NepalOfficial Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Must have six months’ remaining validity or more at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry visa
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Telephone: +(977)(1) 423-4500
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(977)(1) 400-7266 and
Fax: +(977)(1) 400-7281
See the Department of State Fact Sheet on Nepal for information on U.S.-Nepal relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Requirements for Entry:
- Passport must have six months’ remaining validity or more at time of entry
Tourist Visas: Either apply for a visa at a Nepalese embassy or consulate before traveling, or purchase a tourist visa upon arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu) or at the following land border points of entry:
- Kakarvitta, Jhapa District (Eastern Nepal)
- Birgunj, Parsa District (Central Nepal)
- Kodari, Sindhupalchowk District (Northern Border– for group tourists only)
- Belahia, Bhairahawa (Rupandehi District, Western Nepal)
- Jamunaha, Nepalgunj (Banke District, Mid-Western Nepal)
- Mohana, Dhangadhi (Kailali District, Far Western Nepal)
- Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur District, Far Western Nepal)
You may request:
- 15-day multiple-entry tourist visa (25 USD)
- 1-month multiple-entry tourist visa (40 USD)
- 3-month multiple-entry tourist visa (100 USD)
Tourists may stay no more than 150 days in any given calendar year.
See the Embassy of Nepal’s website for further visa information.
Extending Your Visa: The Department of Immigration (DOI) in the Kalikasthan neighborhood of Kathmandu, and the Immigration Office in Pokhara are the only two offices that can extend visas.
The Immigration Office at Tribhuvan International Airport is not authorized to extend visas. Some U.S. citizens who have tried to extend their visa at the airport have been sent to the Immigration Office in Kathmandu to pay the extension fee and, as a result, have missed their flights.
Be sure to leave Nepal before your visa expires; otherwise, you face heavy fines and possible arrest.
If you obtain a new U.S. passport from our Embassy in Kathmandu, request the Department of Immigration to transfer your Nepali visa into the new passport. See the Government of Nepal’s Department of Immigration website for further immigration information.
Surrogate Births: Surrogacy is prohibited in Nepal. Prospective parents should not begin surrogacy procedures where any part of the process—from in vitro fertilization (IVF) to birth of the child—takes place in Nepal. This includes plans that rely on IVF in a third country with birth in Nepal.
Newborn non-Nepali infants will not be able to depart Nepal without visa documentation after birth.
U.S. Military Personnel and D.O.D. Contractors: Active duty U.S. military personnel and Department of Defense contractors must have a country clearance request from their parent unit forwarded to the Defense Attaché’s Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu for both official and unofficial travel to Nepal.
Other Visa Categories: See the website of the Nepal Department of Immigration for visa details and the online application for various types of visas, including student and work visas. Your purpose of travel will dictate what category of visa you will need to obtain.
Travel across the Nepal-China border: You may encounter immigration difficulties with Chinese authorities when traveling across the Nepal-China border on land in either direction. Chinese authorities often require U.S. citizens and other foreign tourists to organize "group" tours through established travel agencies as a prerequisite for obtaining visas and entry permits into Tibet.
The Chinese authorities have occasionally closed the border, especially around the anniversary of significant events in Tibet. For current information on border crossing status, check with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nepal. Please read the Department of State’s travel information for China and check for current regulations on entry into Tibet.
HIV Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents of Nepal.
Safety and Security
All U.S. citizens who travel to Nepal should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (“STEP”) to register their planned itinerary with the U.S. Embassy, and to monitor the security situation before traveling.
U.S. government employees must seek approval before traveling outside of Kathmandu Valley.
- Bandhs (general strikes) are a common form of political agitation and force schools and businesses to close as well as stop traffic.
- They are unpredictable, and may include violent incidents and can occur with little any notice.
- Individuals not complying with the bandhs may be harassed by organizers/supporters.
- Avoid all unnecessary travel where bandhs are occurring.
- If you plan air travel to or from Nepal during a scheduled bandh, please note transportation may be affected. Usually bandh organziers allow specially marked buses operated by the Nepal Tourism Board to travel between the airport and major tourist hotels.
