This is our experience/record of crossing the Nepal-India border on Saturday, 3 December 2016. Our traveling party consisted of two people and two motorcycles. We arrived at 10:45am and were finished at 12:55. It was a straightforward crossing and officers on both sides spoke English. The added time for crossing was due to changing money.
Border Name: Kakarbhitta
Closest major cities: Kakarbhitta, Nepal to Panitanki, India
Costs: $208.90 ($204 for visas and $4.90 for photocopies/printing)
Paperwork required at border:
*Passport plus one photocopy
*Nepal tourist exit card
*India tourist entry card
*Photocopy of India visa
*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.
India Visa – procured at the embassy in Istanbul, Turkey
*Passport plus two photocopies
*Bank statements for three months
*India online visa application including appointment time
*Visa fee $102 per person for six-month, multiple-entry visa (paid in US$ at embassy)
*International Driver License permit plus one photocopy
*Motorcycle title plus one photocopy
*Statement of our intended itinerary and our promise to get any required permits for areas we planned to visit
*Marriage certificate photocopy
*Hotel reservations for entire stay
We applied for our visas at the India embassy in Istanbul, Turkey. At our appointed time we arrived with the required documents listed on the application form (passport plus copy, bank statements, passport photo, and application form). We didn’t have the required item of “airline ticket”. On review of our documents we were told we needed additional documentation since we were traveling with our own vehicles. We returned the next day with motorcycle titles, International Driver’s Permits, and statement of our intineray. Again the documents were reviewed and we were interviewed. They agreed to start our visa process so we paid our fee but we were required to return the next morning with additional documents. We returned the next day with our marriage certificate copies (both bikes are in both names and officials have found this confusing) and hotel reservations for our entire stay. Three days later we picked up our passports with six month, multiple-entry visas. We then cancelled all the hotel reservations (all done through Booking.com).
As you drive towards the bridge that marks the border between Nepal and India you will see a fenced off area with buildings on your left. Drive in and park in the designated spaces. There are two main buildings and as you face them immigration is on your right (east) and customs is on your left (west), both are well-signed.
Step 1 – Immigration: We walked up to the immigration window, filled out a tourist exit card, provided our passports, and were stamped out of Nepal.
Step 2 – Customs: We provided our carnets and passports to the customs officer. He filled out the carnet document, signed it, walked over to another officer with us to get an additional signature, and gave us back our carnets.
Total time to exit was fifteen minutes.
Drive across bridge and you will see customs on your right (south side of road).
Step 1 – Customs: We drove and parked in front of the customs building. We did note that most vehicles were parking on the other side of the road. There is road construction so it was a little difficult to see the building. We walked into the building and provided our carnets and passports. The officer provided us with a customs declaration form to fill out. The officer filled out our carnets, copied all information into a ledger, stapled our declaration forms to it and provided our carnets back to us.
Change money. We asked the customs officer if there was a place to change money and he directed us back across the bridge (we still had Nepali money) so Mike walked back over to the Nepal side to change our remaining Nepali money into India Rupee. This took about 45 minutes.
Step 2 – Immigration: We drove to the immigration building, which is about another 50 meters down (east) the road from customs. From the customs building you drive back onto the main road heading away from the bridge (east) and then turn right (south) down a long driveway to immigration. You need your passport, a photocopy of your passport, a photocopy of your India visa, and a filled out tourist entry card. All of these are provided to the immigration officer who writes it all in a book before stamping you in. If you need any copies you can walk back down the driveway and there are little kiosks to get copies. We were asked where we were staying our first night and this information was also written in the ledger.
Step 3 – Insurance: We did not purchase insurance for India and are unclear whether it was required.
Total time to enter was one hour ten minutes not including time to change money.