As a trekker, it is mandatory that you have a Trekking Permit for trekking in any part of Nepal except for general trekking in Annapurna, Everest and Langtang region without entering into the protected areas. Depending on the trekking trail you have chosen, you may need other type of trekking permit as well. Not having possessing a valid trekking permit may land you in trouble as police check posts along the trail are set up for checking the permits. For trekking in Nepal, trekking permits provisioned are Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card, Special Trekking Permit for restricted or controlled areas and Permits for trekking into a Conservation Area or National Park. As a trekker, depending on the trail, you may have to obtain any two of the trekking permits for the trekking expedition.
Special Trekking Permit for Restricted or Controlled Areas is needed for most of the areas except the areas that are freed off trekking permits. These special permits are issued by the Department of Immigration before the commencement of trek which can be obtained through a government registered trekking company. In such restricted areas, you are not allowed to trek without a guide. Upper and Lower Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Nar and Phu valleys, Manaslu Area are some of such restricted areas for trekking. Department of Immigration issues permits for foreign tourists who intend to trek in controlled areas of Nepal.
Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card is another permit needed by the trekkers in the areas where a Trekking Permit is not required. This card was implemented with the intention of keeping a systematic database of the trekkers so that the safety and security can be ensured and search and rescue operations cane be carried out based on the gathered information of the trekkers. TIMS card is of two types, Green for independent trekkers and Blue for trekkers in organized groups. TIMS card can be obtained from TAAN (Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal) secretariat in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Permit for trekking into Conservation Areas and National Park is generally required by the trekkers as most of the popular trekking trails are part of some national park or conservation area. The permits are issued either by National Trust of Nature Conservation (NTNC) or by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). The fees of such permit depend on the relative importance of protected areas and nationality of the trekkers. Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Sagarmatha National Park, Makalu Barun Conservation Area, Gaurishankar Conservation Areas are some of the major protected areas requiring such special permits for entrance. Generally, permits for such protected areas can be obtained at the entrance of those areas, with some exceptions to this provision.
It has to be kept in mind that the trekking permit isn’t extended beyond the visa expiry date. Such permits are issued for groups of 2 persons and more and a single trekker has to buy two permits. However, Nepali citizens, foreign guests invited by the Government of Nepal and authorities from diplomatic missions with an official letter need not get a trekking permit.