Entry Formalities to Sikkim | How to get Inner Line Permit?

Sikkim Entry Permit

Foreigners (other than Bhutanese citizens) are expected to obtain a valid Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to enter Sikkim. All foreign tourists are allowed to travel popular places, like Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery, Phodong, Pemaytangtse Monastery, Kechoperi, Tashiding, Yuksum, Mangan and Singhik. In addition, there are four district headquarters and all subdivisions including Rangpo, Roarathang, Rhenaka, Aritar, Rongli, Soreng, Namchi, Pakyong, Baraphing but Chung Thang. International tourists are expected to travel in group with a travel agent for all other locations. The permits are issued for a period of 15 days which can be extended in two splits of 15 days each to a maximum of 30 days. The validity is in most cases not extended beyond this time.

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How to get the Permits

There is no fee charged for the permits. At the Melli Checkpoint and Rangpo (permits issued from 8:00 AM and 7:30 PM) you can apply on-the-spot. Although if you are not in time for this, at the Sikkim Tourist booth at Bagdogra airport itself (open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM) you can apply for a permit in advance.
You may also apply at the Sikkim House in Kolkata, at the Sikkim Tourist Office in Siliguri or at the Sikkim House in Delhi.
Stage 1-Submission to the International Registration Office (FRO)
Step 2-Request and receive the permit from the Office of the District Commissioner (DCO) in the town. Apart from that, when applying for your visa, you can also request a 15-day Sikkim permit at Indian embassies internationally.

Special Permits

For high altitude trekking organized by trekking agents (in all situations, you must be accompanied by a guide) special trekking permits are required for a hiking tour in Yukson or Utterey. The application for these permits is made in Gangtok, and it takes at least one day to deliver the documents to the capital and back. Foreigners need Restricted Area permits for further trekking up the Lachen and Lachung valleys (up to the Tsopta and Yumthang) in north Sikkim.

Indians need a police permit to travel north of Singhik but could venture to Gurudongmar Lake, Zero Point and Yumthang up the Thangu Valley. Permits can be obtained through registered agencies in Gangtok.

Documents needed for the Permit

– Passport-sized photographs (2 to 3). Usually, having a few extra copies is best in case you do need some at the hotel check-ins.
– Photocopy of the visa and passport(with the original copies too)

Issuance of Protected Area Permit (PAP)

Indian and foreign tourists who like to go for a trekking or sightseeing interior regions of Sikkim has to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) which is issued by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department at Gangtok.  This permit is given for specified areas and is not given to a solo foreign tourist.

Popular places you can visit with a Protected Area Permit (PAP).

Also Read: Backpacking in Sikkim | Detailed guide with Budget

East Sikkim

  1. Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir – Domestic tourists can obtain this permit from Police Check Post and foreign tourists can get this both from Tourism & Civil Aviation Department and Police Check Post. Foreigners are only allowed to visit until Tsomgo Lake.
  2. Nathula Pass – Permit is issued from the Tourism Department as well as at Police Check Post and is only allowed for Indians.

West Sikkim

  1. Dzongri Trek & Singalila Trek- Permit for both Indians and Foreigners, can be issued from Adventure Cell of Tourism & Civil Aviation Department, Govt. of Sikkim .

North Sikkim

  1. Yumthang Valley, Thangu Valley – Domestic tourists can obtain this permit from the Police Check Post and foreign tourists can get it both from Tourism & Civil Aviation Department and Police Check Post.
  2. Gurudongmar Lake – Permit is is only allowed for Indiansand can be issued from the Police Check Post.

South Sikkim

To visit South Sikkim no Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for both Indians and Foreigners.

Also Read: My Surreal Experience To Sikkim on Budget.
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Post Author: subhadeep

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