According to the regulations of China National Tourism Administration (Now: Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China), International tourists (non-Chinese passport holders), overseas Chinese (with no China’s ID Card or Chinese passport) and Taiwan citizens (with no China’s ID Card) are required to get a Tibet Travel Permit to travel to Tibet and only authorized Tibet local tour operator can apply for it. Tibet Permit is the required document paper for a Tibet tour.
What is Tibet Travel Permit?
Tibet Travel Permit is also known as Tibet Entry Permit, Tibet Visa, Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB Permit) or Tibet Tour Confirmation Letter (旅藏确认函). It is issued only by Tibet Tourism Bureau in Tibet and is an official travel document paper which allows non-Chinese ID Card holders to enter into and travel to Tibet. It is the most important and compulsory permit which you have to obtain before going to Tibet.
Actually, when you receive your Tibet Travel Permit, you will find that Tibet Travel Permit has two sheets of paper. The first paper mainly lists your Tibet tour information (group number, number of tourists, starting and ending travel dates, tour destinations), department, security QR code, number, tour operator, place of use, date of issuance and several official seals. The second paper contains group number, number of tourists and Travel Group List form (full name on passport, bath of date, passport number, gender, nationality and occupation).
All international tourists must bring these two pages together to travel to Tibet. Without any one of them or any error on it, you can NOT travel to Tibet and even can't board a flight or train to Tibet. So, please double check it before departure.
Who needs Tibet Travel Permit?
According to the policy of China National Tourism Administration (Now: Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China), the listed below persons needs a Tibet permit before touring to Tibet:
1) International tourists (who are non-Chinese passport holders), such as USA citizens, Australia citizen, Canada citizens, Singapore citizen, Malaysians, Japanese, Indians, the British, etc.
2) Overseas Chinese (who do not have China’s ID Card or Chinese passport), such as Chinese Americans, Chinese Malaysians, Chinese Singaporeans, Chinese Australians, Chinese Canadians, etc.
3) Taiwan citizens (who hold Home Return Card, Chinese: 台胞卡or台胞证)
Notes: Tourists from mainland Chinese (who hold China’s ID Card), Hong Kong or Macau (who hold Home Return Permit, Chinese 回乡证) do not need to apply for any permit to Tibet.
How Much is Tibet Travel Permit Cost?
Tibet Travel Permit is free of charge by Tibet Tourism Bureau. You can also see “No Commission Fee” words on your Tibet permit when you receive it.
But when applying for the Tibet Travel Permit, your travel agency need to spend much human and material resources. Therefore, you will be charged some fee, which is usually included in your Tibet tour cost. It is known that Tibet Travel Permit is free in tour cost inclusion part.
In addition, your Tibet permit can not be applied separately. Only when you book a Tibet tour with Tibet Tourism, all you need to do is to email your necessary documents to us. We will help you apply for all required permits to Tibet, including Tibet Travel Permit, Aliens’ Travel Permit, Military Permit, etc. Although we need to spend some time on application for permit, no application fee will be charged. Therefore, you can say that Tibet Travel Permit is free as indicated on the first page of Tibet Travel Permit.
How to Apply for Tibet Travel Permit? And Where to Get Tibet Permit?
Tibet Travel Permit is only issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB). In other cities or countries, there is no the institution to issue travelers’ Tibet permit. The Tibet permit application documents can only be submitted to Tibet Tourism Bureau via travel agency who was filed in TTB. TTB does not accept traveler’s permit application. Travelers are unable to apply for Tibet permit by themselves. Therefore, travelers can only get their Tibet Permit via travel agency, such as TibetTourism.
What is Tibet Permit Application Requirements?
Need to Know Before Applying:
1. Applying for a Tibet Travel Permit without a Tibet tour is impossible. Foreigners must book one Tibet tour firstly from a licensed local travel agency in Tibet who will help apply for your Tibet Travel Permit. You can’t only let travel agency to help you apply for the permit to Tibet and then travel to Tibet by yourself.
2. When applying for Tibet Travel Permit, you need to offer these valid documents. They included personal passport with 6 months validity, China tourist visa (L visa) with validity. If you hold other type of visa, you will need to offer the relevant certification or invitation letter.
3. It is better to offer these documents at lest 15 days before your Tibet tour beginning date, because all the permit application need at least 8 working days. But if you are traveling into restricted areas, such as Ngari Kailash region or Nyingchi Bomi region, you need more additional permits and documents which will take longer time.
