opted to stay in the
country.

(h) “immigration officer” means an official

of the Royal Government appointed to
exercise the functions, powers and duties
under this Act.

(i) “Immigration Card” means the stay

permit issued to the foreigners married to
Bhutanese after 10th June 1985 and their
children.

(j) “Immigrant” means a foreigner who has

entered the country legally with
permission to stay in the Kingdom with the
intention of abandoning his former country
of domicile and excludes the following
classes:

(i) an ambassador, diplomat, consular

officer or any officials who has been
accredited by a foreign Government
to the Kingdom;

(ii) a foreigner having residence in a
foreign country which he has no
intention of abandoning and who is
visiting the Kingdom temporarily for
business or temporarily for pleasure;

(iii) a foreigner in immediate and
continuous transit through the
Kingdom;

(iv) a foreign crewman serving in a
capacity required for normal
operation and service on board of an
aircraft, vessel, etc.;

(v) a foreigner entitled to enter the
Kingdom under and in pursuance of
the provisions of a treaty of trade and
commerce between the Kingdom and
the foreign state of which he is a
national, and the spouse and children
of any such foreigner if
accompanying or following to join
him;

(vi) a foreigner having residence in a
foreign country which he has no
intention of abandoning, and who
seeks to enter the Kingdom
temporarily and solely for the
purpose of pursuing study or
temporary service or labour or any
other profession and his spouse and
minor children;

(vii) officers, or employees of such
international organizations, and the
members of their immediate families
and personal employees of any such
officer; or

(viii) any other person falling under non-
immigrant category and not intending
to reside permanently.

(k) “Kingdom” means the Kingdom of

Bhutan.

(l) “Ministry ” means Ministry of Home and

Cultural Affairs.

(m) “Overseas employee” means a person

coming for employment from an overseas
Government or employee of the United
Nations Organization or other international
organizations of which the Kingdom of
Bhutan is a member.

(n) “Refugee Card” means the resident card
issued to the Tibetans who opted to remain
as refugee.

(o) “Special Residence Permit” means the

resident card issued to the foreigners
married to Bhutanese before 10th June
1985 and their children

(p) “Visitor ” a person living and working

outside the Kingdom, who is visiting the
Kingdom.

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