Agreement signed between Bhutan and Switzerland on mutual visa exemption
Now with the signing of the mutual visa exemption agreement between Bhutan and Switzerland on 8th October 2014 by the foreign secretary Mr. Yeshey Dorji and H.E Linus Von Castelmur, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bhutan will make easier for holders of diplomatic and official passports for Bhutan and Switerland.
Switzerland is the 5th country with which Bhutan had concluded such an agreement and now Bhutan is the 27th country with which Switzerland has exempted from requirement of visa for the two countries diplomatic and the official.
During the signing of the agreement, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bhutan, H.E. Linus von Castelmur said, the waiver of the visa requirement for officials and diplomats is an expression of trust and solidarity between the two countries and of the desire to further strengthen friendly relations between our two countries.
“It is testament to our mutual trust and goodwill. By signing this agreement, our respective officials may enter the other state freely without visa for up to three months”, he said.
Holders of official and diplomatic passports are permitted to stay for a period up to 90 days without visa. But this agreement does not extend to business travelers and tourist. While, Swiss tourists would continue to require a tourist visa and be subject to the royalty as before.
Last year, a total of 1035 visitors from Switzerland to Bhutan had visited, up from 781 only three years ago.
Meanwhile, Bhutan and Switzerland formally established diplomatic relations in 1985 however, the development cooperation started since the 1960s, firstly through private initiatives, later through Helvetas Swiss Inter cooperation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
While, a privately Bhutanese wishing to travelers to Switzerland has to send their visa applica- tion to the Swiss cooperation programme office in Thimphu not later than six weeks ahead of the expected travel date.
The Swiss ambassador said that, many bilateral partnerships have formed over the years, for example, between the city of Zurich and Bumthang valley development. An active exchange between the judiciary of Bhutan is taking place as part of which Bhutanese students and obtaining legal degrees from Swiss universities for the first time, said the ambassador.