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Visa for Nepal – Tourist or Volunteer – Read this First

Visa Form at Kathmandu, Tribhuvan Airport, NepalTraveling to Nepal? Going to Everest Trek or here to volunteer? You don’t need to get a visa in advance, Nepal visas are issued upon arrival. But there are a few things you need to know when filling out the customs form.

Volunteer Visa for Nepal – No, no.

One issue that I have always been concerned about is this:  If you came to “volunteer” in Nepal, it is considered “work” technically and you would need some type of pre-arranged work visa for that.   So, most (all) volunteer agencies tell you to list tourist “other” or “trekking” or some type of activity to fulfill the requirement of actually being a tourist when entering on a tourist visa.  The volunteers who would actually list that would be someone maybe with the Peace Corps, or a large INGO, who would be staying more than the 5 month maximum.

Tourist  Visa for Nepal – Yes, yes!

This is easy and straight forward.   You simply fill out the form in the customs hall upon arrival, walk up to the counter and they will issue you a visa for 30, 60 or 90 days.   You may legally stay in Nepal for up to 5 months on a tourist visa in one calendar year, but you will have to renew at the Nepal immigration office in Kathmandu.  It is not particularly friendly, and I warn you, don’t be late (past your visa expiration date) or they will find all kinds of ways to charge you penalty fees, but if you bring your money, photos and passport, you can extend your visa fairly easily.  Many a backpacker has trekked in Nepal and decided to stay!   Nepal loves tourists, so feel free to explore the country, go on the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Annapurna Trek or my favorite Ancient Kingdom of Mustang Trek.  You will need a few weeks for all of these, and recovery time.  The months go by fast!

Here’s what you need for Tourist Visa in Nepal:

  • Your passport – valid for at least 6 months upon entry
  • 2 Passport size photos
  • Cash – US Dollars or Euros is preferred.
  • Single Entry Visa is $40 for 30 days, or Multi-Entry 90 days is $100.

Customs at KTM Tribhuvan Airport

After you get your Nepal Tourist Visa, you will go down stairs to the baggage area of Tribhuvan airport.   There are only a few carousels, but they are sometimes not well marked.   Grab a trolley, find your baggage carousel and then proceed to the customs check where you bags will go through a scanner.  Once you

get scanned, you proceed to the exit and ENJOY Nepal!

Airport Transportation in Kathmandu

You will most definitely be swarmed with taxi drivers if you do not have someone meeting you, and men my try to grab your bags and do you the favor of carrying them for you.  They expect a tip and they will tell you outrageous amounts like “$5” or “$10” — $1 is PLENTY.  Don’t get ripped off in your first minutes, for more on this, read my post  – How to Avoid Scams and Jams in Shangri-La.

If you are going to Everest Base Camp trek, or trekking in Nepal, you will also need a trekking permit for each region. Email us if you need more information!