China Visa Tibet Travel Permit

Travelers dreaming of going to Tibet, as a part of their China holiday, must have a Tibet travel permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB). The visa needed to enter China does not suffice. On the other hand, the permit for traveling to Tibet can only be obtained from a TTB office in Lhasa. The travel permit itself is not a legal visa that permits an international traveler entry into Tibet. Instead, it is an important document that allows and approves a person’s tour in Tibet.

When planning a trip to China and Tibet, travelers should bear in mind that additional permits are needed due to the remote nature of the Tibetan plateau. For travel within the Tibetan region, both solo and group travelers must first obtain a Tibet Travel Permit. However, it is important to note that the permit is not a guarantee of entry and will be subject to approval by the Chinese authorities. Once approved, the Tibet Travel Permit will act as a visa, allowing a traveler to enter Tibet and begin their journey.

It is a lengthy process to obtain the permit, usually taking about 5-7 weeks but it can take up to two months or even longer. There are two basic steps to ensuring the permit is obtained. Firstly, it requires the traveler to submit a scanned copy of their passport to an authorized travel agency or a specialized Tibet travel service provider. They will then be responsible for obtaining the travel permit from the TTB. On approval of the request, the agency will then provide a scanned copy of the permit to the traveler for entry into Tibet.

Once the permit is received, travelers then have to stop at the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) of the area they land, to officially register their Tibet permits. It is mandatory for all foreign travelers for security purposes. In order to register themselves, they need to provide the local Chinese authority with their original permit, passport, Chinese visa and also the contact details of the tour guide. Failure to register their permit can cause the restriction of further travel and eventual deportation.

Generally, all applications for Tibet travel permits from foreign tourists require an original invitation letter from a registered Tibet travel agency located in China. Tourists must also make sure that they have a valid Chinese visa for their trip as in most cases, the visa has to be valid until after their return from Tibet.

The cost of the permit is around $30, depending on the agency and the number of people traveling in the group. However, this cost does not include the additional cost for the application of the permit or obtaining the documents required for the process. Permission from the Chinese authorities is required before a person can travel to Tibet and apply for the permit.

Tourist attractions in China and Tibet

China is a magnificent country to explore, offering life-changing experiences to those who travel there. Some of the captivating attractions in China include the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, the Bund district of Shanghai and the Terracotta Army at the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin.

Tibet is known as the roof of the world due to its high elevations, offering some truly amazing views. It is home to some of the country’s most famous landmarks such as the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, Mount Kailash, and the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. Tibet is an amazing place to visit, offering a unique culture, breathtaking views, and a diverse selection of activities such as trekking, sightseeing and hot springs.

Guidance for Obtaining the Permit

When applying for the permit, it is essential to follow the Chinese regulations and be aware of the implications associated with not fulfilling the requirements. A few guidelines to remember when applying for the Tibet travel permit are as follows:

  • Allow at least 30 days for the application process.
  • Make sure to provide the agent with a high-definition scanned copy of your passport.
  • Apply for the permit from a TTB prior to leaving for Tibet.
  • Report to the local security bureau to register a foreigner’s identity after arriving in Lhasa.
  • Passport number, full name as it appears on passport, nationality, gender, date of birth and passport expiry date must be provided and must be accurate.

Implications of not obtaining a permit

Traveling in Tibet without a permit is illegal and could have serious consequences. It is important to be aware of the implications associated with violating the Chinese regulation when applying for the permit. Chinese border officials may confiscate the permit or cause issue on arriving without the permit. In the worst-case scenario, the traveler could even be deported from the country.

It is also important to be aware of the limitations associated with not providing the necessary documents for the permit. If a person does not provide a valid permit, they will not be able to enter Tibet and will be turned away on arrival. Additionally, not having a valid permit could make it difficult to return to the area once the permit is issued.


In order to have an unforgettable experience in Tibet, travelers need to make sure to obtain their Tibet travel permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau prior to their trip. A valid permit is required for entry into the country, and it is very important that the travel agency has obtained the permit from the authorities before the traveler arrives.

Environmental Guidelines

Travelers need to ensure that they adhere to all environmental guidelines as Tibet is still in the process of developing its tourism industry. It is essential to take measures to minimize the impact of exploration and tourism on the environment. Respect the local culture, learn about responsible travel and etiquette. When travelling in Tibet, it is important to respect the local culture and any religious sites that may be visited.

It is also important to ensure that one doesn’t leave any rubbish behind. This includes not littering during hikes, refraining from throwing scraps of food, and not buying single-use plastic bottles. By following these tips, travelers can help protect the longevity of Tibet’s environment.

Transport Facilities

Tibet is known for its spotless and efficient train service, the Lhasa Express. It departs from Chengdu in the east and Golmud in the east, taking passengers on a mesmerizing journey to Lhasa. The journey is over 1500 miles long and takes two days. Alternatively, it is also possible to travel to Tibet by air from Chengdu, Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Xining and other major Chinese cities.

Taxis, buses and rental cars are all available options for transportation across Tibet. Taxis, however, can be expensive, while buses are much cheaper and offer the benefit of seeing some amazing rural landscapes. As for rental cars, it is important to note that an additional permit is needed to rent a car, which can be obtained through the travel agency.

Accommodation Facilities

Tibet is home to a rich selection of different accommodation options. Hotels are available in larger cities like Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, but the best option is to stay in the more traditional accommodation, such as guesthouses or traditional Tibetan homes. This will allow travelers to further immerse themselves in the local culture and get a better understanding of the Tibetan people and their customs.

For backpackers, the city has some budget-friendly options such as hostels and guesthouses that offer a private room and shared bathrooms. Additionally, there are a few outdoor sites geared towards campers, offering tent sites and access to campsite amenities.

Health and Safety Regulations

Tibet is a safe and welcoming destination, however, as with any foreign travelers, it is important to take certain safety measures into consideration when traveling to the area. Research the various safety and health regulations available before the trip, such as what to do in the event of an emergency and how to handle altitude sickness. It is also important to secure travel insurance in case of any unforeseen events.

Furthermore, make sure to be aware of any local customs and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. For instance, visitors should dress appropriately in public areas and respect religious sites. Before visiting a temple, ask the locals if it is okay to enter and take photos.

John Melendez

John J. Melendez is a journalist, author, and commentator specializing in Chinese culture, politics, and international relations. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, and is the author of several books on Chinese culture and politics. He currently resides in Beijing, China.

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