- If you must travel during a bandh, you can check with the U.S. Embassy, with local police by dialing “100,” or with traffic control by dialing “103.” The police can advise which routes and forms of transportations are most appropriate.
- Consult the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu website for security-related messages for U.S. citizens, as well as the Nepal Ministry of Tourism for the latest security information.
IEDs: In the past, there have been periodic small-scale improvised explosive device (IED) incidents in various parts of the country, particularly during periods of heightened political tension. These reported incidents were not directed toward westerners or western interests.
Crime: Although still relatively low, crime in Kathmandu and throughout the country has risen in some categories.
Financial Crimes and Theft:
- Criminals use sophisticated scams, such as ATM skimming, particularly in Kathmandu.
- You should consider only exchanging money only at banks and hotels.
- Valuables, including passports and cash should be stored in the hotel safety deposit box and not carried. The Nepal Tourist Police recommend that you carry a copy of your passport when going out.
- Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching may occur at major tourist sites, including the Thamel district of Kathmandu.
- Avoid walking alone after dark, carrying large sums of cash and wearing expensive jewelry.
- There are reports of sexual assaults involving foreigers, including in the popular tourist districts of Thamel and Bouddha in Kathmandu.
- Foreigners have occasionally had sedative drugs placed in their food or drink by individuals who seek to rob or otherwise take advantage of them.
- Nepali police forces may have limited resources to deter and investigate crimes. Their services are not up to Western standards. Many cases reported to the police remain unresolved.
Political-Related Violence: Violent political activity remains higher in the Terai, the southern plains region of Nepal bordering India, than the rest of the country. Demonstrations have on occasion turned violent, although these activities generally are not directed at U.S. citizens..
Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. embassy. We can:
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
- support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Nepal is “100,” which is manned 24/7 by the local police. While many Nepali police officials understand and speak English, when calling the emergency number, you should speak slowly and enunciate so that your message gets across to the official clearly and without misunderstanding. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Driving Under the Influence: Driving in Nepal after consuming any amount of alcohol could land you in jail.
Firearms and Ammunition: You may not bring any kind of firearm into Nepal under Nepali law. Violators who bring in firearms or ammunition, even if in the form of jewelry, may be prosecuted.
Arrests and Consequences: If you break local laws in Nepal, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. If you are arrested in Nepal, during the investigation phase, the authorities may keep you in detention for weeks or even longer if a court so orders. Punishment for violations of criminal laws in Nepal range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the crime.
Trekking – TIMS Card: The Government of Nepal has authorized the Trekking Agency Association of Nepal (TAAN) and the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) to implement a system for foreign hikers called the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS). Foreign visitors on hiking trips in Nepal, including those not with organized hiking groups, are required to have a valid TIMS card issued by TAAN, its member agencies, or NTB. In case of an emergency, this system helps authorities ascertain the whereabouts of trekkers. TIMS cards cost the Nepali rupees equivalent of 20 USD (if applying individually) or the Nepali rupees equivalent of 10 USD (if applying in a group) through authorized trekking companies, the TAAN office in Kathmandu or Pokhara, and the NTB office. Local agencies that organize treks often will facilitate obtaining your TIMS card.
Solo Trekking: The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu strongly recommends that U.S. citizens not hike alone, nor become separated from larger traveling parties while on a trail. Solo trekking can be dangerous, and the lack of available immediate assistance has contributed to injuries and death. Lone trekkers are likely more vulnerable to criminals. Nepali authorities are considering a ban on solo or independent trekking because of safety concerns. If a ban is implemented, all trekkers would be required to use approved guides and/or porters hired through authorized trekking agencies. Consideration of this policy comes in response to incidents over recent years in which a number of foreign visitors (including U.S. citizens) have been attacked or seriously injured while trekking alone on popular trails. Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, have also gone missing while trekking alone. Extensive search efforts are not always successful in tracing the trekkers’ whereabouts.
The safest option for trekkers is to join an organized group and/or use a reputable trekking company that provides an experienced guide and porters who communicate in both Nepali and English.
