Ladakh, or the entire Kashmir and Ladakh for that matter, is a beautiful yet sensitive area because of the constant conflicts between India, Pakistan, and China in this region. There is a heavy army presence in the area and not all parts of Ladakh are accessible to civilians. To visit some areas, all foreign nationals, as well as NRIs, are required to procure a Protected Area Permit Ladakh.
Indian nationals living in India do not need PAP. For them, there is a different permit required called Inner Line Permit. I have covered that topic in a different article How to Obtain an Inner Line Permit for Ladakh.
The Ladakh Protected area permit only applies to foreigners and NRIs. If you were planning a road trip to Ladakh in near future, below is the detailed information on how you can procure this permit.
What is Ladakh Protected Area Permit
Protected Area Permit Ladakh, or PAP, is a government-issued document for foreign tourists. It is a permit to be allowed entry to restricted areas for a limited period of time. Places located near LOC (Pakistan) & LAC (China) require civilians to acquire this permit in order to visit. The sole purpose of this permit is to keep a check on movement in these areas.
For more details, you can also take a look at the document issued by the Ministry of Home affairs.
For Indian citizens, as I mentioned earlier, this permit is issued in the form of Inner Line Permits.
Places you need Protected Area Permit For
Places that you are required to obtain a PAP before visiting are as mentioned below.
- Nubra Valley
- Tso Moriri (Karzok)
- Pangong Tso
- Dah and Hanu Villages
No permit is required for local sightseeing in and around Leh, Zanskar Valley, Suru Valley. You also do not need a permit for traveling between Manali and Leh or Srinagar and Leh.
Foreigners aren’t allowed to go visit Changthang valley. It is the area beyond Merak Village along with Pangong Tso or Mahe Village if you are coming from Chumthang or More plains side. You also cannot visit the Hanle Village. This route is open only for Indian citizens after obtaining an Inner Line Permit.
However, after procuring PAP, any foreign national can travel as far as villages of Man and Merak or till Loma post if driving through Upshi and Chumathang. In Nubra Valley, tourists can now travel as far as Pachatang and Tyakshi villages, beyond Turtuk. Permits are now also issued for Kargil, Chitkan, Dah, Garkone, Darchik and Batalik.
How to get a Protected Area Permit
A Protected Area Permit can only be issued through a registered travel agent and a minimum of 2 people are required in order to procure PAP. You cannot apply for the permit all by yourself and must involve a registered travel agent in the process. It is also never issued to a solo traveler and it is mandatory that you have someone accompanying you on the trip.
There is a way around the second condition though. Your co-traveler does not necessarily have to be a friend or family member. In case you were traveling solo, then the travel agent will get you the PAP issued by putting your name on the list with a different group.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be traveling with that group if your PAP is issued with them. Once you have the PAP, you are free to travel solo again.
Protected Area Permit for tourists from Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, and Burma is issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi. You cannot get it after reaching Ladakh and must obtain it beforehand.
Permits for those on an official or diplomatic visa are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. If you are unsure of the procedure or have no idea where to go and apply, the simplest way out is to contact a registered travel agent and have them arrange it for you.
In recent years, permits to nationals from Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan or middle-east have been denied completely. I will strongly recommend that before you finalize your trip and itinerary, you clarify whether or not the permits are being issued.
In the worst case, if you did not get the permit, you can still travel to Leh City from either Manali or Srinagar but will not be allowed to visit any other area in Ladakh for sightseeing.
Validity of Protected Area Permit
The Protected Area Permit can be procured only for a maximum of 7 days. However, though, it is not a one-time entry pass. After procuring ILP, you can still visit that particular region as many times as you wish, as long as the permit is still valid. After 7 days, if you wish to stay back and visit more places, you will need to reapply for PAP.
Please carry several photocopies of your PAP with you as you will need to submit one at each check post. So in case you run out of photocopies, you won’t have an option but to come back to Leh to get more.
Documents Required & Cost
Below is a list of documents that you will have to submit in order to obtain PAP.
- Photocopy of your Passport (front page)
- Photocopy of your latest Indian visa
- Rs. 20 per person per day for wildlife protection fee
- Rs. 400 per person for environment tax
Apart from this, you will have to pay the travel agent as agreed.
So for example, if you need a permit for 5 days for two people, the calculation will be something like this.
