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Tibet Travel Permit

The Tibet Travel Permit, also known as the Tibet Visa, is a two-paper A4 size document (written with your itinerary in Tibet as well as your personal passport info) issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau and it’s required to travel into Tibet in addition to a Chinese Visa. There are several kinds of permits that vary according to the places travelers plan to visit. The most basic one is the Entry Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. All foreign tourists, Taiwanese and overseas Chinese tourists without a Chinese passport need an Entry Permit before they are allowed to enter Tibet. The only exception is the residents of Hong Kong and Macao holding Chinese passports or Home-Return-Certificate. All tourists can get the permit through a qualified travel agency except for journalists, diplomats and government officials, who have to go through the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.

Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit

To get the Entry Permit, the first required document is the Chinese Visa. Without it you can’t enter China. Tourists can apply for a Chinese Visa in the Chinese Embassy of their home country or in Hong Kong. 

When you fly or take the train to Lhasa you will need to show this document when check-in. There are a couple of requirements to get this Entry Permit.

1. You have to find an approved travel agency in China to help arrange your Tibet tour, because foreign citizens aren’t allowed to travel in Tibet independently. That is to say, you have to book a tour with that agency. Agencies are not allowed to sell just the permit to you; they must arrange vehicle, tour guide and etc to you.

2. You need to send your passport and Chinese visa copies by email to your travel agency so they can help you to apply for the permit in time. Generally you must do this at least 15 days before the tour starts. For tourists from Taiwan, it takes more than one month.

Chinese visa
Chinese visa

3. The permit cannot be mailed outside of China; if you fly from a Chinese city to Lhasa, you have to give your hotel name and address to your travel agency so that they can mail the permit there, you can get it upon check-in. If you take train from a Chinese city into Lhasa, the travel agency only needs to send you the e-permit by email, you have to print it out in color and bring along with you till you meet your guide in Lhasa.

If you have only the Tibet Entry Permit, you’re only allowed to travel somewhere near Lhasa. If you want to visit places like Mount Everest Base Camp, Samye Monastery in Tsedang, Mount Kailash in Nagri, Nyingchi and many others, then you need also the Aliens’ Travel Permit. This permit is issued by the police at the Public Security Bureau. That is to say, this permit can only be obtained after your arrival in Tibet. Usually it’s your tour guide to submit to the PSB for the Aliens’ Permit. It takes several hours and 50 RMB per person to receive the permit. If want to do a Tibet overland tour from Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai or Xinjiang then you have to get the PSB permit before your tour starts.

Aliens’ Travel Permit
Aliens’ Travel Permit

The last permit is the Military Area Entry Permit, which is required if tourists plan to travel to some militarily sensitive areas in Tibet. For example Mount Kailash and eastern Tibet are sensitive borders that also require the Foreign Affairs Permit besides the Military Area Entry Permit. In addition for Tholing and Tsaparang in western Tibet you will also need a permit from the local Cultural Antiquities Department. The Military Area Entry Permit is issued by the military affairs office and the Foreign Affairs Permit is issued by the Foreign affairs office in Lhasa. Usually it takes 10-15 working days to get them all. 

It's important to know that the government might not issue Tibet Travel Permits if there are any important political events or any indication of political or social unrest. This should be taken in consideration when planning a trip to Tibet. However it’s quite unlikely this to happen and if it happened the government would make an announcement about it. So don’t trust any unofficial information found on the Internet or rumors that people might spread. 

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  • How many types of travel permits there?

    How many types of travel permits there?

    There are actually three kinds of permits, and the Tibet Permit we often mention is the Tibet Entry Permit. We will send this permit to you, which will be checked before board on the train or flight.
  • How much is a Tibet Travel Permit?

    How much is a Tibet Travel Permit?

    The Tibet Tourism Bureau issues the travel permit at no charge, that is to say the permit itself costs no penny. However, please also note that there is no "permit-only" service, to get the Tibet travel permit, you have to book a pre-organized tour including tour guide,
  • Can I travel to Tibet without a Tibet Travel Permit?

    Can I travel to Tibet without a Tibet Travel Permit?

    The international tourists are not allowed to enter Tibet without Tibet Travel Permit according to the government policy. There are two ways you can enter Tibet, by train or by flight.
  • Where and when can I get Tibet Travel Permit?

    Where and when can I get Tibet Travel Permit?

    According to the rules, we can start to apply for the Tibet Permit about 20-30 days before your departure, and the permit will be issued to your Tibet operator about 5-7 days before your trip.
  • How to apply for Tibet Travel Permit?

    How to apply for Tibet Travel Permit?

    Since the foreigners are not allowed to travel into Tibet alone, so they can not apply for the Tibet Permit by themselves. So, you need to book a Tibet tour with a travel agency in Tibet, the tour includes guide, vehicle, accommodation and also the Tibet Permit.
  • What is Tibet Travel Permit?

    What is Tibet Travel Permit?

    Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau, also known as Tibet Visa, which is the official documents that allows international travelers to enter and travel in Tibet. It's two pieces of A4 paper.
  • What documents are required to travel to Tibet?

    What documents are required to travel to Tibet?

    With passport and Chinese visa, you can visit any place in mainland China. While if you want to travel into Tibet, apart from passport and Chinese visa, a Tibet Travel Permit is required.
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