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Tibet Travel Permit & Entry Visa

Tibet Travel Permit, also known as the Tibet Visa, is a single entry visa and the foremost and compulsory for foreign passport holders to enter Tibet. Issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, known as TTB permit. Without the permit, you can’t board a flight or train to Tibet or cross the border from Nepal. You will not be able to get other permits to travel to Tibet further.

For all international tourists. And this permit allows you to visit places in Lhasa and its surroundings. If you need to go further to restricted areas like Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kailash, Samye Monastery, etc. extra permits (like Alien’s Travel Permit and Military Permit) are also a must. For all of you who need to get to Tibet travel permit for your lifetime journey in Tibet, we offer the most professional and easy-to-understand guideline to get to the permit successfully.

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One of the most common questions we get asked is How to get a Tibet Travel Permit! If you have been looking online for Tibet travel information, you have probably come across multiple sites that seem to contradict each other regarding the travel regulations in Tibet. Many websites I have come across, particularly those from travel companies in North America and Europe, state regulations that are outdated by as many as 15 years! Inaccurate travel info can be extremely frustrating when trying to plan an adventure to Tibet. Here’s a little secret: Getting a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) is not difficult! It’s actually very easy!

The latest news about Tibet travel permit Updated on Dec.8th, 2019

Nowadays, it becomes much easier to get Tibet travel permits for international tourists. The processing only takes 8-9 working days, the shortest duration since 2008. But we still recommend you'd better apply for it 20 days before heading to Tibet.

In the past of 2019, We have successfully processed thousands of Tibet permit applications, without a single failure. we promise to offer you the most reliable Tibet permit service and beyond for your Tibet tour in 2020 and 2021.

We offer the following services:

  • Tibet Travel permit application for travelers entering Tibet from mainland China
  • Special Chinese group visa application for travelers entering Tibet from Nepal
  • Alien's Travel permit and Military permit for travelers visiting closed areas in Tibet.
  • Tibet Travel Permit Application for Free
  • Once you sign your Tibet Tour with us we'll apply your Tibet Visa free of charge
  • Permit to Visit Mount Everest

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How to get Tibet Travel Permit

Travel permits for Tibet are only issued from a Tibet travel agency, You cannot get this permit yourself and it cannot be obtained from a China Embassy or Consulate. If you plan to go from Mainland China to Tibet, you will need to get a China Tourist Visa from a China Embassy/Consulate nearest you. You will want to apply for your China Tourist Visa about 8 to 12 weeks before you plan to arrive in China.

Once you have your visa, you will need to email it, along with the information page of your passport, to the travel agency you are working with. You will also need to finalize with your travel company the exact travel itinerary and travel dates you will follow in Tibet. If you already reside in China and have a resident, student, work or business visa, you do the same procedure, but will also need to send in a letter (in Chinese and stamped) from your school/business/employer stating that you are going to Tibet tour. With this information, the travel company will then go to the Tibet Tourism Bureau to get your permits for you. It is a very easy process that only requires you to send a few short emails.

Tibet Travel Permits are ONLY issued to travelers who are on an organized journey to Tibet. You must have a private vehicle, driver, tour guide, official travel itinerary as well as a permit. You cannot just get a permit and then travel to Tibet on your own.

What are the Aliens’ Travel Permit

The Aliens’ Travel Permit, also called travel permit is the must-permit in the restricted areas, such as Everest Base Camp, Mt.Kailash, Syaka Monastery, Samye Monastery, Ranwu and etc. This permit is issued by Foreign Affairs Section in the local Public Security Bureau in Tibet as it should be applied for with your original passport. So you will not get this permit before the tour.

An Example:

If you plan to visit Mt Everest, you can only get this permit at Public Security Bureau in Shigatse, as Mt. Everest located in Shigatse.

Note: Your guide will help you to get this permit at Public Security Bureau. It is easily obtainable at your arrival. Wait for your guide for about 30 minutes or more depending on the number of tourists there.

Tibet Military Permit

Ngari, Nyingchi, and Nagqu are the military sensitive regions in Tibet, so the Military Permit is a necessary document in these areas. But it is rarely used as only a few special tours involving those places. Original passport and Tibet permit are the documents to apply for the Military Permit which is only issued by the Lhasa military office. Usually, applying for the Military Permit takes one or two weeks.

Necessary Documents to Apply for the Permit

Once you confirm your tour with us, you need to send us a scanned copy of your passport and the Chinese tourist visa and offer real and true personal information such as full name, nationality, and occupation at least 20 days in advance by email.

Travelers can apply for an individual permit or a group permit which can be only handled by travel agencies in China. It is the absolutely wise choice to ask a travel agency to handle the Tibet Travel Permit.

When to apply a Tibet Travel Permit

In order to travel in the restricted regions, it is better for foreign travelers to apply for the permit at least 20 days prior to the date of Travel. And it is at least 10 days prior to the date of Travel for a tour to the open places such as Lhasa (the capital of Tibet), and Mt. Everest.

