~story by Mikey Leung~
As of 22 March 2008, it is possible to obtain a “Landing Permit on Arrival” if you arrive in Dhaka with no visa. With $50 USD, you can simply buy this landing permit when you arrive at Zia International Airport, and you should be granted a 15-day stay.
However, please note that this could change at any time and without warning—such are the vagaries of the Bangladesh immigration system. The rules surrounding this landing permit are not published anywhere that we know of. We have only heard anecdotally that obtaining a landing permit has been done, and we have called the Airport Immigration to confirm this is the case. The Airport Immigration Phone Number at Zia Airport is +88 (02) 891 4226.
Searches on the internet show that the old rules used to claim that if you came from a country without a Bangladeshi mission, you would be able to obtain the landing permit. But there have been changes in the visa process under the caretaker government.
Whether or not you use the Landing Permit on Arrival system depends on whether or not you are the traveller who is willing to accept some degree of risk while you travel. Naturally, the safest option is to obtain a visa in your home country first, but if, for some circumstance of time and/or money you don’t get the visa, and you don’t need to stay in Bangladesh for longer than 15 days, a landing permit would certainly be easier than other potential bureaucratic speedbumps you could encounter at a Bangladeshi High Commission or Embassy.
From the Lonely Planet’s travel advice:
Please take care when choosing to buy the visa-on-arrival at the Dhaka airport. Except for being quite expensive ($50 for 15 days) the surrounding countries don’t accept this visa as it’s just a landing permit. You won’t be able to get a visa for India for instance because they say you don’t have a valid visa for Bangladesh. You can probably get one by extending your visa at the Immigration office for about $50 because then you should get an official visa. Should, because maybe it’s a renewal of the landing permit. But then it’s still the question whether you’re able to get a road permit to cross into India overland. So it could be wise to arrange your visa for Bangladesh beforehand, even if Biman Bangladesh Airlines says it’s not necessary.
If you do use it, it would be best to have your return ticket ready and proof that you are carrying enough cash for your visit to Bangladesh.
Then, please let us know if you have any difficulties. Also, do be aware that when you check in for your flight, you may need to explain to the airline representatives that you are getting a visa on arrival at Zia and you know that it is possible.
Good Luck! Please bear in mind that the rules in Bangladesh change all the time.