U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy in Kathmandu for the latest security information and to register their itinerary before undertaking treks outside the Kathmandu Valley. Trekkers are also advised to leave their itinerary with family or friends in the United States and to check in at police checkpoints where trekking permits are logged.
Trekking: Natural Disaster Risks: Damage to telephone services in trekking areas caused by floods and landslides during the monsoon season complicates efforts to locate U.S. citizens and make arrangements for medical evacuations. Trekking in Nepal involves walking over rugged, steep terrain where one is exposed to the elements, often at high altitudes. Many popular trekking routes in Nepal cross passes as high as 18,000 feet.
Trekkers should also be alert to the possibility of avalanches, landslides, and falling rocks, even when trails are clear. These risks existed prior to the April 25, 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks, which have further destabilized some steep, mountainous areas, causing severe landslides in some affected areas. Monsoon rains, which generally begin in June and largely end in September, may in any year destabilize steep slopes and mountainsides. Although trekking permits are being issued, not all trekking areas are safe for travel. We encourage travelers to consult carefully with their travel and trekking agencies for current, location-specific information and to heed warnings of potential danger. These conditions affect the possibility of emergency assistance if needed. We recommend providing family or friends with a detailed itinerary prior to trekking. Do not trek alone.
Trekking: Altitude Risks: The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu strongly recommends that U.S. citizens exercise caution when trekking at high altitudes. Acclimatization is better achieved by walking slowly, rather than hurrying to cover the distance at high altitudes. Without acclimatization, any trekker who flies directly from a low elevation to a high elevation runs the risk of suffering from debilitating altitude sickness. Only experienced mountain climbers should tackle the Himalayas. Trekkers of all ages, experience, and fitness levels can experience acute mountain sickness (AMS), which can be deadly.
Trekking: Special Requirements: Trekking in certain remote areas of Nepal and in national parks may require additional permits or fees. Travelers may consult with an experienced tour agency, or consult the website of the Nepali Department of Immigration for more information.
Trekking: Lodging and Travel: During peak trekking seasons (generally autumn and spring), hotel rooms may become scarce. U.S. citizens are advised to make advance booking for hotel rooms and be aware of possible flight/airport delays. Domestic air flight cancellations and delays occur frequently because of bad weather, including to and from Lukla (gateway to the Everest Base Camp trek) and Jumla (gateway to treks to the Mustang region). Travelers should leave ample time to catch their outbound international flights if they plan to connect from domestic flights. U.S. citizens should be aware that many hotels in Nepal do not meet international fire or earthquake safety standards.
Before leaving Kathmandu, trekkers can check with the Himalayan Rescue Association (phone: +977-1-444-0292/444-0293) or the U.S. Embassy for reliable information about trail conditions and potential hazards of traveling in the Himalayas.
Other Outdoor Activities: Several tourists have drowned while swimming in Phewa Lake and adjoining lakes in Pokhara because of flash floods triggered by monsoon rains or after becoming entangled in submerged tree branches or roots. Incidents of boats capsizing on the choppy water of the lakes have also occurred. Visitors should wear life jackets. Paragliding and ultralight aircraft tourism have become popular in Pokhara, and many new companies offer such services in Pokhara. U.S. citizens should weigh the risks involved with paragliding and ultralight aircraft travel. There are also a number of deep and dangerous ravines not clearly visible to pedestrians in Pokhara city, mainly in the outlying areas. Some local residents and foreigners have fallen into these ravines and sustained serious injuries or died.
Volunteering: A number of Nepal-based organizations maintain websites offering volunteer opportunities. The Embassy has received reports that many – if not most – such opportunities, especially those involving volunteering at orphanages or “children’s homes,” are not charities. Instead, they are profit-making enterprises set up to attract donations from abroad and financial support from volunteers. Many of the children are not orphans, and volunteering at such an organization indirectly contributes to child exploitation. An organization’s bona fides can be confirmed by contacting the Nepali Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB), attention Namuna Bhusal (tel. +977-9851139474 or e-mail email@example.com).
