How to get a Tibet Travel permit? Updated for 2022 & 2023 Tibet Tours - Himalayan Glacier
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How to get a Tibet Travel permit? Updated for 2022 & 2023 Tibet Tours

How to get a Tibet Travel permit? Updated for 2022 & 2023 Tibet Tours

If you do not apply for a Tibet Travel Permit in advance, your long-held desire of learning Tibetan culture may go unfulfilled, particularly if you are a foreigner. Tibet Travel Permit, also known as the Tibet entry permit, is the legal document that allows foreign visitors to visit and stay in Tibet. Remember that it is not a Tibet Visa. The Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa issues TTP and not any of the Chinese embassies. These permits are valid for your entire trip to Tibet. To enter restricted locations like Mt. Kailash, Mt. Everest, Mansarovar Lake, and likewise, you also need other permits like Aliens’ Travel Permission, Military Permit, or Foreign Affairs Permit.

Qoikang Monastery, Jokang, Tibet; Foreign Traveler with a Tibet Travel Permit
Qoikang Monastery, Jokang, Tibet

Tibet entry permit is mandatory for international travelers to enter Tibet in addition to a Chinese visa. Every international tourist must apply for a Tibet Travel Permit to board an aircraft or take a train heading towards Lhasa, check into hotels, and visit the famous landmarks of Tibet.

You might be wondering why you need a Tibet Travel Permit when you already have access to a Chinese visa. However, a Chinese visa and a Tibet entry permit are two different things. A Tibet Travel Permit is like an entrance ticket, and it is not stamped on your passport like those in the visas. Tibet is a part of China and there is just one visa required to travel to Tibet, that is the Chinese visa. You can apply for a Chinese tourist visa in your home country or at most other Chinese embassies around the world if you are visiting Tibet from mainland China. However, you must get a Group Chinese Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu to enter Tibet from Nepal. You will not be allowed to utilize a Chinese visa obtained elsewhere; it must be obtained through the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.

Keep your Tibet Travel Permit in a secure location since you’ll need to show it when you exit from the country.

It is simple for any traveler to obtain a Tibet travel permit. At the same time, if you don’t have the appropriate knowledge, it may seem difficult. The information presented here is based on our local professional expertise. We hope this information will make traveling to Tibet easier for you.

Who requires a Tibet Travel Permit?

To enter Tibet lawfully, all foreigners should get a Tibet Travel Permit. Tibet permits are now offered to 178 nations that have maintained diplomatic relations with China. It comprises residents of the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Bhutan, Spain, and other western and Asian visitors. The below table shows the information about who needs and who doesn’t need a Tibet Travel Permit. 

Who needsWho doesn’t needWho can’t get one
International VisitorsCitizens of HK SARDiplomat
Chinese living in TaiwanCitizens of Macau SARJournalist
Overseas Chinese having Chinese IDGovernment Officials
Indians Visiting Ngari

Note: Diplomats, journalists, and government officials also need a Tibet entry permit but only the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office can handle their Tibet permit application.

Indians visiting Manasarovar, Mt. Kailash, or any other parts of Ngari (western Tibet) should book their tour and obtain a Tibet Travel Permit through a Nepali or Indian travel agency that works with the TAR’s Foreign Affairs Office or the Pilgrim Center. Moreover, if you reside in Hong Kong or Macau, you don’t need to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit. However, you must possess a home return permit and Hongkong/Macau passport. 

If you have any doubts regarding obtaining a Tibet Travel Permit, please contact us. Himalayan Glacier is here to help you with your Tibet Travel Permit application in a hassle-free way. We’ll take care of securing your permissions as your dependable tour operator. One of our professional travel advisors will contact you as soon as possible with more information.

Himalayas from Tibetan Side
Himalayas from Tibetan Side

How to get a Tibet Travel Permit? 

Since 2008, solo travel to Tibet has been prohibited; instead, you must pre-arrange your trip with a licensed travel agent. It means that it is also impossible for you to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit on your own. It is, without a doubt, the most important travel paperwork that every international traveler must receive before approaching Tibet. However, you may only apply with the aid of a certified local travel agency. Please keep in mind that the Tibetan Tourism Bureau does not accept applications from individuals. Likewise, the permission is not immediately accessible, so you should allow additional time to apply before traveling to Tibet.

However, you don’t need to panic as we are here to assist and guide you through the process of obtaining a Tibet Travel Permit. As an authorized travel agency, we will assist you to obtain your travel permit. The process of obtaining a Tibet travel permit varies as per the starting destination you choose. 

