How to apply for a Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India

This article about how to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati was written in April 2017, and applies only to foreign travelers, not Indians. Rules pertaining permits tend to fluctuate, so please let us know if something changes, so we can let fellow travelers know.


If you’re a foreigner planning to visit Arunachal Pradesh, one of India’s least visited states, you need a Protected Area Permit (PAP).

Because Arunachal Pradesh shares a disputed border with China, which doesn’t officially recognize India’s sovereignty over the area, the Indian government requires all who wish to travel to this area to get a permit before heading out. Foreigners need to apply for a Protected Area Permit (PAP), while Indian travelers need to apply for an Inner Line Permit (ILP).

You can get the permit in several cities in India. This article explains how to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam.

Where to apply for a Protected Area Permit in Guwahati

There are several ways of getting a PAP. Most (outdated) guidebooks will send you to a handful of travel agencies in Guwahati. But it’s easier, and cheaper, to go straight to the source: the Deputy Resident Commissioner Office of Arunachal Pradesh.

Looking for more info on travel in Arunachal Pradesh? Don’t miss our Arunachal Pradesh travel guide!

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - The exterior of the Deputy Commissioner's Office in Guwahati, Assam - Lost With Purpose

The outside of the Deputy Resident Commissioner’s office

How to get to the Deputy Resident Commissioner Office in Guwahati

The office is located on a side street of G.S. Road, near the Indian Oil Petrol Pump, about 25-30 minutes from the train station by bus. The office is open Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 17:00. Permits can be applied for until 14:00.

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - A Guwahati city bus down G.S. Road - Lost With Purpose

A bus ticket costs 10 Rs. per person. Some buses might turn right about 500 meters before the office. If your bus is turning right off G.S. Road, get off and walk the remaining distance. The office is located on Google Maps, so save the location and/or download the offline map for Guwahati and use that.



G.S. Road runs from the train station straight through Guwahati. You can take any city bus going on G.S. Road moving away from the train station. Depending on the traffic, it takes between 25 and 45 minutes to reach the office. Ask the bus hawkers about Deputy Resident Commissioner AP or Manasha Mandir, and they’ll probably know when you need to get off.

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - HSBC bank close to the road where the office is found - Lost With Purpose

Look for the under construction HDFC bank. The turn off to the road to the Commissioner’s office is across from it.

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - The road to the office - Lost With Purpose

The road leading to the Deputy Resident Commissioner’s office

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - Red domed Manasha Mandir in Guwahati, India - Lost With Purpose

Look for Manasha Mandir as a sign that you’re on the right road



How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - The application form - Lost With Purpose

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati

Applying for a PAP is relatively straightforward. You’ll need:

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your Indian visa and entry stamp
  • A filled-in application form (you’ll get it in the office)
  • 3,450 Rs in cash, paid up front

The form asks standard questions: name, father’s name, date of birth, passport number, visa number, etc. It’s important to know your intended date of travel, and to which places you wish to go. The processing time for a PAP takes two to five working days, so make sure you leave some wiggle room when you fill in your intended day of departure. PAPs are valid for a maximum of 30 days, starting on the entry date you provide on the form. The PAP costs $50 per person, payable in Indian rupees.

If you’re out of copies of your passport and/or visa, there is a Xerox place a few doors down from the office. It makes copies for 3 Rs. per copy. There is also a State Bank ATM (no ATM fees!) on the corner of G.S. Road in case you need cash.

How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - A nearby copy shop for Xerox copies - Lost With Purpose

We had to wait for three business days to receive ours, as there were other applications to be processed before ours. Some people have reported picking up their permit at the end of the next day—we think the officer can be pushed to a quick turnaround time. Depending on how long the processing of your PAP will take, you can wait in Guwahati for it to be done, or you can ask the officer to email the permit to you. Discuss this with the officer when you’re applying.

Can you apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit as a solo traveler?

It’s important to know that PAPs are usually only granted to groups, meaning two people or more.

However, the officer told us it is possible to apply as a solo traveler in Guwahati, in which case you can only travel to Tawang, Bomdila, and the Ziro valley.

If you’re a solo traveler and wish to travel to other places, try to find fellow travelers beforehand so you can join their group, even if it’s just for the application process. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forums are a good place to look.

Once you have the permit, you don’t have to travel with the group you applied with. If you can’t find anyone, you have to pay a reputable travel agency to act as a second person to form a group.


How to apply for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India - Night market in Guwahati - Lost With Purpose

Nighttime market action outside our hotel near the railway station in Guwahati

Where to stay in Guwahati when applying for an Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area Permit

Unfortunately, Guwahati doesn’t have much in the way of budget accommodation catering to foreign visitors—most budget places don’t allow foreigners to stay. Both places mentioned in the Lonely Planet (Prashaanti Tourist Lodge and Sundarban Guest House) offer terrible value for money. Prashanti is 1,500 Rs. per night for a double, while Sundarban is 800 – 1,250 Rs. per double. The cheapest doubles sell out in the blink of an eye, so don’t count on getting one.