- Rs. 800 for environment tax (This is one time, not on a per-day basis)
- Rs. 200 for wildlife protection fee or simple the permit fee (20 x 2 x 5). This fee is on a per-day basis.
- Travel Agent Fee as discussed and agreed upon
Protected Area Permit Application Form
Below is a scanned copy of the PAP application form. Click on the thumbnail to view in full size or save it to your disk to take a printout.
Other Things to Note
A few other points worth mentioning.
- The permit is valid only for a group of tourists, consisting of a minimum of two people.
- The permit is specific to a tourist route/area and entry or exit points of that region.
- Tourists must not visit any other area apart from the ones mentioned in the permit.
- Please ensure that you are carrying enough photocopies of the permit as you may be requested to submit a copy at each check post on the route.
- Tourists must not stay in the restricted/protected area after the expiry of the permit.
- Every foreigner, except for a citizen of Bhutan, is required to obtain a protected area permit.
Please also note that the application form, procedure, and cost may be revised depending on the year of your visit. Please discuss with your travel agent in detail about any changes in recent times and apply accordingly.
Protected Area Permit Ladakh – Conclusion
I hope this information on obtaining a protected area permit for Ladakh was helpful. Please note that being an Indian citizen, I have never obtained a PAP myself and my knowledge on the subject is pretty much limited to what I mentioned above. If you still need any further clarifications, you should get in touch with a travel agent for answers to your queries.
Hey Vargis. Tnx for these information. These are really helpful. I’m planning to visit Ladakh in September. But I’m so much confused that if I can manage permission for visiting restricted areas in Ladakh. How long it will take to sanction or decline if I apply for PAP in Delhi?
It depends on the travel agent Riyad. Usually they can get you the permit by the next day at most
Thanks for the information. Actually we are planning a trip to ladakh from Nepal in October. Do we need a PAP for visiting ladakh. If yes, then how can i get the permit? Thanks
thanks for details. My friend is Australian citizen( but born in china) and i am indian. so if we go together then
>>still she need one more person (foriegner)??
>> as born in china, is it gonna be problem for her to have permit from ladakh??
Thanks in advance!!
Hi Ankur – Permits were not being given to Chinese citizens until last year, not sure if it will change this year or not.
Dear Vargis, thank you first of all for your very comprehensive website. I´m a foreigner willing to visit Ladakh in September this year. I´m planning a tour leaving Leh in the early morning of the 1st day and coming back to Leh on the 8th day. I understand that the PAP is valid for only 7 days. In my case, I would need it for at least 8 days (I would apply for it the day before starting the 7 day trip). How to manage in that case? Is it possible to apply for a “second” PAP with a different date at the same time? Or is it a must to return to Leh within the trip just to get the PAP extension? Thanks in advance.
I heard from agents of Delhi that there are 2 types of permits, one is only walk in permit(which dont allow night stay in there)
And the other one is night stay permit in those areas.
Is it true?
No, that is incorrect information. Just one permit whether you stay for the night or not.
Is it true there are two kinds of permit, one is only walk in permit where you wont be able to stay night in those areas and the other kind for staying night there?
No, that is incorrect information. Just one permit whether you stay for the night or not.
I am from Bangladesh.planning to visit leh ladakh in next month.i want to know is ladakh strictly restricted for Bangladeshi citizen, and if yes, is there any possibility of sanctioning this restrictions in this year?
It is still not getting issued. You will need to get one from Home Ministry in Delhi
Hi Vargis 🙂
I am not sure, if I need PAP for visiting this monasteries, can you please make it sure ?? :))
1. The main road from Leh till Lamayuru monastery, to see also Likir, Alchi and Phyang
2. The main road from Leh till Karu/Hemis, to see also Shey, Thiksay, Stakna, Matho
Hi Marek – You do not need a PAP for visiting either of these places.
Thank you very much for the answer :))
You are welcome !!!
Does someone with an OCI need ILP or PAP?
Hi Vargis, i understand PAP must apply for foreigner like malaysin.
May i know does foreigner need to apply ILP as well?
Are they open on sunday?
Can you advised?
PAP is for foreign nationals and ILP is for Indian nationals only. You will not need ILP.
Thanks for you fast replies.
By the way, any travel agent introduce to aply this before we go india?
I don’t have any contacts with any travel agents, sorry
Thanks for providing very useful information not found anywhere on the web about Ladakh.
