Are you heading to Tibet and need a Tibet Travel Permit? Find out what you need on this page dedicated to providing information a foreign adventurer needs for travel in Tibet.
As a travel destination that is beyond compare, there are many reasons Tibet has such appeal. Incredible history, reverent traditions, and a beautiful culture that endures in its people. It’s any wonder that authorities see fit to ensure visitors are serious about their experience by making them apply for not just one, but two visas before entry. Yes, it’s true. One of the first things you should know about a Tibet Travel Permit is that an ordinary China travel visa does not cover you for entry to this beautiful region. If you are traveling to other parts of China as well as Tibet, requirements are such that you will need both a China visa and a Tibet Travel Permit. Even expat Chinese who no longer hold a Chinese passport are required to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit.
We explain the technicalities of the visa application below, together with other useful information about your Tibet Travel Permit that will help ensure you enjoy a smooth journey.
What you need to know about a Tibet Travel Permit
A Tibet Travel Permit must be obtained prior to departure, just as your ordinary China travel (tourist) visa. However, unlike the ordinary China travel visa, which is issued by the Chinese embassy (or consulate) or China Visa Application Centre in your country of origin, a Tibet Travel Permit is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Expect passport checks that look for both, even though travel to Tibet is still considered ‘in country’.
Applying through a registered travel agent in Tibet, you will need a valid passport and Chinese visa for your Tibet Travel Permit, noting that your passport must have a minimum of six months validity. Processing usually takes approximately two weeks, however we recommend allowing at least three weeks for processing in advance of your Tibet trip.
Other important things to know about a Tibet Travel Permit
There are some other important things to be aware of when making arrangements for your trip to Tibet.
First, if you want to travel independently in Tibet, you will have to rethink that plan. Travel in Tibet must be arranged by a registered travel agent based in Tibet. This applies whether you’re traveling solo or with a group. Pre-booked travel arrangements must provide for accommodation and transport while in Tibet.
Quite simply, there’s limited scope for spontaneity on your Tibet travels, particularly given that your Tibet Travel Permit only covers travel to places shown on the permit. Better still, communicate with your travel agent about where you want to visit before making the application, otherwise you may find yourself disappointed. Plans cannot be changed once you’re in Tibet.
If you have your eye on going further afield, you will need to apply for an Alien Travel Permit (ATP) (issued by Foreign Affairs at Lhasa PSB). It will definitely be worth the effort, because the ATP allows travel to amazing destinations with even more remarkable sights. Local tour operators will help to apply for these permits, which are usually completed in a couple of hours during your visit in Lhasa.
The ATP covers travelers for exploration in the following locations.
|Shigatse||Sakya Monastery, North Base Camp Mount Everest, Rongbuk Monastery|
|Tsetang||Samye Monastery, Valley of the Kings, Changdruk Temple, Yungbulakang Palace|
|Gyantse||Palcho Monastery, Kubum Stupa|
|Ngari Region||Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar|
|Nyingchi||Pagsum Lake,Namcha Barwa|
|Chamdo Region||Rawok Lake, Galden Jampaling Monastery, Lhegu Glacier|
Travel as a foreigner also means you won’t be able to board public buses in Tibet. Instead, you must do all travel in the region as part of an organised tour. This also applies if you are traveling to Tibet from Nepal. On arrival, you will be required to join a group tour and then travel on a group visa. Regulations may require travelers in Tibet to surrender their Tibet Travel Permit to the tour guide until departure from the region.
Where do you apply for a Tibet Travel Permit?
Unlike an ordinary China visa, application for a Tibet Travel Permit must be coordinated with the Tibet Tourism Bureau by a registered travel agency. You will need to provide the following details: full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport number, occupation, and copies of your China visa and passport (if the applicant’s visa is not a tourist visa then additional proof is needed).
Need help with your Tibet Travel Permit? We can do that for you. As we assist our customers with all travel arrangements in and to Tibet, we will assist you with the application process. Foreign visitors to Tibet are not permitted to board a train or flight to Lhasa without a Tibet Travel Permit, so it makes sense for your China travel agency to facilitate this process. There can be some confusion with the visa application process, as applications for both an ordinary China visa and the Tibet Travel Permit require evidence of each. With our knowledge of the process, we can step you through to ensure you meet all documentation requirements.
Looking for more information about a Tibet Travel Permit for travel in Tibet? Why not reach out to our team of specialist China travel consultants. We stay abreast of all changes to China visas, including the Tibet Travel Permit and the Alien Travel Permit. Having delivered thousands of bespoke China tours tailored specifically for western travelers, we understand your once in a lifetime trip to China starts well before departure, that’s why we provide useful information about important details on topics like visas to help make your arrival and travels run smoothly from start to finish.