Trekking permit in Nepal
If you’re planning to visit Nepal, there’s a huge chance that you’ll spend a lot of time trekking after you’re done temple-hopping and exploring the exotic and elusive wildlife. And while you’re getting supplies in your trekking packing list in preparation for the unforgiving mountain terrain, having everything ready before setting out is a no-brainer.
To trek any region in Nepal’s revered mountainous range, you will need trekking permits which are issued by the government of Nepal through authorized bodies affiliated to the government. Trekking permits in Nepal differ according to trekking location you want to visit. Some of the trekking regions in Nepal are under controlled areas and forbid free individual trekking (FIT)so, make arrangements and plan your itinerary beforehand.
The Nepal Trekking permit fees ensure maintenance costs are met for Nepal trekking areas and help to keep some of the worlds most exciting travel destinations open. Documentation is a huge part of the process. A TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management Systems) card is a basic trekking permit required for every trek in Nepal. However, you’ll also need region-specific trekking permits which are usually cost-based. Some of the ones you should get are the ACAP permit and the Everest Base Camp Trek permit.
Trekking permits required in Nepal
National Park Permit/Conservation Area Project Permit
Most of the tourist destinations in Nepal are either classified as a national park or a conservation area. Having either of these permits with you throughout the trip will make it hassle-free when you are stopped at the checkpoints.
Free individual trekkers (FITs) are also allowed to trek in national park or conservation area freely. The forms and permits are available at the Nepal Tourism board offices located in Kathmandu and in Pokhara. Some of the regions that require this permit are the Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Manaslu, Mustang, Rolwaling treks.
The national park permit is NPR 3390 while the Conservation Area Permit is NPR 3000 per trekker.
Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS)
This trekking permit is implemented by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN). TIMS was established to ensure the safety and security of the trekkers and to curb illegal trekking. It is mandatory on all trekking regions of Nepal save for controlled areas which require a separate special permit.
The blue TIMS cards are available to group trekkers for Rs 1000 per person while Free Individual (FITs)Trekkers are expected to pay Rs 2000 for their green TIMS cards. Group trekkers from SAARC countries have to pay Rs 300 while Free Individual Trekkers from SAARC pay Rs 600.
Although most of the trekking regions in Nepal will require a TIMS permit, the permit is only available within the area indicated in the permit. Any regions not indicated in the permit are beyond access unless a separate TIMS card is acquired.
Special permits for controlled/restricted area
These are areas which are highly monitored and regulated by the Nepal government due to their proximity to international borders. These areas have national security significance and keeping them monitored and presence of civilians controlled is crucial for Nepal.
To trek here, you will need a special permit from the Nepal department of Immigration, specific for the region you plan to visit. Some of these areas include Mustang, Dolpo, Kanchenjunga and Manaslu. During application, you will need 2 or more participants together with a Licensed trekking guide certified by the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN). Free individual trekkers are forbidden to trek here.
Getting your TIMS card, ACAP permit, and trekking permits in Kathmandu
The Nepal tourism Board office in Kathmandu is the go-to place to apply for TIMS card and ACAP permit. Located on Pradarshani Marg, a 15-minute stroll from the district of Thamel, the tourism board office is open 10am to 17pm daily. Inside the Nepal Tourism Board building, the TIMS and permits office is to your left.
The office also receives applications for other area specific permits like the Upper Mustang Trek or Annapurna Sanctuary permits.
TIMS card prerequisites and requirements;
- Trekking entry and exit dates (can be an estimate)
- Entry and exit points for your trek
- Route/itinerary for your trek
- Emergency contact info for someone in Nepal (can use a tour agency as a contact)
- Emergency contact info for someone in your home country
- Your insurance policy number, their contact details, and what your policy covers
You will also need to have the following documents with you;
- A copy of your passport
- 2 passport-sized photos
- Trekking permits
The information required is related to the requirements for the TIMS card. Other required information is the;
- Name of the trek can either be Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Jomsom Trek, Jomsom Muktinath Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Sikles Eco Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Dhampus Trek etc.
- The name and address of the trekking company where necessary
- The name and contact info of your guide (if you have one) and if they are certified guides,
More information on permit requirements is available on the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) website.
How to apply for TIMS card and trekking permits in Kathmandu
Within the Nepal Tourism Board office, the TIMS card will cost 2000Nrs per applicant if you’ll be going on an independent trek or 1000Nrs per applicant if it’s a group trek. If you want the ACAP permit, an independent application costs 2000Nrs. The permits take roughly 5 minutes to be ready.
They only accept local currency-Nepali rupees, and there’s an ATM outside the door if you need it.
If you’re in Pokhara, trekking permits and TIMS can be obtained from the Immigration Office in Pokhara. This is the same place to extend your visa from. Here you can obtain a TIMS card and the trekking permit. Requirements are;
- A passport
- insurance copies
- contact person in Nepal (usually hotel details)
- 4 photos-taken at the office
The TIMS card costs NRP2000/$ 167 per person and is only paid in Nepalese Rupee. The Annapurna Sanctuary permit costs more at NRP 3000/US$26 pp but not having it during the checkpoints will cost you a lot more.