Currency: Nepal has a controlled or fixed currency exchange rate under which the Nepalese Rupee is pegged to the Indian Rupee. The Government of Nepal requires travelers to declare either the import or export of currency that exceeds 5,000 USD in value by filling out a customs declaration form. Travelers may also face difficulties if traveling with a large quantity of valuables, such as gold and jewelry. Carrying more than 50 grams of gold or 500 grams of silver may result in arrest at a port of entry. The Embassy is not aware of any banks or money exchange offices in Nepal that accept U.S.-issued travelers checks. Accordingly, travelers should consider alternative methods of accessing local currency (e.g., exchanging cash U.S. dollars for Nepali rupees at a bank or money exchange office, or withdrawing rupees from an ATM). The Nepalese Department of Customs has reported an increased number of foreigners arrested for currency violations – generally for bringing in cash in excess of 5,000 USD without making a formal declaration. Travelers should ensure that they keep a copy of the declaration form after customs officials have put the official endorsement and appropriate stamps on the form to prevent any problems upon departure.
Please note that this requirement is subject to change and travelers should contact the Embassy of Nepal in Washington, D.C. to obtain the latest information. Consequences for violating this requirement generally include seizure of all cash, gold, or jewelry carried, as well as fines and imprisonment. It is illegal to possess 500 or 1,000 Indian Rupee notes in Nepal. Accordingly, travelers coming to Nepal from India who hope to change Indian currency into Nepali Rupees are advised to bring 100 Indian Rupee notes or lower denominations only.
Dual Nationality: Nepal does not recognize dual nationality. Accordingly, when a Nepali citizen naturalizes as a U.S. citizen, he/she loses his/her Nepali citizenship. Some travelers who have tried to maintain both U.S. and Nepali passports have faced difficulties entering or exiting Nepal. U.S. citizens of Nepali descent may be eligible for a special visa called a “Non-Resident Nepali” or “NRN” Identity Card. The NRN Identity Card allows a holder to open a local bank account, invest, and own certain types of property, subject to certain restrictions. For more information, contact the Nepali Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Embassy of Nepal in the United States.
Customs: Nepal customs regulations are complex. Customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning importation (even temporary importation) into Nepal and exportation from Nepal of items such as:
- valuable metals
- articles of archaeological and religious importance
- wildlife and related articles
- arms and ammunition
- communications equipment.
Items purported to be for donation to schools, hospitals, and other social organizations have sometimes been confiscated, or cleared only after payment of a significant fine for failure to obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Finance. Those wishing to donate items to a charity or any organization in Nepal must obtain prior approval for waiver of the custom fees from the Ministry of Finance by sending a formal request letter (not via email) to the following address:
Ministry of Finance
The request should include detailed information about the items to be imported, as well as the organizations receiving the donations. The Revenue Secretary will review the request and refer it to the Ministerial level for final decision and approval. Note that all requests are processed on a case-by-case basis. It is highly recommended that intended recipient(s) coordinate with the Ministry to get requests processed. Please see our Customs Information.
Natural Disasters: Nepal lies on an active fault zone and is still considered at high-risk for a major earthquake, as demonstrated by the major April 25, 2015 earthquake and significant aftershocks that caused extensive damage in the Kathmandu Valley and many districts of Nepal. Lack of adequate emergency response vehicles, equipment, and medical facilities, combined with building codes that are not strictly enforced, multiply the extent of possible catastrophic damage from a major earthquake, especially in the Kathmandu Valley. Nepal is also prone to flooding and landslides. The Government of Nepal’s ability to respond in the event of a natural disaster may be limited. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and an Embassy Emergency Preparedness Guide is also available online.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Rights: Same-sex sexual activity is not criminalized, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) persons in Nepal actively and openly advocate for their rights. Nepal, however, remains a conservative and traditional society. Discrimination exists and there have been reports of non-violent harassment of LGBTI persons. Accordingly, LGBTI travelers may wish to be discreet and avoid public displays of affection. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Nepal, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation difficult. Nepali law prohibits discrimination against persons who have physical and mental disabilities, including discrimination in employment, education, access to health care, and in the provision of other state services. The law mandates access to buildings, transportation, employment, education, and other state services, but these provisions generally are not enforced. Nepal’s poor infrastructure makes it impracticable in many cases for a mobility-impaired traveler to move around the country, including within the Kathmandu Valley. The government is largely ineffective in implementing or enforcing laws regarding persons with disabilities. Except for a few clinics and hospitals, Nepal mostly lacks accessible and appropriate accommodation for individuals with disabilities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
General: Medical care in Nepal is limited and generally not up to Western standards. Some routine medical complaints can be addressed by clinics in Kathmandu and basic emergency surgeries can be performed in the capital. Serious illnesses, however, often require evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility in a neighboring country. Serious illnesses and injuries suffered while hiking in remote areas may require evacuation by helicopter to Kathmandu. Those trekking in remote areas of Nepal should factor the high cost of a potential helicopter rescue into their financial considerations. It is a good idea for travelers to purchase medical evacuation insurance as medical evacuations can cost tens of thousands of dollars and payment will be expected in cash before the medevac can take place, if there is no insurance coverage. There is minimal mental health care available in Nepal. U.S. citizens with mental health problems are generally stabilized and transported to the United States or to another regional center for care. The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu maintains a list of local medical facilities and practitioners.
