The Department of Immigration (DoI) has launched a new tourist visa application portal to streamline immigration services and boost tourism.

The service portal simplifies the process by offering a drag-and-drop feature for submitting passports and passport-size photos. The application form includes twelve sections, with eight automatically filled in, making the process easier compared to the old system where every detail had to be entered manually.

Home Minister Tshering said that the main improvement in the new system was its efficiency. “Previously, tourists faced lengthy processing times and confusion over the application procedure, which posed significant challenges.”

The portal offers a tracking feature that allows applicants to monitor the status of their visa applications in real-time. Tourists can easily check if their application is pending, failed, or confirmed. These enhancements are aimed at making the visa application process quicker and more straightforward, benefiting both foreign tourists and the Department of Immigration (DoI).

Furthermore, refund processes are built into the system, eliminating the need for clients to visit immigration offices to process refunds of sustainable development fees for cancelled tours.

Director of DoI, Tshering Wangmo, said: “Previously, we had to rely on the IT system for visa applications, but now all the applications can be handled by visa officers.”

Executive director of Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO), Sonam Dorji, said that DoI had become more receptive, engaging 22 operators to test the system and providing feedback for improvement.

He said that unlike before, visa officers now did not have to manually enter the information.