The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has added Aadhaar card to the list of valid travel documents for Indians under 15 and over 65 travelling to Nepal and Bhutan. The good news is that, an Aadhaar card will be a valid identity proof to enter Nepal and Bhutan without a visa for Indians under 15 and over 65. However, Indians those aged over 15 and under 65 cannot use Aadhaar cards to visit the two neighboring countries.

It may be mentioned that Indian citizens can travel to Nepal and Bhutan without a visa, but they require to have valid passports, photo identity cards issued by the Government of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission. Earlier, persons over the age of 65 and under 15 could show their PAN card, driving license, Central Government Health Service card or ration card, but not their Aadhaar card, to prove their identity and visit the two countries. 

It may mention that Indian citizens can travel to Nepal and Bhutan without a visa, but they require to have valid passports, photo identity cards issued by the Government of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission. Earlier, persons over the age of 65 and under 15 could show their PAN card, driving license, Central Government Health Service card or ration card, but not their Aadhaar card, to prove their identity and visit the two countries. 

The official said that 15 to 18-year old Indian citizens will be allowed to travel between India and Nepal on the basis of identity certificate issued by their school principal. Also, Indian citizens traveling to Bhutan must possess an electoral passport issued by either the Indian passport or the Election Commission of India, with minimum validity of six months. Bhutan, which shares the border with Indian states like Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal, has about 60,000 Indian nationals, mostly working in hydro and construction industries. Apart from this, daily workforce ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 daily visits to border towns in Bhutan. According to the Ministry of External Affairs figures, nearly six lakh Indians live in Nepal. Nepal shares more than 1,850 kilometers of border with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

In case of a family (like husband, wife, minor children and parents) travelling together, all persons do not require to carry relevant documents (such as a passport or an election ID) if one of the adult members has valid travel papers. However, the other family members must have some proof of their identity with a photograph and their relationship as a family, such as a CGHS card, ration card, a driving licence or an ID card issued by school/college, the official explained.

Understanding Aadhaar

The Central government issues an Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number to Indian citizens. It is issued and managed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Furthermore, Aadhaar card is essentially an identification document issued by the UIDAI after it records and verifies every resident Indian citizen’s details including biometric and demographic data. Aadhaar is not meant to replace existing identification documents like PAN, passport, driving license etc. However, it can be used as a single identification document. An Aadhar Card is an essential document when it comes to KYC, verification, and identification purposes.

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Visa Free Countries for Indians to travel

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