Medical facilities are often overwhelmed because of insufficient resources. Emergency medical services, especially in public hospitals, are of poor quality compared to that available in the United States. Food hygiene and sanitary food handling practices are uncommon in Nepal and precautions should be taken to prevent water and food-borne illnesses.
Malaria, and intestinal tract diseases, including cholera, are present in the Terai region.
Stray Dogs: Stray dogs are common on the streets of Kathmandu. Visitors should be aware that stray dogs and monkeys may be infected with rabies. Any animal bites should be thoroughly cleaned and immediately brought to a medical practitioner’s attention.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (see our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions significantly worse than those found in the United States. The information below is provided for general reference and may not apply in every situation.
Nighttime Travel: You should avoid nighttime road travel should outside the Kathmandu Valley and minimize nighttime travel within Kathmandu because of insufficient street lighting and hazardous road conditions.
In Nepal, vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road. Travel via road in areas outside the Kathmandu Valley can be dangerous. In general, roads in Nepal are in poor condition and lack basic safety features, resulting in significant numbers of accidents and fatalities.
Motorcycle Travel: Deaths from motorcycle accidents have risen dramatically in recent years, and U.S. citizens should consider avoiding riding motorcycles in Nepal, particularly on highways.
Buses: It is dangerous to travel on the roofs of buses as live electrical and other communications wires hang low in many places. Traffic police also impose fines and detain individuals for riding on the roofs of buses. Long-distance buses often drive recklessly, and bus accidents involving multiple fatalities are not uncommon.
Taxis: Visitors throughout Nepal, including in Kathmandu, are encouraged to use metered taxis and avoid public buses and microbuses. Many taxi drivers will refuse to use the meter, insisting on negotiating the price instead. In addition, there have been instances of taxi drivers tampering with the meters in an attempt to charge higher than normal fares. If you believe that you are being overcharged, you may wish to file a complaint with the traffic police on the street or at the nearest local police station.
Traffic: In the Kathmandu Valley, traffic jams are common on major streets. Traffic is poorly regulated, and the volume of vehicles on the roads is increasing faster than improvements in infrastructure. Many drivers are neither properly licensed nor trained, vehicles are poorly maintained, and public vehicles are often overloaded.
Pedestrian Travel: Sidewalks are nonexistent in many areas, and drivers generally do not yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Pedestrians account for a considerable portion of traffic fatalities in Nepal.
Aviation Safety and Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Nepal, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Domestic air safety continues to be of concern. In recent years, there have been a number of fatal plane crashes on domestic routes in Nepal, including some in which U.S. citizens have been killed. The incidence of such crashes is not concentrated with one carrier, but rather has occurred among various domestic carriers. As a result of Nepal’s poor aviation safety record, in December 2013 the European Union (EU) banned all Nepali airlines from flying into or within EU countries. Although Nepali domestic flights are insured, payments to the families of victims of a plane crash are minimal compared to what would normally be paid in the United States. Domestic air travelers may want to consider flight insurance that will cover domestic flights in Nepal before leaving home.