No you do not need a permit to visit Leh town. Permits are also not required for sightseeing trips from Leh to Phyang, Shey, Spituk, and Thiksey. However, a permit is required to visit the Khardungla Pass. Foreigners should apply for a protected area permit (PAP), whereas Indians who are not residing in Jammu and Kashmir should obtain an inner line permit (ILP). A protected area refers to the area located between the International Border of India and Inner Line that is clearly defined in the Schedule 1 of Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, http://aasc.nic.in/Acts%20and%20Rules%20%28GOA%29/Passport%20Deptt/Foreigners%20%28Protected%20Areas%29%20Order,%201958.pdf.
The permit office is located in District Commissioner’s (DC) Office opposite Polo Ground in Leh. In lean season, it is easy to get permit that are issued same day after receiving the application in time. However, getting permit is a time consuming process during the season due to a large number of applications.
Permits are issued up to 04:00 p.m. A simple form is to be filled. A government issued identity card with complete address and photo of the applicant is required to obtain the permit.
Things to Remember
- Carry enough photocopies of the permit to present at every exit and entry point.
- Do not stay in the area after the expiry date stamped on the permit.
- Do not take pictures of any sensitive structure / thing / place like defense installations in the restricted or protected areas.
- The state government permit issuing authority is not responsible for any untoward incident that may take place in the protected area.
- There is no fee for issuing permit except (1) INR 20 per person towards Red Cross Fund and (2) an environmental fee (INR 200 per Indian and INR 300 per foreigner). Receipts are issued for both. The environmental fee is charged for protecting fragile diverse eco-system of the Ladakh region, creating better basic facilities at tourist places, and improving trekking routes, including sanitation.
- Xerox environmental and Red Cross fees’ receipts and carry both originals and copies while travelling in the region.