The visa process can be complicated in Nepal and we do not condone obtaining fake visas and we also warn against believing, possibly very genuine people, who say they can obtain a visa for you.
Below is an outline of the most common visas expats and long-term visitors can expect to obtain here. But this is for guidance only and you should contact the Immigration Department for up-to-date information, details, clarification, and costs. There are several different types of visa available in Nepal:
- Tourist Visa
- Business Visa
- Diplomatic Visa
- Non-Tourist Visa
- Official Visa
- Resident Visa
- Study Visa
Changing from a Tourist Visa to another Visa
When you arrived, you will have obtained a tourist visa. It is relatively straightforward to switch from your tourist visa to another visa, i.e. study visa, business visa, non-tourist visa, should you meet the relevant visa requirements. However, this all takes time so please ensure you have plenty of time on your 5-month tourist visa to do this. We would suggest you have at least 3 months on your tourist visa before starting the process to transfer to another visa. Fees will apply.
If you have arrived in Nepal and your office is not organising a visa for you or you are not currently working, then we suggest you visit the Immigration Department’s website for further information.
Nepal Immigration Department Contact Details
Department of Immigration
Kalikasthan | Dilli Bazaar | Kathmandu
Telephone: +977-01-4429659, 4429660
Business Visa in Nepal
This is for people who invest money (currently US$50,000) in starting up a business in Nepal. A visa is valid for a year, renewable annually. Should you bring your entire investment into the country in one lump sum, you may qualify for a five year visa.
Visa fee: US$300 per year.
The business visa shall be granted to the following foreigners and their family on the recommendation of concerned agency:
- Foreigners having obtained license to make investment in any business or industrial enterprise within Nepal or authorised representatives of such business or industrial enterprise.
- Foreigners having obtained license to invest to carry on export trade from Nepal.
- Foreigners visiting Nepal from third country who export goods manufactured in Nepal through purchase or who place a purchase order for export.
Non Tourist Visa
This is for those working for international development organisations, those married to a Nepali, being a tourist group leader, foreign journalists, etc. This visa covers a number of areas, as shown in the Immigration Department’s details below. A visa is, in general, valid for a year, renewable annually.
Visa fee: Please enquire at Immigration Department
- Foreigners involved in the social and economic development works approved by Nepal Government, under the expenses to be borne by governmental institutions of the foreign-friendly nations;
- Foreigners having obtained recommendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work in the institutions run by the foreign missions located in Nepal,
- Foreign representatives having obtained recommendation from the Ministry of Information and Communications to work in foreign newspapers and news agencies,
- Foreigners having obtained recommendation from the concerned Ministry to act as helpers of the foreigners having obtained diplomatic or official visas,
- Foreigners having obtained approval from Nepal Government to work on a remuneration basis in any firm, company, association, industry or enterprise within Nepal,
- Foreigners having obtained recommendation from the Ministry concerned to work in any international airlines organization located in Nepal,
- Foreign importer visiting Nepal from the third country on the recommendation of foreign governmental agency or Federation of Industries and Commerce or Chamber of Commerce of Foreign Country,
- Foreigners who have marital relations with the citizens of Nepal and furnish the marriage registration certificate.
- Foreigner of Nepalese origin or such children of a Nepalese father or mother, who have come to Nepal to visit their relatives or Father, Mother, Brother or sister of the foreigner married with Nepalese citizen having recommendation letter of relationship from the concern embassy, who have come to Nepal to visit her/him.
- Foreigners who come to Nepal to work, on the recommendation of the concerned Ministry pursuant to an agreement or understanding agreed upon at governmental or non-governmental level.
- Foreigners having obtained the recommendation of the concerned Ministry to conduct a feasibility study of an industry or enterprise for a period not exceeding 6 months. But the foreigner, according to this part, must submit the document of the source of investment, qualification of investor, and details of experience along with the visa application form.
- Group leader of the foreigners making application, accompanied by the recommendation of the Ministry of concerned, for making the tourists’ tour in group in Nepal,
- Foreigners who have obtained the recommendation of the concerned Ministry and who have to come to work in Non-governmental organization as per the agreement concluded with Social Welfare Council or concerned Ministry.
This visa is for people who have contributed to Nepal in a way that is recognised by the government (i.e. having won a medal of honour from the Nepal Government for some outstanding deed), who are of retirement age (although we are not entirely sure what that age is) and who then bring in US$ 20,000 a year and spend it in Nepal (supposed to be for living expenses, provide receipts) or if you are of ‘international reputation’, which we assume means you are famous! A visa is valid for a year, renewable annually.
Visa fee: Please enquire at Immigration Department
- Persons with international reputation,
- Persons capable of rendering outstanding contribution to the economic, social and cultural growth of Nepal.
- Person, who has invested minimum one hundred thousand US dollars or convertible foreign currency equivalent thereto in industrial enterprise of Nepal at once.
- Any foreigner intending to spend life in Nepal without carrying on any business.
- This visa is for those who wish to study in Nepal in a recognised institute i.e. the Tribhuvan University or the Rangjung Yeshe Institute, or for those who are coming to Nepal to undertake research for their study in their home, or another country.
- If you wish to study in Nepal there are several courses including music, Nepali language, Buddhist philosophy, and Tibetan language. A visa is valid for a year, or the length of your study time, renewable annually should your course be continuing. Monetary requirements vary from institute to institute, course to course, so please enquire at the place you wish to study.
Visa fee: Please enquire at Immigration Department or your place of study.
- The study visa shall be granted to the foreigners and their families who, having obtained the approval of the Nepal Government, come to study, teach or conduct research in any educational institute in Nepal.
- Except for the foreigners who visit Nepal under the award of a scholarship by the Nepal Government or the accepted program of Nepal Government or Students and researcher under the agreement within the two universities or students from SAARC member states or students studying up to secondary level the foreigners intending to study and conduct research at their own will shall be granted the study visa only on the basis of the authentic source, in the case of the foreigner, to make expenses of at least three thousand American Dollars, grossly or on a monthly installment basis per annum during their stay in Nepal, and in the case of their family, that of at least two thousand American Dollars per annum, or on the basis of the submission of a certificate of the exchange of foreign currency equivalent thereto or bank statement equivalent thereto.
- The study visa shall be granted for one year at a time. In cases the visa has to be granted for a period in excess thereof, the term of the visa may be extended by taking into consideration of the study and research progress report of such person, his activities as well as other necessary matters. Provided, however, that in the case of a researcher or student, such extension of the term shall be only for up to the Period of research or that of educational degree under study.
Work Permit And Volunteering
None of the common available visas entitle you to work in Nepal.
In order to work you require a Work Permit, which is obtainable only through your office/ a legally registered business in Nepal. It is a lengthy business to obtain a work permit as several ministries are involved – for example, if you are working in a language institute you will need to apply to the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Labour, etc. Please enquire with the Department of Immigration.
- IT IS ILLEGAL TO VOLUNTEER IN NEPAL ON A TOURIST VISA.
- IT IS ILLEGAL TO UNDERTAKE VOLUNTOURISM PLACEMENTS.
Some organisations, such as VSO, Peace Corps etc. have legal permission from the Government of Nepal to employ volunteers. Orphanages, schools, guesthouses, bars, trekking agencies do not.