Foreign nationals visiting areas closer to the Chinese border in the district of Lahul-Spiti and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh are required to get an Inner Line Permit when traveling between Khab in Kinnaur to Kaza in Spiti district.
As per Himachal Pradesh government notification, foreign nationals are required to apply for Inner Line Permit while crossing the area between Khab, Sumdo, Dhankar, Tabo, Gompa, Kaza, Morang and Dubling,
Getting Inner Line Permit at Shimla
Inner Line Permits (ILP) can be made at the Deputy Collector Office in Shimla. It is at the Additional Divisional Magistrate (ADM) office where all the formalities are done. You need to fill up an application form and attach 2 passport size photographs, a copy of visa and passport with the form.
The form has to be filled up in person and all concerned person have to be present in front of the ADM when he finally signs the permit. The whole procedure takes 3-4 hours.
There is no fees for issuing the ILP. However if you process your application through the Sugam Center in the DC Office complex then a fee of Rs. 200/ is charged. You can avoid paying this fee by going straight to the ADM office and filling and submitting then and there only.
As per the law, ILP is issued to a minimum of 4 people traveling in a group through a recognized travel agency. This is very strictly followed at the Shimla office.
If you are traveling in a group with less than 4 people or traveling alone, Recong Peo in Kinnaur district can be a life saver to get an ILP.
Getting Inner Line Permit at Recong Peo
Recong Peo is the best place to get the ILP on this route. The Inner Line Permits are issued at the ADM office at Recong Peo. The formalities are the same but you don’t need photos at Recong Peo. The pictures are clicked through a webcam and scanned to the ILP. Here you may get other travelers to make a group of 4 people to travel further to Kaza. The office here is quite lenient with issuing the ILP and normally issues the permit for solo travelers too.
There are a few travel agents in Kalpa who also gets the permit for a charge of Rs. 150/ per person. They then get this done through the Sugam Centre at the DC office where again a payment of Rs. 200/ has to be made. Better to get the ILP straight from the ADM office.
Getting Inner Line Permit at Kaza and Keylong
While arriving from the the Manali side you can get the Inner Line Permit at the DC office at Keylong, district headquarters for Lahul & Spiti. You can also get the ILP at Kaza at the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Office. The formalities remain the same and you have to carry 2 passport sized photos and a copy of your passport and visa. There is no such strict attention paid for the minimum 4 people rule here.
As such there are no charges for issuing the Inner Line Permit. If anyone demands for money inside the government office, you can always ask for a receipt.
If you do not get a receipt then someone else is pocketing the money. In case you end up using the service of the Sugam centre you will have to pay a fee of Rs. 200/ for which a proper receipt will be issued.
While traveling from Recong Peo onwards you will have to carry copies of the ILP to be handed over at the check posts in between. As per reports now the check posts simply note down the details of the ILP.
Check posts are now located at Chango and Sumdo and the ILP is valid for a period of 15 days.
Indian nationals do not require Inner Line Permit to stay and cross the area though there are a few places where even Indians cannot go. It is advised to carry some valid proof of identity while traveling through the area.
Kinnaur and Spiti journey through the Hindustan Tibet Road will leave you spell bound. Normally the road is open from Mid April to Mid November till Kaza from Shimla side. Presently Kaza – Grampho stretch of the road is closed as Kunzum Pass is blocked due to snow.