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How to get Tibet Travel Permit, Successful Application Tips

Tibet Travel Permit, also known as Tibet Visa or Tibet Entry Permit, is an indispensable travel permit for international tourists to enter Tibet in addition to Chinese visa. For every foreign traveler, Tibet Permit is required as a must entry pass to board the flight or Tibet train bound for Lhasa.

As the largest Tibetan local travel agency, we promise your Tibet travel permit in 2023.

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Great News:

All types of China visas are resumed from March 15, 2023. For you, who wait for a long time to travel to Tibet, it is time to start planning your trip to Tibet, as the Chinese Tourist Visa application reopen now.

If you need any assistance with the Chinese tourist visa application process, please feel free to contact us. We are glad to guide you through the process. Also, we can provide the visa invitation letter if needed.

With a copy of your valid passport and China Visa, you can easily get the Tibet Travel Permit in simple steps. Just tell us your travel plan and let us do the rest for you. We guarantee to get the Tibet Travel Permit before your departure.

To get a satisfying Tibet tour in the upcoming peak season of Tibet tourism, the further in advance you book, the better price and travel experience you can get.

>> Tell us your Tibet travel plan in 2023

1. What Does Tibet Travel Permit Look Like?

Tibet Travel Permit is an official travel document issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau. On this paper your tour group number, Tibet tour date, and day-to-day itineraries, the number of travelers and tour operator will be written.

In addition, a travel group list is also attached to the Tibet Travel Permit to show the identity of each traveler in a Tibet tour group.

A Sample of Tibet Entry Permit

tibet visa travel group list

Travelers's information is also attached to the Tibet Permit

Travelers need to have Tibet Travel Permit to enter into Lhasa or any other parts of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is obtained through tour operators for most tourists. When you take a flight or train to Lhasa, you will be asked to show this permit during check-in.

2. Who Needs Tibet Permit to Tibet, Who Needn't and Who Can't Get One?

Need: Don’t Need:  Who can't get one: 
International tourists Residents of HK SAR Diplomat
Chinese Living in Taiwan Residents of Macau SAR Journalist
  Overseas Chinese with Chinese ID Government Officials
    Indians Visiting Ngari

Basically, all the international tourists are required to have Tibet Permit to enter Tibet (TAR) legally.

If you are a diplomat, journalist or a government official, only the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office can handle your Tibet Permit application.

To Indian nationals who plan to visit Mt.Kailash, Manasarovar or other parts of Ngari, western Tibet, you need to book your tour and get Tibet Permit via a Nepali or Indian travel agency that has cooperation with Foreign Affairs Office of TAR or Pilgrim Center, short for Tibet-India pilgrim Reception Center. - Check how to get Tibet permit for Indian citizens

Currently, Tibet permit is available up to 178 countries that established diplomatic ties with China, including US citizens, Canadian citizens, UK citizens, German citizens, French citizens, Spanish citizens, and other tourists from the west and Asian countries. In last year, Tibet Permit was already available for Norwegian citizens, and this year, Bhutan tourists can also get a Tibet travel permit from us. If you're not sure for being able to get a Tibet travel permit, just let us know and our travel consultant will get back to you for the detailed information

Chinese Travelers Living outside Mainland China

For the residents of Hong Kong and Macau, you don’t need to apply for the Tibet travel permit. All you need to take is your HK/Macau SAR Passport and Home Return Permit for Tibet visit.

The Chinese living in Taiwan or Taiwan residents, you need to get Tibet Travel Permit and Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents (MTP) to visit Tibet.

If you immigrated to other countries and will travel to Tibet with a non-Chinese passport, you still need to get China visa and Tibet Travel Permit to visit Tibet.

3. How to Get Tibet Permit? - Just 4 Simple Steps

  • Step

    Discuss your Tibet tour plan and preferences with our travel consultant; agree with proposed tour itinerary and tour quotation and later sign the tour contract.

