Getting a Tibet Travel Permit for Your Tibet Tour

23rd July 2019

Lying on its high-altitude plateau, Tibet is one of the most unique tourist destinations in the world. Tibet is like no other place on the planet, and there are plenty of reasons why.

The high Himalayan Mountains, the vast open prairies and plains, and the stunning holy lakes are just a few of the natural aspects of the plateau that make Tibet so different. Add to that the unique Tibetan Buddhist culture, and you have a land that is so vastly different from anywhere else in the world that have a Tibet travel is a must.

Travel to Tibet is also different from most other places due to the unique tourism policies of China for tourists to Tibet. Unlike most countries that just require a visa, this beautiful part of western China also requires a special permit to visit.

Known as the Tibet Travel Permit, this important document is your passport to another world. The Tibet Travel Permit is a requirement for all tourists from outside China to enable them to visit Tibet, and it is impossible to even board planes and trains without it.

Obtained once you have booked a tour of the region, the permit will allow you to enter the region and travel around in the area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.


Step 1 – Book Your Tibet Tour with a Reputable Tibet Travel Agency

The first thing to do in order to obtain the permit is to book a pre-arranged Tibet tour with a reputable registered Tibet travel agency, such as Tibet Vista. Independent travel is no longer permitted in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), so all tourists must be on organized tours with private tour guides and in private vehicles.

Once you book a trip to Tibet, your expert tour advisors will help you to decide where and when to travel in Tibet, help you to arrange your perfect itinerary, and give useful advice on the best tourist attractions on the plateau.

Step 2 – Get Your Chinese Visa Yourself

While an agency will be able to arrange the entire tour and the permits you require, you will need to obtain your Chinese Entry Visa yourself. Only travelers entering Tibet from Kathmandu in Nepal do not require the standard visa for China.

The visa can be obtained from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in your home or resident country, and take between three and five days to process. A personal visit to the embassy to make the application may be required in some countries, while other countries are able to use postal applications or the Chinese Visa Application Service Centers (CVASC) to get their visas.

In certain countries, the use of the CVASCs is a requirement. Costs for the visa do vary depending on your nationality, and the full list of costs can be obtained from the website of the Chinese Embassy for your country.

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Step 3 – Email Your Passport & Chinese Visa to Your Travel Agent to Apply for the Tibet Permit

Once your visa has been approved, you need to email scanned color copies of the passport, including the photo and details pages and the visa stamp page, to the travel agency to be used to obtain your Tibet Travel Permit. You can email scans to the travel agent, they will use them to make the application for the permits on your behalf.

Only a registered Tibet travel company like Tibet Vista can make the application for the permit, and once the permit is approved, they will send a copy of the permit to you for your trip to Tibet.

Step 4 – Fly to China and Get Your Tibet Travel Permit Before Heading to Lhasa

When you fly to China from your home country, you will need to receive the Tibet Travel Permit before you can take the flights or trains to Lhasa. Boarding the flight and train requires that you show the permit to the check-in staff, the guards, and any security that requests it.

The processing time for the permit is normally 15-20 days, so it is essential to book your trip as early as possible. While it is possible to book the trip and forward your passport and visa copies once you arrive in China, you will have a while to wait before traveling to process the permit.

Final Thoughts

Any tour of Tibet requires tourists to have a valid passport, a Chinese Entry Visa, and the Tibet Travel permit, just to get into the region. Tourists must all be on a pre-arranged tour and only the travel agency can make the application for the permit.

However, while this may seem complex, it is really very simple for you, as your chosen agency do all the work necessary for your trip, including booking hotels, providing a guide, driver, and vehicle, and arranging all the trips to the attractions of the plateau.

All you need to do is wait for the permit and then come to Tibet to enjoy the most amazing experience of a lifetime.

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The Tibet Travel Permit is a requirement for all tourists from outside China to visit Tibet. Check out our complete step-by-step guide on how to get yours.

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