It was 2014, when I made my first trip to a North Eastern state. I was supposed to go to Ziro and was told that I need to get a permit made in advance. I looked online, went on the ILP website of Arunachal and got my permit approved.
In 2015 however, I failed to get my permit but then I got a fresh one made at Papum Pare check post. Getting a travel permit in Arunachal Pradesh has been a piece of cake and hardly anyone is stopped unless the mentioned papers are missing or there is something suspicious about you.
Now, my further leg of journey awaits as I have to visit other North Eastern states. I have been reading about permits and many states have their own rule for approving the applications.
Fun Fact – You don’t need permits for every North Eastern state. Only 3 out of the 8 states in total have a permit rule. Sikkim asks for permits if you wish to enter the Northern Side and any travel agent in Gangtok will get you one made in hours. Meghalaya doesn’t require any sort of permit and neither does Assam.
Here is a quick guide to getting entry permits in North Eastern States.
If you are an Indian, you’ll need to apply for Inner Line permits for three states in North East. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram have ILP rules for Indian citizens.
Foreigners, including those with Overseas Citizens of India card, need to get Protected Area Permits (PAPs) in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. They’ll need to register at police stations at Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland within 24 hours of their arrival. This can be done with the help of guest houses or travel agents they are travelling with.
There is no such thing at Inner Line permits in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya for both Indians and foreigners.
How to get inner line permits in Arunachal Pradesh
There are multiple ways to get Arunachal ILP. If you are travelling alone then you can easily apply for ILP online and the approval comes within 15 days of application. If you are short on days then the check post at Assam – Arunachal Border at Papum Pare and the offices at Naharlagun station and Gumto station provide ILP and it takes half an hour for the permits to get approved.
You can apply for ILP in liaison offices at Shillong, and other designated places in Delhi, Guwahati, Tezpur, Dubrugarh, Jorhat and Lakhimpur.
Essential documents – Xerox of your ID proofs (passport, Driving license or adhaar card), travel agent email or a printed version of your itinerary and multiple copies of passport size photos. You need to disclose about the dates on which you’ll be travelling. Inner Line permits during Ziro Festival of Music may take a longer time because it gets really crowded during that week. The earlier you arrive, the easier you’ll be allowed inside.
Foreigners can get their ILP made through these approved travel agents
How to get inner line permits for Mizoram
Mizoram doesn’t have the facility of applying for ILP online. One can download the form from their website and then reach their office for the approval of the entry permits.
For entry into Aizwal, you’ll need 2 copies of passport size photos. Application form costs INR 20 and processing fee costs INR 120. Other districts require 3 copies of passport size photos. ILP can be applied at Lengpui Airport, while you can also find their offices in Guwahati, Shillong, Silchar, Kolkata and New Delhi.
How to get Inner Line Permit for Nagaland
You can only apply for Nagaland permits in the designated offices. There is no facility of online application or download the form.
Foreigner tourists don’t need any protected area permits to enter Nagaland. They’ll need to register with Foreigner’s Registration Officer within 24 hours of arrival. For Indian visitors, the permits can be made in New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Dimapur and Kohima. More details can be found here.
Permits limits for entry into various states
Every state has its own permit rules. Nagaland and Mizoram allow you to travel anywhere in the state with a single ILP, Arunachal Pradesh needs you to present a proper itinerary and the number of days you’ll be travelling.
Permits for Sikkim
Indians don’t require entry permits in Sikkim. However, certain formalities are needed to be done to enter Northern part of the state. Foreigner tourists need to get a PAP made and these approved travel agencies can help you get one. Indian tourists are needed to get permits from the same travel agencies if they wish to enter Northern part of the state.
Certain areas, closer to Indo-China border are open to Indians only.
Responsible travel is a way to explore the North East
North East India is very sensitive zone in ecological terms. Make your travel plans keeping the minimal use of plastic and bottles in mind. Don’t leave your garbage at the trails and make sure that you eat only local food, avoiding chips and packaged snacks.
Your contribution will matter a lot in maintaining the beauty of North East India.
Hope these tips helped you in getting a better understanding of travel in North East India.