Can you take an Indian bike or car to Nepal? The simple answer is yes, you can! Read this blogpost to know more about how to go about getting your vehicle into Nepal from India.
If you’re travelling to Nepal from India, one of the most affordable and convenient ways to explore the country is by simply using your own vehicle. This will give you complete freedom of movement and also avoid the massive expense of renting local taxis for inter-city or intra-city use. The big question then is, will it be difficult to get your Indian vehicle into Nepal? Since it’s technically an international border crossing you might think it would be cumbersome, but the good news is that, for Indian vehicles, it isn’t.
The process of getting myself and my bike across the Indo-Nepal border was surprisingly easy and quick. From the time I crossed the border, it took me less than 15 minutes to complete all formalities and get going. That’s actually easier than trying to get through traffic when you reach any Indian city.
There was no registration requirement or any other formality for me as an individual, however, I did need to pay for and obtain what is locally referred to as a “Bansar” for my motorcycle.
If you are travelling by car there may be some additional registration requirements at the time of crossing the Nepal side checkpost, following which you will need to also do the Bansar process for the vehicle.
What is a Bansar?
A “Bansar” is essentially a road tax/customs tax receipt for use of an Indian vehicle in Nepal. It is issued by the Nepal Customs Office at the relevant border town where you cross the border into Nepal.
The customs office is usually located a short distance away from the border gate and you will be able to find it easily by asking anyone after you cross the border gate.
These were the only documents I had to provide to obtain a Bansar for my Royal Enfield motorcycle in June 2019:
- Duly filled up and signed application form;
- Original RC + 1 photocopy (for their records);
- Original Driving Licence + 1 photocopy (for their records); and
- 3 Passport size photos.
I was told that if the vehicle is registered in a different name (i.e. name in RC book is different from the Driving License) you will need to submit some additional documentation, including a signed letter of authorisation from the person who owns the vehicle.
How much does it Cost?
While I did not see any official table of rates, I was told that there is a standard PER DAY rate set for different kinds of vehicles. For my motorcycle, I had to pay a fee of 113 Nepali Rupees per day. The cost depends on the number of days that you take the Bansar for – this number is simply multiplied accordingly. The rate will be different for cars and bigger vehicles.
What is the period of Validity?
As I was saying above, the validity period is directly connected to the number of days that the Bansar is obtained for – which you mention in the details provided in the application form. At the border checkpoints they usually issue permits up to a maximum of 30 days.
Can you extend a Bansar?
Theoretically, yes. However, based on the information I gathered while in Nepal: (i) the Bansar can only be extended in Kathmandu; and (ii) there is no clarity on the number of days of extension that will or will not be granted. Given that the cost of Bansar is not huge, I would recommend getting a longer duration when crossing the border itself so as to avoid the additional hassle of travelling to and from Kathmandu just for an extension.
Some Additional Tips:
Pre-negotiate rates and charges –
At the customs office, they will usually direct you to an agent to procure the Bansar application form – it’s a strange system but that’s just how it seems to work. The agent will review your documents and also fill up the form for you. While I was fortunate to find a person who did not take any commission for this service, some might charge a fee even though this does not require much work at all. I would recommend speaking to the agent and negotiating all costs (cost of Bansar + service charge, if any) prior to handing over any documents to him.
Cross-check Dates – Nepali Calendar
Nepal officially runs as per the Nepali calendar and therefore, the way dates are written on all official documents is different. You will need to ask someone locally to double check the dates written on the Bansar to make sure they tally with corresponding dates as per the regular calendar.
Is an Indian Driving Licence Valid in Nepal?
While I have not seen any official notification that expressly confirms that an Indian license is valid for use in Nepal, I did not have any issues riding through Nepal. Any of the policemen who stopped me to check documents were happy to let me keep going based on the Indian DL. Therefore, while the theoretical answer might be different, in all practicality and Indian Driving License works in Nepal.
Buy Add-on Insurance for Nepal
The insurance that you have for your Indian vehicle is unlikely to include coverage for Nepal. While this is not something that I saw being checked, I would recommend purchasing add-on vehicle insurance coverage for Nepal before your trip, as a matter of caution.
Rental bikes and cars (self-drive) are unlikely to be allowed across the border since they only have permissions for use within India. However, you can always check with the relevant rental agency to know whether their vehicles can be used across the Nepal border.