  • Step

    Find the Chinese Embassy close to you; Fill in the Chinese Visa application form, Prepare relevant travel document (such as your passport, personal photos and itinerary with hotel and flight confirmation); submit your Chinese Visa application and pay visa fee and later get it.

  • Step

    Email the photo image of passport information page and of Chinese Visa page to your travel consultant who will help you submit the Tibet Permit application to Tibet Tourism Bureau. Processing of Tibet Permit takes 8-9 business days in Lhasa.

  • Step

    After our staff in Lhasa get your Tibet Permit, we will deliver it by express to your hotel in mainland China. Or in some extreme cases, our staff will give it to you in person at the railway station or airport.

About Chinese Visa

As Tibet Autonomous Region is one of the provinces of China, overseas tourists will need to obtain Chinese Visa first on your own for applying for Tibet Permit and for the purpose of entering China. You can apply for it in a Chinese Embassy closest to you in your country or in Hong Kong. To most of the international tourists, a China tourist visa, also known as “L” visa, will be enough. 

Meanwhile, we also offer help to facilitate your China Visa application, for example issuing the letter of invitation for your Tibet tour, etc. For more details, you may consult our travel consultants via emails.

Insider Tips: You need a Chinese Visa to go to mainland China and later after you get Tibet Permit, then you can legally board either Tibet train or flight to reach Lhasa.

A Sample of Chinese Visa:L Visa

Note: If you work or live in China or visit China for business purpose, you will need to offer a certificate to prove your purpose for visiting China.

Sample of Certifacate Paper

We herewith confirm that your full name, Passport Number, is working at your company name since  the date you join in this company to work as your position. 
(for visiting) Visit our company for your purpose, from the date you star visiting to the date you end visiting.If you have any question concerning with your full name, please feel free to contact the telephone number and fax number of your company.
Company Name:
Company Seal:

Besides, any Visa issued by associations like APEC is not equal to Chinese Visa for Tibet Travel Permit application.

4. Tibet Permit Price: How Much Does a Tibet Permit Cost?

For our clients, after you book our Tibet tour, we promise to offer Tibet Permit service for free and guarantee to get your Tibet Permit before you head to Tibet.

5. How Long Does It Take to Get My Tibet Permit?

Normally, it takes around 8-9 working days to process your Tibet Permit in Tibet Tourism Bureau. But we suggest you email photo images of your passport and Chinese visa to us at least 20 days before you leave for Tibet. It's better not leave it to the last min. 

*For urgent permit, it takes 4-5 days to process and extra charge is required. 

6. Where Can I Get My Tibet Permit?

After we get your newly-issued Tibet Permit in Lhasa, we will have it delivered to your hotel by express in mainland China.

For those who take a domestic flight to Lhasa, only when you get the original Tibet Permit can you to board the plane legally to Tibet.

If you plan to take Tibet train to Lhasa, the printed copy (2) of your Tibet permit will suffice. However, if you intend to take Tibet train from Chongqing, Xi’an or Lanzhou to Lhasa, the original Tibet Permit will be required.

For the safety reason, your Tibet Permit will not be delivered to your country or places outside mainland China. If you happen to have a brief stopover at the airport in China for a connecting flight to Lhasa, our staff will deliver the Tibet Permit to you in person at the airport.

7. How to Get Tibet Travel Permit, If Entering from Kathmandu?

All you need to do is confirm your tour itinerary and sign the tour contract with us. Our staff in Lhasa will help you get Tibet Permit.

The difference is that in fact either travelling by road or by flight from Kathmandu to Tibet, your Tibet permit will be kept in the hands of your Tibetan guide. He or she will show it to officers as you go through the customs at Sino-Nepal border (Gyriong border) or in the Lhasa Gongga International airport.

Besides, our staff in Kathmandu will help you get China Group Visa for Tibet entry from Nepal. - Please check the detailed guide for getting China Group Visa and Tibet Permit from Nepal.

8. When Will Your Tibet Travel Permit Be Checked?

You Tibet Permit will be checked as you board the Tibet train or flight from other mainland Chinese cities to Lhasa.