1.    Entering Tibet through Mainland China

  • To begin, speak with a travel specialist about your Tibet vacation plans and schedule. Then decide on your travel plan and book accordingly.
  • Second, you must apply for a Chinese visa at the Chinese Embassy in your place of origin. The most frequent sort of tourist visa is an “L” visa (Chinese Tourist Visa). You will receive your Chinese Visa when you have submitted your application and paid the visa cost.
  • Thirdly, you must email the travel consultant your important papers, such as a scanned copy of your passport and your Chinese Visa, at least 20 days ahead of time. The Tibet travel partner of your travel consultant will apply for a Tibet permit with the Tibet Tourism Bureau.
  • Before entering Tibet, the Tibet Tourism Bureau will review your paperwork and provide your travel consultant with a Tibet Travel Permit in 7 days.
  • Finally, before boarding the airplane or taking the train to Lhasa, a travel consultant will issue you your travel permit. In some situations, they may also send it to your hotel in mainland China through express delivery.

2.    Entering Tibet through Nepal 

  • Similarly, if you are planning to visit Tibet via Nepal, you must follow some processes to get permission, which is listed below:
  • Firstly, you must book your Tibet trip with a local travel agency by selecting the desired itinerary and making a deposit to complete the tour contract. You must also send a photo of your passport through email to the travel agency. 
  • Second, the travel agency will collect all your travel papers and submit the Tibet travel permit application to the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB). Then, TTB will grant the permission and submit the visa invitation letter to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu within 8-9 days.
  • Thirdly, you must arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, at least 3 days before entering Tibet. You must complete the Group Visa application form and send the original passport, a personal photo, and the Chinese Group Visa cost to your travel consultant. 
  • Your travel agency will send your Chinese Group Visa to your accommodation in Kathmandu. 
  • Finally, after completing all the required formalities, you will enter Tibet via flight or drive with the assistance of a Chinese Group Visa. Your Tibetan guide will keep your Tibet Travel Permit ready when you reach Lhasa airport or arrive at the Gyirong border by road. After this, you will begin your interesting and unforgettable adventure in Tibet.

However, if you are unclear on how to obtain a Tibet entry permit, please contact us and one of our travel advisors will get back to you with further details.

How long does it take to get a Tibet permit?

Normally, it takes 8-9 working days for the Tibet Tourism Bureau to complete your Tibet Travel Permit. After TTB issues the permit, your travel consultant will deliver it to your accommodation in mainland China or hand it over to your Tibetan guide. It might take extra 3-4 days to deliver your permit. So, we recommend that you send photocopies of your passport and your Chinese visa at least 20 days before your trip to Tibet. Moreover, during the high season to visit Tibet (April to October) and the season of Chinese festivals, it takes more time to process your Tibet permit application and for delivery as well. In such cases, it is good to communicate with your travel agency a few days before starting your Tibet tour and confirm the Tibet Travel Permit. 

Himalayan Glacier will help you secure your Tibet permit within 4-5 days in rare emergency instances. During such a situation, you must pay additional fees.

How much does a Tibet permit cost?

In most cases, a Tibet entry permit cost is included in your Tibet package and does not need any further payment. While you are planning for a Tibet trip, most of the travel agencies provide Tibet permit service for free, and make sure to deliver it to you before heading towards Tibet. If you are entering Tibet from Nepal, then you need to obtain the China Group Visa Application. For this purpose, your travel agency will charge you a meagre fee to handle the Chinese Group Visa at the Chinese Embassy in Nepal. Likewise, they may also charge a negligible amount for handling your Tibet travel permit application and delivering it to you, on your behalf. Please keep in mind that it is not possible to avail your Tibet Travel Permit by applying online.

If you have any further queries concerning the Tibet travel permit cost, please contact us. Our travel advisor will go through all the costs for your Tibet trip with you. All you need to do is, get in touch with us!

How to apply for a Tibet travel permit?

Unlike the regular Chinese visa, the Tibet Travel Permit application must be coordinated with the Tibet Tourism Bureau through a licensed travel consultant. You must submit your Tibet permit application in Tibet because it can only be handled there by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Moreover, to apply for a permit, you will need help from an authorized travel agency as Tibet Travel Permit without a tour is not possible. Furthermore, you must also verify the details of your trip, such as the itinerary, entrance, and return dates. All these details must be included in the Tibet permit. To apply for a permit, you must also provide the following papers along with the Tibet permit application:

Documents required for Tibet Travel Permit Application

1. Passport

  • Your passport, through which you have applied for a Chinese visa, must be valid for at least six months 
  •  If you have a Chinese visa on your previous passport that is no longer valid, you must provide both passports to your travel agency. While in Tibet, you’ll also need to bring both the passports.

