Agree­ment signed be­tween Bhutan and Switzer­land on mu­tual visa ex­emp­tion

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor

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.

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