Luckily, we found a reasonable place close to the train station that does allow foreigners. Suncity Hotel charges 700 Rs. for a single, and 1,150 Rs. for a double non-A/C room including taxes. The room comes equipped with hot water and a small TV, and has working WiFi to boot. English or Indian breakfast is included in the room rate. It’s the best value for money we could find in Guwahati.

A more upscale hotel is Hotel Shoolin Grand on G.S. Road, which is quite close to the Deputy Resident Commissioner’s Office.

There you have it: everything you need to know on how to apply for a Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India. Don’t forget that Indian bureaucracy can be fickle, so please let us know if anything has changed.

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Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

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44 thoughts on “How to apply for a Protected Area Permit in Guwahati, Assam, India

    Khan kamal says:

    Will I be visit all places under Protected Area Permit

    Anwar uz Zaman says:

    I am a Bangladeshi passport holder and understand we are now allowed to visit Arunachal. Where can we collect the PAP and how many days do we have to wait upon application. We got PAP immediately on road in Sikkim and on arrival at Aizawl airport, Mizoram. Shall appreciate your update.

    Matthias says:

    Worked out great the way you describe it. The officer there was very helpful and friendly. Fantastic

    Veronique says:

    Good to read Matthias post above. We are heading to Arunachal Pradesh next April and will follow in your footsteps.
    I have one question though: when does the validity of the PAP start? the application date or a date I can define myself?
    We’d like to apply for it beginning of March when we arrive in Guwahati, travel some of the other states and then at the end go to Arunachal Pradesh from the east. If validity begins at the application date, I would have to back track to Guwahati which I would like to avoid.
    Thanks and a great thank you for your blog which is fantastic and has become one of my favourites.

    jack says:

    Hey Matthias, what is the exact price you paid? Because 3450 rupees is actually around 40 dollars. We see so many different prices online that we don’t know what is the correct pricing.. thanks for helping !

    Priya says:


    Did one year old child ( Singapore citizen ) need to apply the PAP paper to enter Arunachal Pradesh Protected Area for visiting grand parent and stay with them for about 5 months ?

    Amrit says:

    I’m an indian national, but my wife is Finnish. Where do we stand in this “group of two” for PAP rule? Thanks!

    Marine says:

    We went to the DC office in Guwahati a few days ago and it has been closed…
    No clue where the new office is.
    Good luck!

    Veronique says:

    Experience from beginning of March 2023:
    we decided to follow into your steps and arrived well prepared in Guwahati, making our way to the office of the Deputy Resident Commissioner Office of Arunachal Pradesh on our very first day in town (thanks for the detailed description). Alas, it didn’t turn out as expected… We were welcomed by a friendly man named Manab who let us in his office and started to process our applications: we filled in the required papers, all was going as you described although we grew a bit doubtful when the man wanted to see our Covid vaccination certificates and our ETAs . Both were not needed: we had our visa stamp in the passports and proof of vaccination was not required anymore. When it came to paying, the man suddenly wanted to see 50$ per person, although we were expecting 30$. We grew suspicious and uncomfortable but he told us about a new process via New Delhi to obtain the authorisations, what did we know… The best came when we asked for an invoice and a receipt for our application: he gave us a hand-written acknowledgment on ordinary paper with his signature but without any stamp. That’s when we knew for sure that we were on the brink of being scammed: a government agency issuing a receipt without official paper or stamps in India, the realm of bureaucracy? NO WAY! We gathered our papers and money and turned away as fast as we could.

    We were so disguted that we were considering abandoning our plans to explore Arunachal Pradesh, but decided to give it another try. We had contacted several travel agencies from home to gather information and one of them, Kaziranga Holidays had replied and offered to arrange our PAPs at no extra cost than the 30$ per person required. We called them and after they confirmed their offer, we made an appointment for the following day. The manager was incredibly friendly and helpful, driven by the desire to help us. Which he did splendidly: we received our PAPs via WhatsApp 2 to 3 weeks later, although it took longer than expected. If you are considering booking some trip to Arunachal Pradesh, Kaziranga National Park or other destinations in the north east, we highly recommend Kaziranga Holidays.

    Jay Patel says:

    The place is closed down and moved to Arunachal Bhawan (Google it) beginning of 2023. There is no formal arrangement there but one of the reception will call someone who should get the paperwork sorted. Takes about 5 days to get the permit, which will be sent by Whatsapp. The fee is either US $50 or equivalent in INR Rs. I had to pay Rs 4200, about £40 in UK money. Dec 2023
    I hope it helps.

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