4. Traveling to Tibet should strictly follow your Tibet Travel Permit. It means that you must enter into Tibet from the city you choose and visit destination in Tibet in order. For example, if Chengdu is confirmed as the gateway city to Tibet on your Tibet Travel Permit, you can only take a flight or train to Tibet from Chengdu. So, please pay attention to choose the gateway city.
5. A diplomat, journalist or a government official can not apply for Tibet permit via Tibet travel permit. Only the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office can handle your Tibet Permit application.
Indian citizens to visit Mount Kailash or Lake Manasarovar or other parts of Ngari in western Tibet, will be treated as pilgrims, and you need to book your Tibet Kailash tour and get Tibet permit via a Nepal travel agency or India travel agency that has cooperation with Foreign Affairs Office of TAR (governmental) or Pilgrim Center (non-governmental), short for Tibet-India pilgrim Reception Center.
Which Places to Use Tibet Travel Permit?
1. Railway Station: Entering into Tibet from mainland China city by Tibet Train
China National Railway Administration says that all foreign travelers need to have valid Tibet Travel Permit to take a train to Tibet. Tibet permit will be checked several times, especially when you are picking up Tibet train ticket from ticket window at railway station, getting into the train station, boarding your train on the railway platform, already on the train, and walking out of Lhasa Railway Station.
2. Airport: Entering into Tibet from mainland China city by flight
At the airport of mainland China city from which to Lhasa or Nyingchi, such as: Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing or Shanghai, your Tibet Travel Permit will be checked three times. They are when you are picking up your flight ticket and checking in your luggage, when you are passing the airport security, and when you are boarding your flight.
After you arrive at Lhasa Gonggar Airport, you will need to walk out from foreigners’ airport channel. Your Tibet Permit will be checked once again.
3. Airport: Entering into Tibet from Nepal by flight
At the Kathmandu Airport, you will not need to hold your permit but need to hold your passport and Tibet Group Visa to pick up flight ticket and then board your flight to Lhasa. At Lhasa airport, your Tibet tour guide will hold your Tibet Permit to pick you up at the foreign airport channel. Tibet Permit will be checked one time here.
4. Border Port: Entering into Tibet from Kathmandu by overland
If you take overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you will enter into Tibet via Gyirong Port or Zhangmu Port (now closed). When you pass the border, you Tibet tour guide will hold your Tibet Permit to pick you up there. Tibet Permit will be checked one time here.
5. Check Point:
If you take overland tour from Chengdu on the G318 Sichuan-Tibet Highway, from Lijiang/ Shangri-La on the G214 Yunnan-Tibet Highway, from Xining on the G109 Qinghai-Tibet Highway, or from Kashgar on the G219 Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, your Tibet tour guide will pick you up at the beginning city and hold your Tibet Permit for checking at the Check Point of province boundary.
In addition, there are many check points to check your Tibet Permit and passports. Your tour guide will help you.
Where to Receive Tibet Travel Permit?
1. At Hotel or Friend’s Home of mainland China city to receive original permit
If you take a flight from any city to Lhasa or a train to Lhasa from Lanzhou, Chongqing, Xian, your original Tibet Permit paper will be checked. So we will deliver your original permit to you by Shunfeng Express in advance, and you need to give us your hotel address and friend’s home address, receiver’s name and phone number, check-in date or reservation number.
2. At Airport of mainland China city to receive original permit
If you just have several hours transfer via mainland China city and then take flight to Lhasa, we can also arrange a local guide there to deliver your original permit to you at airport. In this way, there will be extra tour guide’ permit delivery service fee.
3. In Your Email to receive scanned colorful copies or your Tibet Permit
If you take a Qinghai-Tibet train to Lhasa from Chengdu or Xining, the staff at the Railway Station will not check your original Tibet Permit and he/she will check the colorful paper.
So we will not need to deliver your original permit to you but we will send the scanned colorful copies of permit to your email, and you need to print two sheets in color and then hold the colorful papers to pick up your train ticket and board your train to Lhasa. But at Lhasa Railway Station, your Tibet tour guide will hold your original Tibet Permit to pick you up.
4. At an overseas address (not recommended)
Most of clients hope to receive their Tibet Travel Permit in their home. It is not recommended and not guaranteed.
Because your Tibet Travel Permit is often issued within last few days, it is difficult to deliver it to overseas address by express. In addition, your Tibet Travel Permit is only one. It is easy to lose by international express and this will affect your trip to Tibet.
Notes: after you arrive at Lhasa, you need to give your original Tibet Travel Permit to your Tibet tour guide who will hold your permit during your Tibet trip and finally we need to submit your permit back to TTB.