I am reaching Leh this Thursday on a 6 day visit and I am not Indian. I know I must get PAP to Nubra and Pangong which I plan to visit on Sunday and Monday. Is the office delivering PAP open on Saturday and Sunday? Are there 2 DC offices in Leh? Which one should I go for the PAP? I am planning to apply for PAP as soon as I land in Leh. I don’t want to miss Pangong and Nubra.
Hi Guillermo – The office is not open on Sunday and for PAP, you will actually have to work through a travel agent rather than going directly yourself.
Khan Saab, your website is really really very helpful. it is like an encyclopedia. All the information that you have provided in your blogs are very helpful.
Me an my freind will be arriving LEH on 31st August by flight. We are having 6 days in LEH. I am INDIAN citizen and my friend is US citizen, but he hold OCI card. So is it necessary to get PAP for him. If yes, does he require another foreign person to get PAP?
As i have read your blog, PAP is obtained through agent. From where can we get this agent? are they locally available in LEH? Does the hotels in LEH provide such facility?
My freind will be arrivingg INDIA on 28th August. So is it possible to obtain PAP in advance by sending the passport details via email or whatsapp. Because if we get it done in advance, it will be very convenient for us.
If you know some good agent or so please let me know.
We trust you and all the information provided by you are very helpful to us.
Thank you in advance !!!
Tofiq Bhai, thank you so much for your kind words. To be honest, I am not really sure about overseas citizen and do not want to give you false information. Please talk to Nasir in Leh @ 9906229203. He runs his own taxi there and may have information on the topic, if not then he can at least find out or route you to a reliable travel agent there.
On a side note, you can actually get this permit form Home Ministry in Delhi as well if that is where you live.
Hi Vargis… your blog is a blessing to folks like me starved for some information on planning these trips to Ladakh. So thank you. I am a Canadian citizen holding an OCI visa for India and live in India now. I am planning a trip on motorcycles from Srinagar to Leh with two friends. One is an Australian and the other person holds a Singapore passport. Our trip is planned for departing Srinagar on the 26th or 27 of August and returning back to Srinagar from Leh around the 9th of Sept. We will do some Daisy trips from Leh while we stay there like kardungla , nubra and maybe pangong .
My questions are :
1) Do you know any Agent who could help us with the PAP ?
2) When should be apply i.e how early should be apply to ensure we have the permits in hand before we leave Srinagar ?
Hi Jacob, I do not know any agents who can help you with the permits so sorry about that. It is however mostly a couple of days affair at most. If you talk to an agent today, they should be able to arrange permits for you by tomorrow. This however is based only on feedback that I received from other travelers like you because being an Indian, I have never actually gone through this process myself.
Cheers.. appreciate your feedback.
Do you know if it is permitted to travel via the Kakasang La from Mahe to Chushul with a PAP?
Thank you for your website, it’s the best resource for this area that I’ve found.
Hello Neil – Foreign nationals are not allowed on that route actually because of security reasons. You can only go as far as Pangong Lake and will then have to return to Leh. You cannot go beyond Pangong, the Chushul route I mean.
Thanks for maintaining such a great informative post..
I read that for foreign nationals solo travellers have to haven atleast 2 travellers for getting the permit..
I have a quick question:
The other traveler has to be the foreign national only? Or can be Indian national?
And yes I am travelling 12-18 September 2018… should we book the hotels in advance for this leh trip (going leh-nubra-leh-pangong-leh) or it’s better to book on the fly after reaching the places.
And the last question is it better to return to leh from nubra for pangong or directly going to pangong would be a better option..
I am Travelling by my own car..
There is a huge tourist rush this year in Ladakh so I will recommend that you book in advance to avoid any last minute hassle.
No need to come back to Leh from Nubra. Go directly to Pangong via Shyok road.
Hi Deepak – Yes both the travelers have to be foreign nationals. Travel agents usually arrange that for solo travelers because once the permit is issued, it is not mandatory for both people to be traveling together.
hello, thanks for your sharing.
I want to make sure, for foreigners, even we get the PAP, we can’t go the road from Pangong lake to tsomoriri right?
Hello Fanny – That is correct. For security reason, foreign nationals are allowed only as far as Pangong. If you want to go to Moriri, you will have to come back to Leh and take the Chumathang route. Cannot go via Chushul.