If you enter Tibet from Kathmandu by road, your Tibet permit will be checked as you cross the Sino-Nepal border; if you enter Tibet from Kathmandu by flight, you permit will be checked as you go through the customs in the Lhasa Gongga Airport. No worries! Our Tibetan guide will show it to officers in both situations.

As you travel beyond Lhasa, your Tibet permit will be checked multiple times as you cross different the checkpoints along the way. You Tibet permit will always be kept by Tibetan guide for safety.

9. Permits for Visiting Places Beyond Lhasa

A further reading of other Tibet permits you may need. Feel a little confused? No worries! We will get them done for you.

In reality, even if you have the Tibet Travel Permit, you are not allowed to travel anywhere else outside of Lhasa city. If you want to get out of Lhasa, such as EBC or Mt. Kailash, you have to apply for other permits, like Aliens' Travel Permit and Military Permit. 

However, you don’t need to worry about getting these permits since your Tibetan guide will help you get them properly after you land in Lhasa and get everything ready for your further visit after the day tour in Lhasa.

Alien’s Travel Permit

The Alien’s Travel Permit is issued by the Public Security Bureau. It is required when tourists are planning to travel to the 'unopened' areas of Tibet, like Mount Everest Base Camp in Shigatse, Samye Monastery in Tsedang.

Aliens' Travel Permit is required to visit 'unopened' areas. It is issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, "PSB"). Usually, you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. Our guide will ask you for the passport and Tibet Travel Permit, with which they will submit to the Foreign Affairs Division of the PSB for the Aliens’ Permit.

It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 CNY per person. If you travel alone, you need to join local tours to 'unopened' areas, and the local travel agencies will arrange the PSB for you as well. Pay attention, no travel agency can provide 'Alien’s Travel permit-only' service.

A Sample of Alien's Travel Permit

At present, you have to apply for a Alien’s Travel permit if you are planning to visit the following places:

Tsedang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery, Yumbulakhang
Shigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Gyangtse: PelkorChode Monastery &Kubum Stupa
Ngari Region: Mt.Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Years, etc.
Nyingchi Region: Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso, etc.
Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen, etc.

Military Area Entry Permit

The military area entry permit is required if tourists are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas in Tibet. Like Mount Kailash in Ali, Rowok Lake in Chamdo.

Sensitive borders such as Mt. Kailash and eastern Tibet not only require a Military Area Entry Permit, but also a Foreign Affairs Permit. For Tholing and Tsaparang in western Tibet, you will also need a permit from the local Cultural Antiquities Department. All these will be arranged by our travel agency one month before you enter Tibet.

The Military Area Entry Permit is issued by the military affairs office while the Foreign Affairs Permit is issued by the Foreign affairs office in Lhasa. It normally takes 10-15 working days to get them all.

We know the notoriously complex Tibet travel documents may leave you bewildered. However, we promise to get all the permits you need timely and all you to solely immerse yourself in experiencing the thrilling Tibet tour. 

A Sample of Military Entry Permit

10. Extra Tips for Using Tibet Permit

For those who take a domestic flight to Lhasa, only when you get the original Tibet Permit can you legally get to Tibet by flight.

Travelers need to offer unfeigned, effective and related credential, license or certificate with which we will apply for necessary permits. Once any counterfeit credential, license or certificate from travelers is confirmed, Tibet Vista reserves the right to cancel the corresponding trip, without any refund.

Unforeseeable events when applying for Tibet Visa

When there are important political events or any indication of such political or social unrest, the government may not issue Tibet Travel Permits. Although the conflicts are defused day by day, it is still a problem out of our control. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will get the Tibet Travel Permit under those circumstances.

Moreover, we cannot predict when it will happen. Please do understand and take it into consideration when planning your trip to Tibet. However, there is no need to worry too much because it rarely happens. And any unofficial information you find on the Internet or hear from other people, even from travel agencies, can be considered as a rumor. Please do not believe it unless you get an announcement from us and the government.

Online Tibet Permit Application Form

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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