Restricted Area Permit Sikkim
Sikkim being close to the international borders, the state has certain restricted areas that need permits to enter.
For almost all permits you need photocopies of your passport, visa and the ILP – Inner Line Permit. Also, a passport-sized photo of yourself is needed.
SPECIAL PERMIT AREAS IN SIKKIM
High-Altitude Trekking Routes
These permits are usually organised by the trekking agent once a guide is arranged. The other permits are issues in Gangtok, through agents in Yuksom. These permits are usually organised in a day.
Far North Sikkim
To travel beyond Singhik up the Lachung and Lachen valleys in North Sikkim, foreigners need Restricted-Area Permits (RAP). These permits then allow travel up to the Tsopta and Yumthang valleys. However, Indian citizens also need a permit but it is a simple police permit. This permit is required to travel north of Singhik but it can also venture further up the Thangu Valley, Gurudongmar Lake or to Zero Point past Yumthang. The permits can be procured in Gangtok but are only delivered on the morning of departure. Also, the need for a guide is enforced.
For this place, a special permit is required. It is usually organised through your pre-booked homestay. The permit, however, is free the home-stay owners charge significant amounts for copying documents and travel costs to Mangan to make arrangements on your behalf. You can also alternatively arrange your own permit in Mangan but it is best to leave it to your travel agent or home-stay owners.
The lake also needs a permit that can be arranged by your travel agent.
RESTRICTED AREA PERMITS ARE ISSUED BY
Ministry of Home Affairs – New Delhi
All Foreigners Registration Offices
All Indian Mission Abroad
Immigration Offices at Airports; Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and New Delhi
Deputy Director, Siliguri Tourism Department
Assistant Director – Tourism Department, Sikkim House, New Delhi
Assistant Director – Tourism Department, Sikkim Tourism Office Kolkata
Assistant Director – Tourism Department, Melli
Assistant Director – Tourism Department, Rangpo, East Sikkim
Resident Commissioner, New Delhi
Deputy Commissioner, Darjeeling
Deputy Secretary/ Under Secretary, Home Department, Kolkata
Permits to the nationalities of Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Maymmar and Nigeria are not issued. Also, permit without the prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi is not to be issued.
RESTRICTED AREA PERMITS (RAP) FOR VARIOUS DISTRICTS IN SIKKIM
Tsomgo and Baba Mandir permits are issued by Police Check Post for Domestic Tourist
Foreign tourists are allowed till Tsomgo Lake and the permit is issued by Tourism and Civil Aviation at the department and Police check post.
Nathula Pass permits are issued by Tourism Department and Police Check Post for domestic tourists.
Dzongri Trek and Singalila Trek permits are issued by Adventure Cell of Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim
Yumthang Valley, Yumesamdong, Thangu and Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake permits are issued by Police check post for domestic tourists and for foreigners permits are issued by Tourism Department and Police check post. Foreigners should apply through their travel agents.
Green Lake Trekking Permit is issued by the Tourism Department but it can be done after obtaining a valid permit from Ministry of Home Department in New Delhi.
The RAP is a valid permit for trekking anywhere in the South District for any Foreign Tourist.
HOW TO GET RAP’S?
The easiest and most efficient way to get Restricted Area Permits for regular tourists is to go through your registered tour operator or travel agency. A simple form has to be filled up to mediate the process of getting you the permit. The permits are cheap and do not burn a hole in your pockets.
This is a one day process because the permits application is submitted in the morning and the permits are usually issued in the afternoon.
But this one day process can be avoided if you pre-send your documents to your travel agent and they can get the permit ready before your arrival. This can be a useful technique for you when you are time restricted and do not want to spend a full day in formalities instead of sightseeing.
PROTECTED AREA PERMITS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS AND CHILDREN
It is necessary to carry the child’s birth certificate if you are travelling with an infant. This is because the permit-issuing authorities usually check the certificate to determine the age.
Permits for children below the age of 5 years are not issues and hence the age proof is important. This is because at the high altitude regions of Sikkim, oxygen levels are less and it is not adequate to travel for infants and senior citizens.
With all this information, we are sure you will get a better idea of how to travel to Sikkim and to make arrangements for permits beforehand. All you have to do is inform the travel agent and just relax.