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Tibet travel permit matters needing attention

If you want to extend to Tibet, you need a Chinese visa and Tibet Permit to visit the holy land. Tibet Travel Bureau starts to issue Tibet Travel Permit from late March every year. Travelers need to obtain several Tibet permits, including Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB Permit), Alien Travel Permit (PSB Permit) and Military Permit.

The following points are a list of Tibet Travel Permit FAQs. I was often asked by my clients in the past, so I collected it here. They are useful when you are designing your Tibet tour.

1. Do I need a visa to travel to Tibet?

Except China Visa, foreign tourists need another visa to travel to Tibet. It is Tibet Visa or named Tibet Entry Permit by Lhasa local travel agency. In addition, if you plan to visit remote regions, such as Mount Everest and Mount Kailash, you will need other Tibet Travel Permit incl. Aliens’ Travel Permit, Military Permit and Frontier Pass.

2. How to apply for Tibet Travel Permit 2020?

1) Think about where you will go into Tibet, from China or Nepal. If you from Nepal, you needn’t a China Visa;

2) Obtain a Chinese L Visa from Chinese Embassy in your home country with at least 6 months validity period;

3) Choose the way to Tibet, by flight or by train; which regions you will visit, such as Lhasa, Mount Everest, and Mount Kailash?

4) Find a reliable and local Tibet Travel Agency and tell them your needs, and let them arrange your tour and your Tibet Travel Permit

3. How long does it take to apply for Tibet Entry Permit?

Based on the permit application experience in 2016, a local travel agency need at least 8 days working days to apply for Tibet Entry Permit. If you need the permit to travel to Mount Kailash, it takes more days. Plus weekends and tourism bureau’s meeting time, a local travel agency need 15 days to get permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau.

4. How long will it be for tourists to receive Tibet Entry Permit?

Firstly, if tourists come to Tibet by train, you needn’t your original Tibet Travel Permit and just need a colorful-printed permit to board the train. If you fly to Lhasa, you will need the original Tibet Travel Permit to board the flight. In 2016, Travel Tibet China choose SF-express to deliver the original Tibet Travel Permit to customers’ hand, which takes at least 3 days to Chengdu, 4 days to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc. Considering the weather effect on flight, more days to leave for delivering permit. Plus 15 days to get permit for a local travel agency, tourist are recommend to leave 20 days to receive Tibet Entry Permit.

5. How much to apply for Tibet Entry Permit or how much is Tibet Permit Cost / Price?

Actually, Tibet Entry Permit can not be purchased from any local travel agency. It can only be processed when you reserved a Tibet itinerary with a local travel agency. They will apply for your Tibet Travel Permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau with your passport, China visa, Tibet itinerary, guide & driver information and get records from several security bureaus.

When you receive your Tibet Entry Permit, you will find that it is NO COMMISSION FEE. But the local travel agency will charge some for it because they need arrange the staff to work for it.

6. Can I travel independently in Tibet with Tibet Travel Permit?

Absolutely no, you can not travel independently in Tibet and even in Lhasa, but you can stay at hotel and stroll around the street by yourself. If you want to enter any tourist sites, you need at least a Tibetan tour guide to escort you. If you travel out of Lhasa, you need have an itinerary arranged by a local travel agency, tour guide and private vehicle. Any rumor that foreign tourists can travel in Tibet on their own is not true.

7. How to apply for Tibet Permit without Tour?

Sorry, now it is impossible. All regions you will travel in Tibet will be listed on your Tibet Entry Permit. If you needn’t a tour, a local travel agency is impossible to help you apply for your Tibet Entry Permit.

8. How to apply for Tibet Visa for Hong Kong residents?

The residents in Hong Kong and Macau needn’t the Tibet Entry Permit to Tibet, but their Chinese SAR passports and Home Return Permit (or Mainland Travel Permits) are needed.

For Taiwan citizens, they need apply for the Tibet Entry Permit. And Chinese people living overseas need to apply for the permit if they do not hold Chinese ID card.

9. How to apply for Tibet Visa for tourists with Indian passport?

For the ordinary Indian passport holders, when they come to Tibet and visit most of Tibet areas other than Ngari prefecture, then can get their Tibet Entry Permit as the usual foreign travellers.

For Indian passport holders to Ngri prefecture, you will be considered as a pilgrim even if you are not for religious purpose. There are only two organizations who can process Indian pilgrimage tour in Tibet: Foreign Affairs Office of TAR (governmental) and Pilgrim Centre (nor-governmental). Other local travel agency can not operate, but they can organize, design and sell.