Restricted Regions in Tibet

Although visitors can travel in Tibet, some parts in Tibet are still not open to the public. However, travelers with a travel permit can travel in the restricted regions. The restricted regions are consisting of Tsedang, Shigatse, Gyangtse, Ngari Region, Nyingchi Region, and Chamdo Region.

Additional Information about the Tibet Permit

Foreign travelers can go to Tibet from both China and Nepal. The Tibet permit is on the must-prepared document list on the journey from other cities in China to Tibet. The permit is necessary when travelers check in the airport or travel on the train to Tibet.

Entering Tibet via Nepal by Land or Air

If travelers plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get Tibet group visa from the Chinese Embassy in Katmandu. Travelers need to keep a fax copy of the permit from the Embassy.

FAQs about Tibet Travel Permit

Is a Tibet Travel Permit the same as a Tibet Visa?

No, the permits required for Tibet are not a Tibet Visa. They are more similar to an entrance ticket to a National Park. Though your China visa and passport copy are needed to obtain your permits, nothing is stamped or placed inside your passport. As Tibet is not a country, there is no such thing as a Tibet Visa. The only visa you need is a visa for China.

Does Everyone Need a Tibet Travel Permit?

Yes, everyone is required to have a Tibet Travel Permit. There are no exceptions. Some countries, such as Singapore, Mauritius, Japan, and Mongolia do not require a China Visa as they can get one upon arrival. However, these nationalities and ALL others still require travel permits for Tibet. If you are from a country that does not require to get a visa in advance for China, all you will need to do is email a copy of your passport’s information/picture page to the travel company you are using.

Can Anyone Get a Tibet Travel Permit?

The Tibet Tourism Bureau will not issue travel permits to people holding a diplomatic passport, holding a journalist visa or to ethnic Tibetans holding a foreign passport. In the past, certain nationalities were also not able to get a Tibet Travel Permit, but as in 2019, ALL nationalities can travel to Tibet.

How long does it take to get a Tibet Travel Permit?

Before 2019, it took a minimum of 15 days for a Tibet Travel Permit to be issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. However, a recent news article from the China Daily states that starting in 2019 the time will be cut to just half that time. I still recommend contacting a travel company at least 2 months in advance to make sure that you have enough time to plan your journey, finalize your travel itinerary and get your permits processed and issued.

Do I Need Other Permits for Tibet?

Depending on which parts of Tibet you plan to go to, you might require additional permits besides a Tibet Travel Permit. These permits could include an Alien Travel Permit, Military Permit, and a Border Permit. However, don’t worry about these. If you are using a reputable travel agency, they will already know all of the permits that you will need and they will get ALL of them for you. You don’t need to do anything except get your own China visa and email the travel agency your visa and passport information page. The travel agency will take care of everything else!

What does a Tibet Travel Permit Look Like?

The permit has 2 pieces of paper (full size or close to full size) that are normally stapled together. The first page is written only in Chinese and Tibetan. It contains the travel agency name you are using, your permit number, the travel dates you will be in Tibet, the city you will be entering Tibet from, your travel route in Tibet and the city you will depart Tibet too. The permit usually has at least 4 red government stamps on it along with one blue stamp. The second page lists everyone’s names, birthdates, passport number, gender, nationality, and profession. This page will also have at least 2 red government stamps and one blue stamp on it.

How do I use my Tibet Travel Permit?

If you plan to fly from Mainland China to Tibet, you normally will need to spend one night at a hotel so that your permit can be mailed to you. When checking in for your flight, you will show your permit along with your passport. Your permit will then be checked again before going through security. It will then be checked again once you exit the Lhasa Airport. All of these places will just take a quick look at your permit. It will not take long. Once you meet your guide at the airport, your guide will take your Tibet Travel Permit from you and you likely will not see it again. Your guide will keep it as it will be checked throughout your time in Tibet at checkpoints.

If you plan to take the train from Mainland China to Tibet, a copy of your permit is all that is needed. The travel agency you use will email it to you for you to print out in color. You will then show a copy of your permit when checking in for your train and again once more inside the train (the attendant will come and look at it). It will then be checked again once you exit the Lhasa Train Station. All of these permit checks will be very quick.

What about going from Nepal to Tibet?

The above information is for travelers going from Mainland China to Tibet. But, what about if you plan to go from Nepal to Tibet directly? These travel regulations are slightly different, but also easy. If you plan to go from Nepal directly to Tibet, you will need to get a Group China Visa from the China Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. If you get a China visa in advance before arriving in Nepal, you will NOT be able to use that visa. The travel agency you use will assist you in getting this special type of visa in Kathmandu.

Tibet Travel Permit (must obtain before your trip)

In addition to Tibet Travel Permit, you should have some other extra supporting documents, if you want to travel further places outside of Lhasa, including Alien’s Travel Permit, Border Permit and Military Permit. If you travel Tibet from Nepal, you should firstly have a Tibet Group Visa, instead of Chinese Visa provided to make all your Tibet permits approved.