Bhutan has a special treaty with India and Indian nationals or citizens do not need a passport or visa to enter Bhutan. All they need is to carry some form of identification along with them such as a driver's license, an election card or a passport. However, they do have to complete the Customs Declaration Form upon arrival in Bhutan and hand the documents to Custom authorities there. They get an immigration slip that they have to keep it carefully until their departure, when they will have to hand it back to the authorities. However, if the Indian nationals are commuting between Nepal and Bhutan, they do require a valid passport. Indian nationals can come and explore Bhutan as they like and bargain for Hotel rooms. They are allowed to go anywhere they like.
Foreign citizens or people from the rest of the world have different visa regulations that they need to follow to enter and explore Bhutan. Tourists can only visit Bhutan on a pre-arranged itinerary that includes hotel accommodations and transportation too. The tour can only be arranged by a recognized tour operator and has to be routed via the Tourism Authority of Bhutan (TAB). The itineraries have to be approved and paid for prior to the visit of the tourist, and then only the visa is cleared. The tour operator issues a visa clearance number to the tourists and the visa actually gets stamped on arrival in Bhutan. Visitors, who arrive by surface transport through the Dooars, get their visa stamped at Phuntsholing. The fee for foreigners is US $20 that is valid up to 14 days of arrival. Tourists will also need two copies of original passport size photographs at hand.
Getting a visa for Bhutan is not so difficult as it sounds and the limit on the number of tourists in the country has been lifted. Yet, the rules are stringent to minimize the ‘threat’ to Bhutan's unique culture and you may have to pay about US$ 165.00 to US$ 200.00 per night depending on the time of year, including all the costs. The process is quite clear, efficient and precise and a good tour operator can tailor the itinerary to suit your interests easily. Your tour operator channels all visa applications through the Department of Tourism (DOT) and when the full payment is received and you get the approval, visas are issued on arrival in the country. All this documentation takes about ten days. Despite the popular myth, you cannot enter Bhutan via Jaigon in India into Bhutan without a visa and you may need to pay as much as US$250 per night depending on the season including the hotel accommodation, if you are taking that route. Tourists need to know that the entry fee of US$ 20 is never included in the tour packages and itineraries that are offered to you and you have to pay it at the airport.