India okays Aadhaar as a valid travel document for Nepal and Bhutan — but only for certain age groups
- India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the use of Aadhaar — the 12-digit unique identification number — as an identity proof for Indian citizens under 15 and above the age of 65 while travelling to Nepal and Bhutan
- Indian travellers will not be required to have a visa if they have a passport and valid photo identity proof — including Aadhaar.
- For families visiting the two countries, only one adult member needs to carry the relevant travel documents, but, are required to have identity proofs.
Earlier in 2017, the union ministry had reportedly said that Aadhaar card is not an acceptable travel document to visit Nepal or Bhutan. The valid travel documents have included PAN cards, ration cards, driving license or a Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card.
According to the current norms, Indian travellers are not required to have a visa if they have a passport and a valid photo identity proof — issued by the government of India. If not, voter identity card issued by Election Commission of India also works.
And for families visiting the two countries, only one adult member needs to carry the relevant travel documents. But, all the members are required to have identity proofs.
Travelling to Bhutan, Indian nationals need to have either of the two — Indian passport that is valid for at least six months or voter identity card. According to media reports, nearly 8,000 to 10,000 people travel to Bhutan on a daily basis.
In fact, Bhutan shares borders with Indian states of Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, and is home to about 60,000 Indian nationals employed in various industries, including construction and hydroelectric power industry.
While Nepal has been home to over 600,000 Indians so far — including labourers, doctors and IT professionals — records the Ministry of External Affairs.
However, the ministry official noted that the certificate of registration, issued to the Indians by the Embassy of India will not be valid for travel to Nepal. But for one way travel back to India, the emergency certificate by the Indian embassy in Nepal.
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