Since some parts of the valley is in close proximity to the Indo-China border, the government expects a traveler to acquire Inner Line Permits (ILP) whenever travelling to these areas. The Spiti Valley is open for tourism for both Indian and foreign nationals; However if you are an Indian citizen; you do not need to obtain an Inner line permit. The permit are required only for foreign nationals. In case of foreigners, the ILP is called Protected Area Permit (PAP). This permit is only limited to the stretch between Kaza and Reckong Peo
Permits to visit Spiti valley
The purpose the ILP or the PAP is to authorize a civilian entry in to inner line areas. I recommend starting the journey from Shimla; as, if you are an Indian Citizen there is no need to apply for an ILP. However, for a foreign national a PAP is required if traveling beyond Reckong Peo. Places like Pooh, Nako, Tabo, Dhankar and Kaza are inaccessible if the PAP is not granted.
A check post is specially put up after the Peo village to check the authenticity of the travel. Indians can produce a government issued Identity card that can act as a permit by itself. Foreigners, however have to submit a photocopy of the PAP.
Applying for a PAP
The PAP can be obtained from DM’s office in Shimla and Reckong Peo. If travelling from Manali; one needs to get the permits from DC’s office at Keylong. This is one reason I suggest to start the drive from Simla. The other being; the need to get permits to cross Rohtang too.
A visitor has to spend a day at Manali for Rohtang permits (which now are available online too) and then go further to Keylong and return back to Spiti
Apart from these places, permits are also issued from ADM office in Rampur and Udaipur. Offices are open from 1000 Hrs until 1700 Hrs. However, in order to get a permit, one should ensure that they reach the office prior to 1500 Hrs, the process of getting the permit can take up to 2-3 hours. I recommend applying for the permits at Reckong Peo. At any other place, given the number of people applying for various permits, it may take an entire day
If travelling from Manali, a permit is required to pass Kaza towards Peo, which can be obtained in Kaza itself
Validity of the PAP
PAP is valid for a period of 10 days from the date of issuance with and option of 7 days extension. If the trip extends beyond 2 weeks, a new PAP needs to be obtained from the ADM / DM’s office. It is a good practice to carry multiple copies of the permit in case one is asked to submit a hard copy at the check post.
Unlike ILP, a PAP can be only obtained by a registered travel agent. The travel agent is required to certify that they are planning your trip into the Spiti Valley. Along from this letter, all foreign nationals are required produce a copy of your passport, visa, three passport sized photographs and a detailed itinerary of the travel plan (that can be made available by the travel agent at a minimal cost). While the procedure to obtain the permits can be completely outsources to the travel agent, it is necessary for the visitors to fill the application form in person and all be present at the ADM / DM’s office while he approves the permit
READ: @immiHelp, Protected and restricted Area in India
Documents required for PAP
Below is a list of documents that you will have to submit in order to obtain PAP
- 2 Photocopy of your Passport (front page)
- 2 Photocopy of your latest Indian visa
- Processing fee: Rs. 30
- 2 passport size photographs
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