Although several nations in South Asia still impose strict entry regimes due to persistently high Covid numbers, Nepal is one of those rare few that seem to have controlled the recent Omicron wave. As a result, the increasingly popular destination is now reopening to all foreign tourists with much simpler entry requirements.
Known as the gateway to the Himalayan mountains, Nepal is particularly famous for being an outdoor-sports hotspot. Before the pandemic, and prior to sealing its borders to most of the world, it attracted millions of adventure seekers, especially those interested in rock climbing. After all, it is the home of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak.
Nepali Authorities Have Decided It Is Finally Time To Reopen
As confirmed by the Department of Immigration, which issued its new Travel Advisory on March 10, Nepal is again open to immunized and non-immunized individuals without any further restrictions once they arrive. Now, in order to enjoy unrestricted entry, travelers must either present a vaccine certificate or a negative Covid test issued within 72 hours of flying.
This means both the unvaccinated, and the unvaccinated are again allowed to visit. Additionally, the quarantine mandate has also been abolished, with visitors no longer expected to remain isolated in a hotel so long as they present a vaccination card or a negative PCR test at the border. Previously, all foreigners were required to isolate irrespective of vaccination.
Even though quarantine is no longer a requirement, travelers may still be subject to random Covid testing on arrival. Those who test positive risk not being allowed to cross the border, as outlined in the latest advisory. In better news, travelers are again eligible for on-arrival visas regardless of vaccination status.
As reported by The Himalayan Times, Narayan Prasad Bhattarai, the Director General of the Nepali Department of Immigration, stated that the travel restrictions have been relaxed “in view of the increased vaccination rate“, as well as the fact that the Omicron variant was no longer causing widespread complications.
Entering Nepal After March 10, 2022:
- No pre-departure testing if vaccinated
- PCR test in under 72 hours if unvaccinated
- Pay for the visa fee on arrival if you have not obtained one already prior to departure
- Purchase travel insurance covering health and treatment costs for the entirety of the stay
How To Pay For The Nepali Tourist Visa On Arrival
With Nepal's visa on arrival policy reinstated and travel rules eased, a majority of travelers can again enter the country bureaucracy-free. Americans, Canadians, Brits, Europeans, and several other foreign nationals can purchase their visa once landing in Tribhuvan, Nepal's only international airport, or at designated land borders.
While long waiting lines can be expected during the peak tourist season, the process is usually quite straightforward. Those eligible are required to fill in an Online ‘Tourist Visa' form prior to departure. Once completing the form, a barcode will be generated. Applicants are advised to print it out and present it at the airport upon landing in order to obtain the visa.
When applying online, visitors must do so up to fifteen days before the intended border crossing, as it becomes invalid after this period has elapsed. The visa can also be obtained from Kiosk machines at the airport, though tourists are advised to apply online in advance in order to avoid longer processing times once arriving.
How Much Does The Visa Cost?
The visa fee is stipulated based on the traveler's intended stay. They are allowed to choose between a 15 day, 30 day, or 90 day entry clearance. The prices are as follows:
- 15 days – USD 30,00
- 30 days – USD 50,00
- 90 days – USD 125,00
Different payment modes are accepted at the visa fee collection counter, though the Nepali government advises visitors to carry their dollars in cash “to be on the safe side”. Those who opt for a shorter-stay, and later decide on extending their visit are able to apply for a visa extension at an Immigration Office.
Even though the tourist visa is not free, the so-called Tourism Revival Committee is focused on boosting tourism in the hard-hit country, including offering special discounts to international travelers flying on domestic flights, as well as a 20% discount for stays in hotels participating in the Hotel Association of Nepal.
What Are The Risks Of Travel Disruption When Flying To Nepal Right Now?
Despite being worlds away from the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, Nepal could also see a number of international flights bound for the country being affected in the upcoming weeks, as the international crisis brought about by the Russian invasion of its neighbor aggravates. Due to new airspace bans, airlines serving South Asia could be forced to change their flight routes.
In light of the unpredictable situation, Americans are advised to follow official CDC guidance, as well as assessing personal health risks when traveling, which could be minimized by getting vaccinated. Following the latest developments on flight disruption and cancellations is also recommended, especially amid the ongoing conflict.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.