For foreign travelers, visiting Tibet is different from travelling to other places of China. Foreigners need to apply for at least Tibet entry permit in addition to Chinese visa if they are travelling to Tibet. Tibet Entry Permit is just like a key to open the door of Tibet for foreigners. Besides, Alien’s travel permit and Military Permit may also be required when you travel in Tibet. These permits are issued by different authority bureaus.
It is important for travelers to get full information on what the Tibet travel permits are, how to apply for them, what they are used for, how much they cost, etc. Hence, Tibet travel org gathers all the related information for travelers who are planning to visit Tibet. If you are one of them, our tips may increase your success to get Tibet permit.
Though the Tibet permit policy 2013 makes it much easier to get Tibet visa or permit, foreign travelers should obtain a Chinese visa at first. Here are some tips on how to obtain a Chinese visa to apply for Tibet permit.
Obtaining a Chinese visa is the first step for Tibet travel for you need to email the scanned copy of your Chinese visa and passport to a Tibet travel agency to apply for Tibet travel permit. The Chinese visa must be applied for through a Chinese Embassy in your home country. All individuals entering China must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months for a single or double entry visa and at least nine months for a multiple entry visa.
When you apply for a Chinese Visa, DO NOT list Tibet as the travel destination on the visa application. Otherwise, your application might be rejected. If you enter Tibet from mainland China, It is wise to list the cities, like Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu as your travel destination in China. But if you get into Tibet from Nepal, it is not necessary to apply for the Chinese visa in your home country because you need to apply for a group visa through the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Once you get the group visa, your Chinese visa obtained in advance becomes invalid automatically.
- Tibet Entry Permit or Visa
Tibet Entry Permit, also known as Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit or Tibet Visa, is the basic document for foreign travellers to enter into Tibet. No foreign visitor can visit Tibet without holding the Tibet Entry Permit in their hands. Foreign tourists are required to show both their Chinese Visa and Tibet Entry Permit when they change for the boarding passes of flying to Tibet or board trains to Tibet.
Tibet Entry Permit is officially issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, in purpose of restricting the numbers of foreign visitors. With this permit, foreigner tourists can travel in Lhasa region including Lhasa city, Yamdrok Lake, Ganden, Tsurphu,Namtso, DrigungTil and Reting.
Tibet Entry Permit is not available for independent travelers. Foreign travellers have to travel in tour group and ask legitimate travel agency to apply Tibet tour for you.
- Tibet Visa from Nepal
According to Chinese Law, travelers who enter Tibet from Nepal or India are required to apply for Group Tourist Visa–a kind of single entry visa. This visa must be obtained at Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Travelers have to enter China and leave China in a specified period of time which is given according to tour itinerary provided by travel agency and no more than 30 days. If you have some other plan to do in China after the tour, please let your travel advisor know and he/she can help you to put the extra days you need into the tour itinerary.
Please be aware that the group visa is the only kind of visa that allows you to enter Tibet. Besides, the other kinds of Chinese visa you may obtain before automatically expire when you get the group visa.
Travelers need to arrive in Kathmandu several days in advance to wait the visa. They have to stay at least 1 working day (Any day among Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). The table below is the service charge of Chinese Visa.
Group Visa fee charged by Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu
|American Passport Holder||USD 142||USD 164||USD 198|
|Other Nationality||USD 58||USD 80||USD 114|
Note: Normal: 3 working days; Urgent: 2 working days; Top Urgent: 1 working day
The working day refers to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Permits for Visiting Mount Everest
If you make a tour to Everest Base Camp in Tibet, you need three permits to visit the Mt. Everest, Tibet Entry Permit, Alien’s Travel Permit and Park-entry Permit for Everest Nature Reserve.
The Tibet entry permit is a must for foreigners to entering Tibet. When you are boarding a plane or train to Tibet, you need to show the Tibet entry permit as well as the air ticket or train ticket. The Tibet entry permit is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau and should be applied through a Tibet travel agency. It takes a few days. Click to see the Tibet permit policy 2013)
The Alien’s travel permit is issued by Public Security Bureau, "PSB". Usually you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. If you book the tour from Tibettravel org, our tour guide will ask you for the passport and TTB permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB for the Travel Permit. It normally takes several hours.
The Park-entry permit can be obtained at the Everest Nature Reserve in Baber or in the Snow Leopard Guest House in Tingri. The permit costs RMB400 per vehicle, plus RMB180 per admission ticket per person. Your tour guide will also need a ticket.
Your passport and Alien’s travel permit will be scrutinized at the checkpoint 6km west of Shegar. The park permit is checked at the Chay checkpoint, 3km after turn-off from the Friendship Highway.
You can make a tour from Lhasa to EBC or from Kathmandu to EBC. Most tourists prefer travelling from Lhasa to the Everest Base Camp and then to Kathmandu.
- Alien’s Travel Permit
Except Tibet Entry Permit, an Alien's Travel Permit is required if you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, such as Mount Everest, Rongbuk Monastery, MountKailash and Lake Manasarovar. Alien's Travel Permit is not needed for places in Lhasa region, towns of Shigatse and Tsetang, or nonstop travel on Friendship Highway.
The Alien's Travel Permit, also called PSB Permit, is issued by People's Security Bureau and you can obtain it after you arrive in Tibet. The Alien's Travel Permit is also available for independent travelers. Foreign travellers have to travel in tour group booked with a legitimate travel agency, like Tibettravel.Org which can help you to obtain the Tibet travel permit.
Different from applying a Tibet entry permit, you are required to show your original passports and Tibet entry permit, not a copy of it. It takes less time to apply the Tibet travel permit, normally only costs several hours and RMB100/person. You even don't have to go to the Public Security Bureau in person. Your tour guide can handle all for you.
The following places are officially closed to foreigners at present:
Tsetang in southern Tibet: Samye Monastery, Yumbulhagang, Trundruk Temple etc.
Shigates in southern Tibet: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Gyantse in southern Tibet: PelkhorChode Monastery, Kubum Stupa
Ngari in western Tibet: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasorovar etc.
Nyingtri in southeast Tibet: Basumtso Lake, Draksumtso, Pomi etc.
Chamdo in eastern Tibet: all the places you will visit such as Riwoche etc.