Know Before You Go
Tibet Travel Guide
Let Us Help You Get a Tibet Travel Permit in 2015
As past recent years, due to Spring Festival holiday and official policies, Tibet Tourism Bureau will stop issue Tibet travel permits temporarily for Tibet tours from February 1st to March 31th. We suggest you plan your Tibet tour on suitable date. It would be better to ask us for accurate information before you make your travel schedule. Tibet travel permits are supposed to be reissued from April as usual.
While we understand that for many people, travel to Tibet is a dream of a lifetime, here, we at Tibettravelplanner, would like to do something for you, adhered by our commitment - just everything you want to know about Tibet travel!
Therefore, we're trying our best here and working closely with other Tibet travel agency to resolve the problem. Please fill out the following form and we'll make every effort to help you get a permit.
FAQs about Tibet Permits
1) What documents do I need to travel to Tibet?
There are overall five documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel freely in Tibet: a valid passport; a valid Chinese Visa, which you can apply for in Chinese Embassy in your country; Tibet Permit, which you have to obtain in order to enter Tibet; the Aliens' Travel Permit, when you are planning to travel to the "unopened areas" in Tibet which you can obtain after you arrive in Tibet; the Military Permit, which you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas. Some people call these permits "Tibet visa". Learn more about Tibet Permit and Aliens' Travel Permit.
2) How can I get the permits easily? Do I have to apply for them with an already purchased package?
The easiest way to solve the Tibet visa problem is to find a legal travel agency and book a tour with it. Travel agencies will assist you in applying for the permits only if you book a tour with them. No travel agency can provide "permit-only" service. Here is a note from Lonely Planet: "Lhasa PSB will NOT issue travel permits to individuals and will direct you to a travel agency. Agencies can arrange a travel permit to almost anywhere but only if you book a Land Cruiser, driver and a guide."
Since the government encourages group tours to Tibet, the permit is issued ONLY to tour groups traveling with a Chinese tour operator. Your travel agency will represent you to facilitate the application process. --- China Tibet Tourism Bureau
3) When should I apply for the Tibet permits? Would I be able to arrange them once I arrive in Lhasa?
You need to apply for the travel permit at least 10 days prior to your entry date. You do need to arrange for a Tibet travel permit before you arrive in Lhasa. Most agents can obtain a permit for you before you arrive if you e-mail them scanned copies of your passport and Chinese visa.
You can obtain the Aliens' Travel Permit once you're in Tibet.
4) How much does it cost to apply for the permits?
There is a service charge (by the government) to get the Tibet permit which is 7-10 US dollars per person.
5) What should I be aware of when apply for the China Visa?
It is advised that you do not mention your interest in Tibet travel when you apply for your China visa and then apply for the permit once you entered China. Otherwise, visa officer may reject your application and you won't get the visa to China.
6) What kind of information do I have to give when applying for the permits?
You may contact a local travel agency directly. It's quite easy for you to get a travel permit with their help. They will require the high quality scanned copies of your passport and China visa, and some information of yours, including your full name, gender, date of birth, passport number and nationality - all exactly the same as on your passport.
You will also be asked for your occupation because journalists and people that could be involved in political matters are categorized for more complicated procedures.
7) Do I need a double-entry visa if I come to Tibet from China mainland and return China mainland after the trip?
Travelling between Tibet and other Chinese cities is considered as domestic travel, so a single-entry visa will be enough.
8) How can I get Tibet permits if traveling from Nepal to Tibet?
If you are going to Tibet from Kathmandu, you'd better get China visa from Kathmandu because no matter you've already got the visa in your country or not, you must get a visa in Kathmandu, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal. Then you should contact a travel agency in Kathmandu for travel to Tibet overland from Nepal. You are not allowed to travel alone to this area.
9) Other Important Issues about Tibet Permit:
1. All kinds of people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
2. All the members in a group are required to provide the following information to their travel agency: a copy of China Visa; a copy of your passport (must be clear and high resolution); full names; your birthday; your current profession; your nationality; your gender. All the information must be true. Your travel agency will need to submit your information to Tibet Tourism Bureau who will strictly review before issuing the permits. Failure by one member to meet all the requirements will mean the whole tour group may be refused a permit.
3. After having a permit, a travel agency could buy you the air tickets, and you can pass the check-in at the airport and the check point reroute with the permit.
4. Only the guide could hold the permit after you establish yourself on Tibet land. You are not allowed to bring with it and travel to anywhere you want because except Lhasa you need another permit named as "Aliens' Permit". Otherwise if you are stopped by the police you will be sent out of Tibet or have trouble politically and economically. Furthermore, the travel agency which helped to get you the permit will also be in trouble.
Therefore seriously not any legitimate travel agency could SELL you the Tibet permit if you do not book a tour with them. Don't "buy" a travel permit only or you may get in trouble.