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Travel Permits FAQs

Tibet Travel Permits Essentials-Tibet Permits & China Visa FAQs

1. What travel documents shall I need to travel Tibet?
To travel in Tibet you should have a valid passport, a Chinese visa (or Tibet Group visa for entry from Nepal to Tibet) and all necessary Tibet Travel Permits such as Tibet Entry Permit, Alien’s travel permit, military and foreign affairs permit. We will obtain all the Tibet Travel Permits for you from the Tibet Tourism Bureau and other governmental offices such as PSB (Public Security Bureau and Military Office, Foreign Affairs Office). Have the birdview to Tibet Travel Documents.
 
2. What documents shall I need to send you to apply for all necessary Tibet travel permits and/or Visas?
Once you have confirmed your Tibet tour with us, you need to email us clear scanned or photo copies of your valid passports data page and China Visas for every member of the group to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. If your China Visa is not an “L” visa-tour visa, you must also provide additional documents such as student certificates, work permits, residence permits and so on.
 
3. How do I obtain the Tibet Travel Permit?
To obtain Tibet Travel Permits, you’d better arrange your tour through a professional local Tibet travel agency and provide clear scanned copies of your passport and China visa. Please be mindful that it’s impossible to board any flights to Tibet without the Tibet Entry Permit. However it is not necessary to have physical permits copies to board the train to Lhasa. The permits themselves specify every travel destination that you will be visiting during the specified schedule and permits cannot be changed once you have arrived in Tibet; therefore, be sure to detail all possible destinations as well as the itinerary before you confirm your trip. It usually takes 3 working days to apply Tibet Entry Permit, but it takes about 2 weeks to obtain the foreign affairs and military permit if travelers’ destinations include West Tibet (Guge Kingdom, Kailash & Manasarovar) and Kham Region.
 
4. What kind of trip requires the Military Permit, Foreign Affairs Permit and Alien's Travel Permit?
Tibet travel destinations need Military and Foreign Affairs Permits:
Mt. Kailash trip, Sichuan or Yunnan-Tibet Overland Tour, Tibet-Kashgar Overland Tour, Chamdo and Pomi
Tibet travel destinations need PSB permit (Alien’s Travel Permit): Mt. Everest Base Camp, Samye Monastery (southern part of Tibet), Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar, Guge Kingdom (West Tibet-Ngari), but these can be issued from the local PSB just before you enter the region.
 
5. How long does the Tibet Permit application process take?
Normally, Tibet entry permits can be issued in 3 working days, but if your travel destinations need military permit, foreign affairs permit, it takes 2 more weeks. So it is better if you can confirm your tour at least 1 month before getting to Tibet to avoid any urgent cases.
 
6. How and when do I receive the Tibet Entry Permit?
Normally, we are able to obtain the Tibet Entry Permit 10-15 days before the trip’s staring date. If you are going to fly into Tibet from China, you should provide us with detailed and exact post address such as your hotel or residence address in China (including contact person, contact phone number and the correct name under which the hotel booking is made) and we will send the original permit to you by EMS or Air-Express which takes 24hrs to 3 days within China. Since you will need the original permit to board the flight to Tibet, we never mail it abroad as it takes longer and could be delayed or lost. If you don't have a long layover in China (overnight), you can send us your detailed flight information and we can arrange someone to deliver the permit to you at the airport.
 
If you enter Tibet from Nepal by flight or overland driving, you do not need to receive the original Tibet entry permits but your tour guide will take it to pick you up at Lhasa airport or Tibet border of Zhangmu.
 
If you are taking the train to Tibet, we will send you a copy of the permit by email and you can print it out to board the train.
 
7. How we can enter Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal?
You can enter Tibet from Nepal by flight or overland drive. There is one direct flight run by Air China between Kathmandu and Lhasa. But normally the flight is only available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The overland drive from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes at least 2 days covering 923 km. By driving to Tibet, you have higher risk of getting Altitude sickness due to the extreme increase in elevation along the way especially if your schedule is too tight.
 
8. What documents are needed if we enter Tibet from Nepal?
Tibet Group Visa is needed if you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal. Tibet Group Visa can only be issued on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Chinese Consulate in Kathmandu. However you can not apply it by yourself. Your Tibet Travel Agent’s legal representative agency in Kathmandu will apply the Tibet group visa for you.  
 
The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper with stamp. It lists the name, sex, and nationality, and passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to get the visa extended for few additional days, for stays in Lhasa only. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at the entry and one for the exit.
 
Important tips: You do not need to apply for an individual Chinese Visa in your country if you decide to travel to Tibet from Nepal. It is totally a waste if you apply an individual China visa because the Chinese Embassy will cancel your individual Chinese Visa when you receive the Group Visa.
 
9. How much does the Tibet Group Visa cost?

Category

Number of Working Days to Obtain it

Cost for American Passport Holders

Cost for other Nationalities

Normal

5 days

$140.00 (USD)

$50.00 (USD)

Urgent

3 days

$155.00 (USD)

$65.00 (USD)

Top Urgent

1 day

$175.00 (USD)

$85.00 (USD)

Note: You can only apply for the Tibet Group Visa on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Also, the local Nepalese agencies have a service charge of $20-50 (USD) per person normally based on group size.

Above information are updated on April 20th, 2012.

10. How do I apply for Chinese Visa?
You’d better apply for your Chinese Visa from the Chinese Consulate in your home country. Maybe there is one Chinese consulate which is close to your city. Please follow the link of China Visa to get some references. According to our experience, we strongly suggest that you’d better not mention any words of Tibet on your visa application form. Tibet is a politically sensitive area and it will get quite complicated if you mention Lhasa or Tibet as a travel destination on your application form. You can provide the information of your return flight tickets and hotel reservation in other cities of China to get the visa.

Read more practical Tibet travels Advice.

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