This is our experience/record of crossing the India-Myanmar border on Thursday, 15 December 2016. Our traveling party consisted of seven people and six motorcycles. Our group gathered on the India side a bit past 7:30am and started the India exit process together. We finished at the Myanmar side about 1:00pm. Our tour guide, company operations person, and our government minder met us all on the Myanmar side.
Border Name: Moreh-Tamu
Closest major cities: Moreh, India and Tamu, Myanmar
Costs: $114.33 ($49.27 visa fees, $6.67 photocopies, and $58.39 taxi fees)
Paperwork required at border:
*Passport with Myanmar visa
*India tourist exit card
*India customs declaration form
*Carnets for motorcycles
Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what is original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
Myanmar Visa – procured at the embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal
*Passport with two photocopies
*Application form (two)
*Passport photos (two)
*Myanmar invitation letter (two copies)
*Myanmar travel company certification (two copies)
*Myanmar detailed itinerary (two copies)
*Deposit receipt for tour (two copies)
*Motorcycle title (two copies)
*Motorcycle registration (two copies)
*Bike photos side view and back view (two copies)
*Carnet photocopies (two copies)
*Visa fee $20 per person plus 1,000 Nepalese Rupee to process both passports
On our first visit (on a Friday) to the Myanmar embassy we only brought our passports, passport copies, and passport photos. These items were listed as required on the embassy website. For many of the Myanmar entry points you can get an e-visa online but not for the borders between India and Myanmar. The immigration official showed us a application package from another motorcycle traveler to illustrate all the items we were required to provide. We returned to the embassy on Monday, providing our passports and then two packages with all the items listed above. The Myanmar invitation letter, company certification, and detailed itinerary was provided to us by our tour company Burma Senses via email. We were given a receipt and told to return on Wednesday to pick up our passports. We returned on Wednesday and they were not ready. We returned on Friday and they were not ready. We returned on Tuesday and they were finally ready. The officer kept saying it was very complicated but we think that the problem was is that the person who signs off on overland travel was not available to review our packages. Other travelers did get their passports and visas back in two business days.
Moreh is a small border town and we stayed in the center on main street. Leaving our hotel the immigration is at the police station located on the right hand side of the road (south) just east of the center of town. It is not at the actual border. It is not well-signed. We drove our motorcycles into the police station/immigration compound, parked, and first walked into the police hostel before being directed over to a covered area with a table. This was immigration.
Step 1 – Immigration: At the immigration table we provided our passports and filled out a tourist exit card. The officer spoke good English and asked us if we had our Myanmar paperwork to ensure we wouldn’t be turned around. We were efficiently processed.
Step 2 – Customs: We left our motorcycles at the police station and walked across the street (actually almost kitty-corner) to the customs office. It is not well-signed because they are in the process of moving offices. There we all (six) provided our carnets, passports, and a filled out customs declaration form to the customs officer. He processed all the carnets (stamping us out of India) and sent us on our way.
We drove a short distance to the actual border where we had to show our passports to the army officer and he logged information in a ledger.
Total time to exit was one hour and thirty-five minutes.
As we drove across the border our Myanmar guides were waiting for us. At this point all we had to do was follow their instructions. It is not possible to drive your own vehicle through Myanmar without a guide/tour company. We used Burma Senses and were very impressed with their services and it was good value for money. They provided all our permits, vehicle insurance, arranged hotels including breakfast, tourist activities, and more. There was a van that accompanied us though we were allowed to drive between locations at our own speed when we wanted (didn’t have to ride in a group).
Step 1 – Immigration: We drove across the small bridge separating India from Myanmar, parked before the barrier across the road, and walked into the immigration building on the left. This took about an hour to process all our passports. We just sat at a table and waited. Everything was in order it just took time.
Change money: while we were waiting for our passports our guide took four of us in the van back across the border into India to change our Indian Rupees into Myanmar Kyat. We got a fair exchange rate.
Step 2 – Customs: Myanmar is a carnet country but they do not require you to actually process your carnet at the border. So, our guides told us it wasn’t required and we wouldn’t need to show the carnets when we exited so we all decided to forgo getting the carnets processed.
Step 3: Licenses and Permits: At the border our guides arranged paper number plates showing our vehicle’s permission to be in Myanmar. These were taped onto our bikes. We then drove a short way to have lunch. While we were eating lunch our guide went to one more government office and received our local driver’s license permits. Our guide and government minder kept these.
Step 4 – Insurance: The tour company, as part of our package, provided Insurance.
Total time to enter was four hours including lunch.