Known for its stunning scenery and relaxed way of life, Nepal has grown into one of the world’s top adventure tourism destinations in recent decades. Home of some of the tallest mountains in the world, including the famous Mount Everest, as well as a range of beautiful, scenic cities, Nepal is an enchanting and interesting country.
Over the last decade, a variety of expatriates have moved to Nepal in search of a life with more meaning than their home countries can offer. Thanks to the low cost of living, the calm and clean air, and the relaxed lifestyle that Nepal offers, it is now a secondary home to tens of thousands of foreign immigrants and expatriates.
Despite Nepal’s popularity, however, its visa and immigration system can be quite confusing and difficult for those that wish to visit the country. From difficulties in setting up a small business to the troubles of long-term stays on the wrong visas, retirement and expatriate life in Nepal isn’t always a smooth journey.
Does Nepal Offer A Retirement Visa Program For Foreign Expatriates?
Nepal currently does not offer a retirement visa in the same vein as the Philippines or Thailand. Despite this, there are many retirees residing in Nepal using other visa classes, particularly short-term tourism visas and business visas. These visas differ in their difficulty of acquisition and the length of stay that they offer visitors.
Due to the restrictions placed on tourist visa holders, including a cap on the number of days per year that can be spent within Nepalese borders, most foreign retirees in Nepal live in the country using a business visa. The application process for gaining a business visa is quite complicated, but the visa itself is rewarding and useful.
What Other Visas Does Nepal Offer For Foreign Expatriates And Retirees?
Nepal offers two primary classes of visa for foreign nationals planning to visit the country: the standard tourist visa, and the business visa. The majority of visitors to Nepal stay in the country using a tourist visa, which allows for unlimited travel in the country for a period not exceeding sixty days.
Tourist visas can be extended while in country at a number of immigration and visa offices. The standard extension period for any visa is thirty days, which is processed at a cost of $30 USD. A standard sixty-day tourist visa can be extended twice to allow for a total validity period of 120 days in Nepal on a single visa.
While tourist visas may seem like the ideal option for residing in Nepal for the long term, they have some strict limitations that make them less than ideal. Visitors that stay in Nepal for 120 days on their first tourist visa are limited to a maximum of 30 days in the country upon their return, provided they are returning in the same year.
This limitation is the same for visitors that use multiple sixty-day entries to come and go from Nepal in a single calendar year. The total period of validity for both of the tourist visas cannot extend 150 days – longer stays are not classed as tourism, and visitors that try to enter Nepal again using the same passport will be denied.
Nepal’s business visa is relatively easy to acquire for those that have legitimate business interests in the country. Nepal offers business visas to foreign nationals that have already obtained a business license in Nepal. This process can be carried out by a number of foreigner-friendly businesses operating within Nepal.
Business visas are issued for a maximum of five years at a time, with many visas issued for shorter periods of time based on the information provided in the visa application. For expatriates and retirees with real business interests in Nepal, a business visa is not particularly difficult to apply for and successfully receive.
How And Where Can Expatriates And Retirees Apply For Nepalese Visas?
Visas for Nepal are available from all Nepalese embassies and consulates. A full list of the embassies of Nepal can be found at the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The requirements for each individual visa differ and are best confirmed by the embassy itself, as the process can vary from one consulate to another.
As with many other countries in the region, the likelihood of receiving a visa for Nepal from the embassy you apply at depends largely on the consulate itself. The expatriate community in Nepal has noticed that visas applied for in countries far from Nepal are generally granted more readily than those applied for near Nepal.
All visas, whether tourism visas or long-term business visas, require a passport with at least six months of validity remaining, as well as two passport-sized photographs of yourself. To confirm that you have all of the required documentation for your visa, it’s worth calling the embassy ahead of time to check the visa requirements.
While Nepal’s 150-day visitor limit may make it seem like an unwelcome place for foreign expatriates, the country itself is a welcoming, friendly place that’s ideal for expatriates seeking a change of pace. Despite the difficult immigration policy and informal administrative practices, Nepal is a rewarding and enjoyable place to live.