Bhutan, a landlocked kingdom nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and commitment to Gross National Happiness. As the world discovers the unique charm of Bhutan, individuals interested in working and experiencing life in this Himalayan haven must understand the intricacies of the Bhutan work permit and visa process. In this article, we will guide you through the steps necessary to obtain legal permission to work and reside in Bhutan.
However, the work permit and the employment visa are two distinct documents that a foreign employee must possess to work in Bhutan. The work permit is a requirement for performing labor within the country. To obtain a work permit, one must meet several requirements, including approval from the Department of Labour, a completed work permit application form, a medical fitness certificate issued by a competent government certified medical officer in Bhutan, and other relevant documents.
Overall, the employment visa is necessary for employees planning to enter Bhutan for work. The requirements for an employment visa include approval from the Department of Labour, a copy of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months from the intended date of departure from Bhutan, and a completed visa application form. Finally, this visa allows a foreign national to stay and work in Bhutan for a maximum period of one year. Together, the work permit and employment visa form the backbone of Bhutan’s system for managing foreign labor.
Types of Work Permits and Visas in Bhutan
Bhutan, in its pursuit of sustainable development and cultural preservation, has specific regulations governing the entry and residence of foreign nationals. The country offers various types of permits and visas, including:
- Employment Visa: The Employment Visa is the primary requirement for foreign nationals seeking employment in Bhutan. Also, it is typically job-specific and granted based on a job offer from a Bhutanese employer.
- Dependent Visa: If you are accompanying a family member working in Bhutan, you may apply for a Dependent Visa. Also, this allows spouses and children to reside in Bhutan during the duration of the primary visa holder’s employment.
- Business Visa: The Business Visa is suitable for individuals intending to visit Bhutan for business-related activities, such as meetings, negotiations, or exploring potential business opportunities.
Bhutan Visa Application Process
- Job Offer or Business Engagement: To apply for an Employment Visa or Business Visa, securing a job offer from a Bhutanese employer or establishing a business engagement is a crucial initial step.
- Letter of Intent: The Bhutanese employer or business partner must provide a Letter of Intent outlining the purpose, duration, and details of the employment or business engagement.
- Submit Required Documents: Commonly required documents for work permits and visas in Bhutan include a valid passport, a Letter of Intent, proof of educational qualifications, proof of relevant experience, health records, and a security clearance certificate.
- Application Submission: Submit your visa application and all necessary documents to the Department of Immigration in Bhutan. Also, the Bhutanese employer or business partner may assist with the application process.
- Security Clearance: As part of the application process, foreign nationals are required to obtain a security clearance from the Royal Bhutan Police.
- Wait for Approval: Processing times can vary, so it’s crucial to be patient while waiting for approval from Bhutanese authorities.
- Travel to Bhutan: Once your visa is approved, you can travel to Bhutan and commence your work or business activities. Also, you will need to complete additional registration and immigration procedures upon arrival.
- Renew or Extend: Be aware of the expiration date on your visa and be prepared to renew or extend it if necessary to continue your legal stay in Bhutan.
How long does it take to get a work permit in Bhutan?
The processing time for a work visa in Bhutan, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a work permit, may take from 6-12 weeks from the application day. Once the work visa is approved, the employer can then process the work permit at the respective Immigration Office. Also, please note that these timelines can vary and it’s always best to check with the relevant authorities for the most accurate information.
Are there any restrictions on foreign workers in Bhutan?
Yes, you can bring your family with you to Bhutan on a work visa. However, your spouse and children do not automatically get included in your work visa. To bring them along, you need to apply for a Dependent visa in Bhutan. Also, the requirements for a dependent visa include a valid recommendation from the employer of the work permit holder. Please note that the rules and regulations can change, so it’s always best to check with the relevant authorities for the most accurate information.
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