 2. Chinese Visa/Chinese Group Visa

  • While entering Tibet from another area in China, you must apply for a Chinese Visa from the Chinese Embassy in your home country.
  • If you are entering Tibet from Nepal, you have to get a Chinese Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • In case if you already have a Chinese Visa on your passport, you have to cancel it to get the Chinese Group Visa.

If you want guidance with your Tibet Travel Permit, Himalayan Glacier can assist you. We will aid you with the Tibet Travel Permit application as we know exactly how to do it in a hassle-free manner. We have many Tibet travel itineraries based on your interests and needs. Please contact one of our travel experts.

How to get a Tibet travel permit from Kathmandu, Nepal?

Nepal is the only global gateway to Tibet. You need not to apply for a Chinese visa if you are visiting Tibet through Nepal. All visitors entering Tibet from Nepal need to apply for a Chinese Group Visa through the Chinese Embassy in Nepal. This is the only nation where you may obtain a Chinese Group Visa. To obtain a Chinese Group Visa, you must plan and organize your vacation through a certified travel operator in Tibet. Three days before your journey to Tibet, the Tibet Tourism Bureau will issue a Visa invitation to the Chinese Embassy in Nepal.

The Chinese Group Visa takes around three working days to process. The corresponding travel agency in Nepal will assist you in obtaining a visa. A group visa, unlike the Chinese visa, is not marked on your passport and enables just one-time entry into China. Likewise, it will contain all the personal details of all group members, as well as the arrival and departure dates. Moreover, the Chinese Group Visa cost is divided into two parts: the visa fee and the processing fee. Depending on the number of tourists in a group, the processing charge ranges from $20 to $45 per person. Similarly, you will require the following papers to apply for a Group Visa:

  • Application form
  • Passport with a validity period of at least six months
  • Copies of passports and prior Chinese visas (if you have any)
  • Passport-sized photograph

Please contact Himalayan Glacier if you are interested in booking a Tibet trip from Nepal or customizing your travel plan. You just need to fill out an application and pay for the visa based on your trip date and citizenship. We will handle the rest of the process and provide you your visa once it is approved. 

Sample of a Tibet Travel Permit/Tibet Entry Permit
Sample of a Tibet Travel Permit/Tibet Entry Permit (By 西藏自治区旅游局 / Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region – 西藏中国旅行社 / Tibet China Travel International LTD., Public Domain)

What are the other permits required for a Tibet tour?

In actuality, even if you have a Tibet Travel Permit, you are not permitted to leave Lhasa. If you wish to go outside Lhasa, such as EBC or Mt. Kailash, you must first get other permits, such as an Aliens’ Travel Permit and a Military Permit. However, you don’t need to worry about obtaining these permits since your Tibetan guide will assist you to obtain them correctly when you arrive in Lhasa and prepare everything for your subsequent visit following the day trip in Lhasa. Some other permits that you need for a Tibet tour are:

1. Alien’s Travel Permit

The Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Tibet issues an Alien’s Travel Permit, commonly known as the PSB Permit. Typically, travelers seek to visit Tibet’s unexplored locations, such as the Everest Base Camp in Shigatse and the Samye Monastery in Tsedang. You can apply for it as soon as you get to Lhasa. Your Tibetan guide will submit the necessary paperwork (passport, Chinese Visa/Chinese Group Visa, and Tibet Travel Permit) on your behalf to PSB’s Foreign Affairs Division. It usually takes a few hours and costs 50 CNY for each participant. 

2.  Military Travel Permit

The Military Office in Lhasa issues Military Permits. Military Travel Permits are required for traveling to some distant military-sensitive locations, including Mt. Kailash and eastern Tibet. It usually takes 10-15 business days. Moreover, you must apply through a travel agent. Likewise, you must bring a copy of your passport and a Chinese Group Visa/Chinese visa. We recommend that you apply for it before traveling to Tibet as it takes a long time to process. You need this permit to visit the three regions in Tibet – the Ngari region, the Nyingchi region, and the Chamdo region.

3. Foreign Affairs Permit

To go to some distant places that are highly sensitive, like Mt. Kailash and eastern Tibet, you will need to get a Foreign Affair Permit in addition to a Military Travel Permit. The Foreign Affairs Office in Lhasa issues Foreign Affairs Permits. In case you are visiting western Tibet including Tholing and Tsaparang, the Cultural Antiquities Department grants Foreign Affairs Permits. It usually takes 10-15 business days. Moreover, you must apply through a travel agent. Furthermore, you must bring a copy of your passport and a Chinese Group Visa/Chinese visa. We recommend that you apply for it before traveling to Tibet as it takes a long time to process.