Khan saab, Really appreciate your patience in maintaining this blog. One suggestion. when we click on a link, it is better if it opens in a new window. Otherwise we are losing track of the original page.
Next – I am holding a US Passport though settled in India and having dual citizenship. I have PAN and Aadhar too. Now do I need to apply for ILP or PAP. Can you suggest a Leh agent who can help with this process.
Thank you Venkat Bhai. I will make the changes. If you have PAN and Aadhar, then go with ILP. It is easier to get an ILP rather than a PAP
We plan to ride bicycle from Shimla-Kalpa-Pooh-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-Spiti Valley-Losar Khas-Keylong-Pang-Upshi and visit Spangmik(Pangong Lake). – Leh – Srinagar.
The 1st PAP request will be submitted at Shimla.
But the 2nd PAP, we don’t want to submit in Leh because we will go to Pangong Lake before go to Leh.
1. Have any where on the way where we can get the 2nd PAP?
2. Due to we travel by bicycle, Can we get PAP which valid more than 7 days(appx.9-10 days)?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Noppakun – No you will first have to get to Leh to get the PAP. There is nowhere else you can obtain it from on the route.
Thanks so much, Vargis. I have to apologize you that I late reply cause I have travelled. Your answer is useful for my plan.
No worries Noppakun. I am glad that the information as of help.
Your blog is awesome! I’m currently in Srinagar and planning to get a shared taxi to Leh, Ladakh. I have a question about the permits.
The guy we fixed for arranging transport is saying,
1. We need a 1000rupee pass per person for crossing beyond zozila pass, given to the army with registration. (As foreign nationals)
2. The pass for Lake pangong, nubra valley is different, (maybe the Inner Line Pass) and costs 1200 for 2 people.
Is the costs right ? Do we really need two pass ??
Hello Tushar – Please speak to Faisal at 09596410670. He is a Srinagar local and will be able to give you exact details about any permits. Give him my reference and he will do what he can to help you.
Thanks for the quick reply! Really appreciated! 😀
You are welcome
Your website contains full encyclopedia of Ladakh tours. Many thanks for your efforts, it is indeed an eye-opener.
I am from Bangladesh and planning to visit Ladakh on 25th with my wife.
I will take a bus on 24th and reach Ladakh on 25 August afternoon by Bus.
– On 26th (Sat) I want to go to Pangong Pso by bus in early morning and return on 27
– On 28th (Mon) I want to go to Nubra Valley and return on 29th.
How can I manage the PAP on 25th afternoon to make the above trips?
I came across a site for Online application of PAP, http://mha1.nic.in/papvt/ .
Will the above permit work ?
Awaiting for your valuable response.
Hi Osman – You will not be able to get the permit on the same day of your arrival. You should at least give it a day in Leh. Take a look at this article and go through the comments by Shabuz. Another person who traveled from Bangladesh to Ladakh this year. He has given some information there.
Many thanks for your prompt response.
1. Shabuj bhai did explained a lot. He was referring to ILP ( Inner Line Permit ) but isn’t that for Indian nationals only? or he was referring to PAP (Protected area permit) ?
2. Isn’t there any other means to get the permit before we arrive there? As I need to catch the Saturday bus to Pangong pso to minimize my trip cost. I arrive on Fri evening and got Sat+Sun+Mon+Tues and leave Wed morning by flight. if I give another day to get the permit I will have 3 days to cover Nubra and Pangong pso.
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hello Osman – Shabuz is actually talking about PAP there, he is only referring it to as ILP. The procedure he explained there is for foreign nationals. There is really no other way to get the permit, the travel agent will need a copy of your passport showing your arrival in India post which he can arrange for the permit. You will have to stay in Leh for one day and I would recommend that you do. It is a good city for a day of sightseeing, you must not miss it.
Hi I would like to know do we require to obtain any kind of permit for Turtuk or places in nubra valley?
PAP is only for foreign nationals, not for Indians. If you are not an NRI and live in India, then you do not need any kind of permit to visit Nubra valley anymore. If you are however an NRI, then yes you will need to obtain protected area permit
I checked Ministry of home affair website. It doesn’t mention Myanmar citizen needs to get PAP from ministry of home affair in Delhi . Can you verify it ?
A better choice would be to contact a travel agent and get a PAP if he advises you to do so