Everything you need to know about Tibet Travel Permit
When you visit Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), in addition to Chinese visa you need a Tibet Travel Permit. While it might seem to be confusing, the process is actually simple as travel agency will do most of the work for you.
Tibet Travel Permit is the official document on two pages. On the first page, there is an information about the tourist. On the second page, there is an outlined itinerary. Once the itinerary is approved by the Tibetan Tourism Bureau, you are allowed to visit only the places in this itinerary. That’s why it is important to plan your visit in advance, as it is not always possible to change your itinerary.
The permit is usually issued within 15-20 days. However, processing time can be longer, when the Tourism Bureau is closed for National holidays or during the local festivals.
How to apply for Tibet Travel Permit
First, you need to obtain a passport if you don’t have it yet. Passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your travel dates.
After that, you can apply for a Chinese visa if you don’t have it. You can apply for it in the country where you reside. If you are planning to enter Tibet from Nepal, you will need Chinese group visa, that can be obtained in Kathmandu. Here are more details on how to apply for Chinese visa»
When your Chinese visa is ready, we will need a scan or clear photo of your passport page with your photo and the visa page. Our travel agency will take it from here. We will apply for all necessary permits for you.
Finally, once the permit is ready, we will send you an original permit if you are taking a flight to Tibet and a clear copy if you are boarding the train. If you are taking the train, simply print out the copy and keep it with you. If you are traveling from Nepal, all you need is the Chinese group visa, and our guide will meet you at the airport with your permit.
Is there more than one permit
Depending on where you are traveling in Tibet, you might need more than one permit. However, you don’t need to worry about it as your travel agency arranges everything.
Here are the different types of permits:
Alien Travel Permit
If you are traveling to:
the Everest region or further to the West, To Gyirong, Kailash and Ngari, or
- To the East of Tsedang, to Samye, Nyunchi: Ranwo Lake, Basum lake, or
- Sakya or Shalu monasteries near Shigatse
in addition to Tibet Travel permit, you need an Alien Travel Permit. Your guide will arrange it for you once you are in Tibet. We cannot apply for in advance. It is obtained in Gyantse, Shigatse or Tsedang (depending on your further destination). It takes 1-2 hours for your guide to receive it.
Some areas, mostly bordering other countries, also require Military Permit. You will see it if you travel to Gyirong border between Tibet and Nepal, Manasarovar lake, Mount Kailash, Guge Kingdom and Ngari in far Western Tibet. Your tour guide will submit necessary paperwork to receive this permit.
The Bottom Line
- You need both Chinese visa and a Tibet Travel Permit to visit Tibet
- Once you have your Chinese visa and a valid passport, it only takes 15-20 days to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit.
- The travel agency will apply for all necessary permits for you, based on your itinerary. You don’t need to worry about any of the Travel Permits.
More Information about Chinese Visa
Detailed instructions on how to fill out an application, requirements to the documents and photograph you submit.
If you are planning to visit Tibet from Nepal, you will need a Chinese Group Visa. You can apply for it in Kathmandu. This article explains the process in details: requirements, processing time and cost.