Recent condition of Tibet travel

2020/2021 has been a difficult year for the entire world, and it is not yet done. However, as long as we remain optimistic, brighter days are on its way. Tibet trip has been open to tourists living in Mainland China, foreign ex-pats, and some others. They need to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit but there have been few changes in the documents requirement, which are as follows:

  • Copy of your passport and visa or residence permit
  • Acknowledgment letter from your employment company (including full name, passport number, nationality, and relationship with the host organization)
  • 3 months non-departure record verification letter given by your workplace or the neighborhood residential committee. 
  • Screenshot of the health green code
  • Covid 19 test results within 7 days to apply for a Travel entry permit. 
  • Result of Covid 19 within 48 hours to take an airplane or train to Tibet.

We hope that our information on how to get a Tibet Travel Permit clears up any of your uncertainties. When you know the best time to visit Tibet (April-October), it is always wise to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit in advance. It will provide full authority to enjoy the peach blooms in Nyingchi or explore the century-old temples and caves. Remember, it is not hard to apply for Tibet Travel Permit if you are with an experienced local agency and a professional Tibetan guide. 

So far, Himalayan Glacier has catered to thousands of western tourists. The customer’s decision is always our primary priority. As a result, we give useful information on important elements associated with Tibet Travel Permit to ensure that your trip runs well from the beginning until the end. Moreover, you may be perplexed about how to organize all these travel papers. You can simply contact us with your intended location in Tibet. Our travel advisor will notify you on this. We guarantee that you will receive all the Tibet permits on time, and all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy a thrilling Tibet trip. Hurry up and book your trip!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it possible to travel solo in Tibet?

No, it is not feasible to travel to Tibet without the assistance of a tour guide. All overseas visitors must coordinate with a travel agency. Himalayan Glacier can design your vacation schedule and apply for the Chinese Group Visa and Tibet Travel Permit on your behalf as Tibet Tour specialists. Furthermore, a local Tibetan guide is mandatory as they are the ones to assist you during your Tibet vacation including transportation.

Please contact us and we will assist you in planning your next Tibet tour.

Can I apply for a Tibet permit directly with the Tibet Tourism Bureau?

No, you cannot apply for a Tibet Travel Permit directly, but you may obtain one through a local travel company that provides Tibet tour services. Likewise, travel agencies can no longer assist individual visitors with Tibet permits due to severe government requirements. The travel agency must submit your comprehensive tour schedule, including travel itinerary, entrance, and exit dates, to the Tourism Bureau when applying for the Tibet Travel Permit on your behalf. So, after you’ve obtained your permission, you won’t be able to modify your travel plan or timetable.

When will the Tibet Travel Permit be checked?

There are just a few locations or entrance points where authorities/departments will examine your Tibet Travel Permit. If you enter Tibet from the mainland, you must display your travel permission to the authorities at the railway station and Lhasa Gonggar Airport before boarding the train or aircraft. You must present your original permission for the flight and train from Chongqing, Xi’an, and Lanzhou to Lhasa. 

Similarly, if you enter Tibet by land from Kathmandu, you must present your Tibet permit upon crossing the border at Gyirong Border. In addition, if you are flying into Tibet from Nepal, you must present your permit at Lhasa Gonggar Airport. As you go beyond Lhasa, your Tibet permission will be examined many times as you pass through various checkpoints. Your Tibetan guide will always keep your Tibet permit safe and secure. 

Where can I acquire a Tibet Permit?

It will rely on your travel path to Tibet whether you fly to Tibet from any major Chinese city or take a train. In such a scenario, you will get your permit in the hotel where you will be staying before traveling to Lhasa. In an emergency, a travel agency even offers it to you at the airport.

Don’t stress about the process; all you have to do is email us the necessary paperwork, and our experts will handle the rest! We will plan your Tibet tour, including obtaining a Tibet Travel Permit and any other permits that are deemed necessary.

About the author

A leading adventure & tour operator in the Himalayas since 1992, Himalayan Glacier Adventure & Travel Company® is the number. 1 guide service adventure choreographer on Mount Everest Base Camp and beyond. Continuing its decades-old legacy, Himalayan Glacier is a little different from other adventure & tour operators. Each of our holidays is truly a tailor-made package which we design for all ages, groups, families & solo travelers. We have veteran mountaineering leaders who have been into this industry for several decades. So, we offer you complete choice and freedom to explore the real pleasure of traveling.

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