Tibet Travel Permit
Contrary to popular belief, a tangible Tibet Travel Permit aka Tibet Tourism Bureau (T.T.B.) permit does exist and there are no plans of eliminating this permit in the near future. A permit is required to enter Tibet. The TTB costs vary depending on your departure city, and there is no expiration date for the permit. You do not need a permit to leave Tibet, however you will need an additional transit permit to enter certain cities within Tibet as well as Mt. Everest Base camp (60 Yuan per person, 405 Yuan per vehicle), which can be easily arranged by your tour operator. You do need a China Visa as well as a passport that is valid for at least 6 months before applying for the TTB.
Chinatibettrain is cooperating with Tibet Travel Org CITS, the top local tour operator, to help travelers obtain Tibet travel permit. The agency also offers EXTRA VALUE tour packages. This is how the Tibet Travel Permit looks like. It consists of 2 pages.
Everyone can get a 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. Tibet Travel Org is specializing in organizing Tibet tours for foreigners, Tibet train tour in particular, and can help you to obtain Tibet entry permit and other travel permits.
What you need before you go:
- Scanned copy of your Passport with your photo, date of issue, passport number. Make sure your passport is valid for at least the next 6 months;
- Scanned copy of your China Tourist Visa;
- A tentative itinerary, that is, places where you will be visiting and staying.
How to get the Tibet permit
Permits are arranged by tibet tour agencies only. It normally takes 1-10 business days, depending on how you plan on entering Tibet. 1 Day for flying into Tibet and up to 10 days if you plan on entering Tibet by land via a Land cruiser or by train. You just need to show your passport (or fax in a copy of your passport main page) to begin the permit issuing process. You can apply for the permit as an individual or as a group.
There are two ways leading to Tibet, one is from other parts of China, the other is form Nepal.
1. Apply Tibet Visa in China
If you are planning to enter Tibet from other places of China, you can apply for Tivet Visa from Chinese local offices of your planned previous city to Tibet, e.g. Chengdu if by air, Golmud if by Qinghai-Tibet Highway. It is a must document when you are boarding a flight to Tibet.
2. Apply Tibet Visa in Nepal
If you are planning to enter Tibet from Nepal, you can obtain the this permit from the Chinese Embassy in Katmandu.
Tibet Travel Document Checklist
The four travel documents you need as a foreigner before you can enter Tibet are:
1. The Chinese Visa. You can apply for this at a Chinese Embassy in your country.
2. The Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB). You cannot enter Tibet without this permit.
3. The Alien Travel Permit (PSB). This permit is required to enter restricted areas in Tibet (see below for more details).
4. The Military Permit. This permit is required if you are travelling to military sensitive areas within Tibet.
Alien's Travel Permit - PSB Permit
If you want to go further to the "unopened" areas outside of Lhasa, you need an Alien's travel permit issued by PSB of Tibet. It is called "Alien's Travel Permit" or "PSB permit". This can be arranged by any tour agency in Tibet, but no travel agency can provide ‘Alien’s Travel Permit-only’ service. Your tour operator, who arranges a Tibet tour for you, will help you apply for this permit according to your itinerary. Please note that, it can be only applied after you arrive in Tibet, because your original passport, Chinese visa and Tibet Permit are needed. But don’t worry, it normally just takes several hours and costs CNY50 per person to get one.
Military Permit is required if you are planning to travel to Ngari, Nyingchi, and Nagqu which are regard as the military sensitive areas in Tibet. It is issued by the Military office in Lhasa and we will need you to provide your passport, Tibet permit to apply for it. It normally takes 1-2 week days and the cost is CNY100 /person.
Restricted Areas in Tibet for different Permits
The following are restricted areas within Tibet which require more than one permit:
Tibet Entry Permit (TTB Permit) + Alien’s Travel Permit (PSB Permit)
Tsedang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery, Yumbulakhang
Shigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Gyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kubum Stupa
Nyingchi Region: Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso, etc.
Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen, etc.
Tibet Entry Permit (TTB Permit)+Alien’s Travel Permit (PSB Permit)+Military Permit
Ngari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Years, etc.
Learn More about Tibet Permit
Apply for Tibet Visa in China
You need to firstly apply for Tibet visa, normally known as Tibet Entry Permit, to enter Tibet.
Apply for Tibet Visa in Nepal
All travelers who enter Tibet from Nepal are required to apply for Group Tourist Visa, a kind of single entry visa, through Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
China Visa for Tibet Travel
A foreigner wants to visit Tibet from China should get a Chinese visa first, and then apply to the government of TAR for Tibet entry permit.
Permit to Visit Mount Everest
Check the permits you need for a Mount Everest Tour in Tibet.