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 Most (outdated) guidebooks will send you to a handful of travel agencies in Guwahati.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.

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

    travellingarne says:

    hi and thanks, this article was so helpful! people at office were very friendly, we applied this morning at 10am and will get PAP same day after 4pm???? and now they charge only 1800 Rs. (at least if you are from EU). Suncity hotel is also a good hint, though we got room for 1500 now.

    Tim says:

    I’m going with my ten year old daughter. Do I have to pay for her as well?

    Upasana says:

    How much is the fee for a foreign permit ….

    kurt says:

    Excellent source of information, still to this day. Applied for my permit 3 days ago in Guwahati, got it e-mailed to me today while traveling in Meghalaya. I had to include a copy of e-visa document as well (they accepted the PDF version by email), and the price was now 3.600Rs (50$), but apart from that the info was spot on.

    Ganga says:

    I am from Nepal and Nepali people don’t need passport or visa to travel to India. Nepali citizenship is enough I have traveled to India with my citizenship before but this time I am visiting Aalo Arunachal Pradesh and I have to get Protected Area Permit. Do you think I need passport or only citizenship is enough?

    Ella says:

    Hello! We are planning to
    visit Arunachal Pradesh, so when i read your post i understand, that it is sure possible with the an e-visa? Thanks for your response

    Imran Hossein says:

    Hi I am form Bangladesh
    Can I get PAP for arunachal form Guwahati

    Ivan says:

    Friendly update for fellow travelers in 2019:

    My wife and I just applied for our Arunachal permits in Guwahati and the price is now 1,800 rupees per person (as of March 2019). So good news, it seems the price has dropped since 2017! They also agreed to email us the permits so we don’t have to come back to Guwahati to pick them up personally.

    For reference: we are Canadian and American.

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