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8 Things to consider before traveling for Filming in Nepal

 |  Threemm Films Team

Filming in Nepal? Things to think about!

1. Visa Requirements for Filming in Nepal

The International filming crew must go through the Visa Requirements listed by the Immigration Department of Nepal  in order to get an overview of the requirements while acquiring a visa for filming in Nepal. 

The Immigration Department of Nepal allows International Filming Crew to travel to Nepal using Tourist Visa. The Tourist Visa is also available on arrival at the immigration counter at the Tribhuvan International Airport in the capital city of Kathmandu, Nepal.  Journalists traveling to Nepal can apply for a Journalist Visa prior to arrival. They can apply for the Journalist Visa in the Embassy of Nepal present in their respective countries.

2. Filming Permit in Nepal

The Government of Nepal has a one stop solution for filmmakers traveling for Filming in Nepal in terms of ease of accessibility and efficiency in order to acquire Filming Permit in Nepal

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of Nepal handles all the necessary Permit procedures. The Ministry appoints a Liaison Officer who is a representative of the Government of Nepal.  The Liaison Officer provides on location censorship and helps with any and all legal formalities related to the Permit. 

The Government of Nepal also advises hiring an authorized Local Coordinator / Fixer or an authorized Line Production Company in order to process the permit application documents on behalf of the Filmmaker, Journalists and International Film Crew prior to traveling for filming in Nepal.

German Crew Filming in Nepal

3. Drone Permit in Nepal

Acquiring Aerial Filming Permit / Drone Filming Permit in Nepal can be tricky. After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, the Government of Nepal strictly monitors the use of Drones and UAVs/RPAs. Due to the geography of Nepal, the planes fly at a lower altitude here, hence, the Drone operators must be extremely cautious before operating Drones in Nepal and should only operate it under the supervision of the Government of Nepal. The Drone will be seized and the operator penalized if caught flying without a Drone Permit. 

The Drone Permit is provided by the following Ministries of Nepal: 

4. Custom Clearance in Nepal

The Film Development Board of Nepal authorizes a registered Local Film ProductionCompany as a guarantee for temporary import of any and all kinds of Film Equipment entering Nepal. The Local Film Production Company is also held liable if in any case the Filming Equipment is missing and has not been returned by the due date mentioned in the Custom Clearance documents (this is usually the end date of the Filming Project which is mentioned in the Filming Permit). 
The Custom Officer checks and verifies the equipment at the Department of Custom / Custom Counter inside the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal or at the border checkpoints while entering Nepal via road.

Foreign Crew Filming in Nepal

5. Fixer in Nepal

It is imperative for Filmmakers, International Film Crew, Journalists and all Media Personnels to hire a Local Coordinator / Fixer in Nepal prior to traveling for Filming in Nepal. The Fixer hired will act as a Local Coordinator representing the Local Production Company and will take care of prerequisites for Filming in Nepal on behalf of the International Crew/ Media Personnels.  

The Fixer at Threemm Films is a renowned, authorized Local Coordinator with more than a decade of experience and a network that runs all over Nepal. A good fixer is  not just there to look after your permit and custom clearance needs but also to provide on location fixing services such as; on location translation, tackling on location emergencies.

The hired Fixer must give an in depth report acquired during recce and location scouting, identifying profiles to get the International crew “In”. All of this is carried out during the inception stage of the project, hence, an experienced Fixer is also heavily involved in the process of the project right from its onset. The hired Local Fixer must act as a bridge that grants local access to the International crew.

6. Accommodation in Nepal

Nepal, being an underdeveloped nation lacks services related to accommodation and hospitality since most of it is concentrated only in the capital city. However, the indigenous communities of Nepal living in the rural areas have been providing homestay facilities that would put any five star hotel to shame. With delicious food and a homely atmosphere, these homestays are found in abundance all throughout Nepal- one just needs to know how to look! 

It is very important to find the right accommodation before traveling to Nepal especially when it comes to filming in Nepal. Power fluctuations, water shortage issues and unavailability of internet access are some of the challenges that need to be dealt with beforehand. The hired Local Production Company or the Local Fixer should be able to access these challenges beforehand in order to ensure that these challenges do not arise during the International Filming Crew’s arrival and the filming project.

7. Transportation in Nepal

The diverse geography of Nepal is such that some places are inaccessible to road travel, hence, some of the transport vehicles commonly used are off road four wheel drives. Due to the uncertain weather conditions, the flights are unreliable and are prone to frequent cancellations, leaving road travel to be the safest bet! 

The International Crew / Media Personnel traveling for Filming in Nepal need to discuss the possible travel routes and vehicle options beforehand with the hired Local Fixer / Local Production Company. An experienced Fixer should be able to analyze and apprehend any kind of uncertainties and provide the best alternatives. 

Threemm Films has been collaborating with experienced Drivers, reliable Airlines and skilled Helicopter Pilots who provide best service under the best rates. When it comes to traveling to the mountainous regions of Nepal, Threemm Films is in partnership with one of the oldest and most reliable trekking and expedition companies called Himalaya Journeys who provides experienced guides, equipment and expedition assistance.

8. Modes & Methods of Payment in Nepal

One of the biggest challenges that foreigners face while traveling to Nepal for filming is the mode of payment. Money exchange facilities are only limited to cities and that too are very rare, hence, it is important for travellers to carry cash in hand. Some of the kiosks at Tribhuvan International Airport provide money exchange facilities and that would be the traveler’s safest bet since there are hardly any ATM facilities available outside the main cities. 

Cash transactions happen to be the most used and widely accepted mode of payment here in Nepal, since digital banking facilities are still in the development phase here.

Making online payments prior to traveling to Nepal can also be challenging since Nepal has no access to IBAN, hence, while remitting money it uses the traditional SWIFT method. It is recommended that the payment be made in advance, considering that the transactions using the SWIFT method usually take 5-10 working days to be processed. There are other remitting agencies that can be used in order to make payments to Nepal; such as; World Remit, Western Union, IME etc.

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