Apply for Tibet Visa in China

Last updated: December,14 2018

With frequent connection and convenient transportation, it is a popular choice for many tourists to enter Tibet from mainland China. You can choose to either take a Tibet train or flight to Lhasa, from the gateway cities in mainland.

As a foreign traveler, no matter which way you decide on entering Tibet, you need to first obtain the Tibet Visa (also known as Tibet Travel Permit) with your China visa and valid passport, before your departure.

Since no individual application of Tibet Permit is admitted, you need to entrust a local travel agency to help you get your permit. And it is suggested to start the permit application at least 20 days before your Tibet tour.

If your itinerary covers remote destinations of Tibet, like Mount Everest and Mount Kailash, you will need to further get some other travel documents, like Alien’s Travel Permit, Military Permit etc.

For more information about applying Tibet Visa in China, please check our detailed guide as follows. Read on to get the must-know info about Tibet travel documents to prepare yourself a smooth tour in China and Tibet.

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    Tibet Visa for Entering Tibet from China

    What is the Tibet Visa?

    According to the laws and regulations, foreigners are required to join an organized tour when visiting Tibet and to obtain the Tibet Visa before entering Tibet. Tibet Visa also refers to Tibet Travel Permit, or Tibet Permit for short.

    In fact, Tibet Visa is a sheet of paper instead of a common “visa” stamped on one’s passport. And it is strictly demanded that Tibet Visa (Tibet Travel Permit) can only be applied through a local travel agency authorized by Tibet Tourism Bureau.

    The permit will list some of your travel information, including the entry and departure date to/from Tibet, tour itinerary, tour number etc. It is essential to make sure all your information true and valid, so that you can go smoothly to travel around Tibet with the permit.

    Who Needs to Apply for a Tibet Visa?

    There are mainly two kinds of people who need to apply for a Tibet Visa. One is Non-Chinese identity card holder, and the other is Non-Chinese passport holder. In other words, if you hold a Chinese identity card or a Chinese passport, you will not need to get the Tibet Travel Permit for your Tibet tour.

    In this occasion, tourists from Hong Kong or Macao do not need a Tibet Travel Permit provided that you have HK/Macau SAR passport and Home Return Permit (also known as Mainland Travel Permit). But for residents from Taiwan China, you are required to obtain the Mainland Travel Permit and Tibet Travel Permit to visit Tibet.

    What to Prepare for Applying for Tibet Visa in China?

    Chinese Visa for Tibet Travel

    In order to get the Tibet Travel Permit, you need to first get a Chinese Visa, which is also required when you visit other cities in mainland China. The China Visa can normally be obtained through the nearest Chinese Embassy in your home country or in a third country, either by a travel agency or on your own.

    China Tourists VisaYou need to first get a China visa before applying for the Tibet Visa.

    For tourists planning to enter Tibet from mainland China, it is suggested not to mention Tibet as the travel destination when you apply for your Chinese Visa, otherwise you might be rejected. It is wise to list Beijing, Shanghai or other common tour destinations in your visa application form.

    Valid Passport

    A passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity should be prepared for the application of both China Visa and Tibet Permit. If your passport is due to expire in less than 6 months, you should renew it before you apply for your visa. Besides, at least one black visa page is required in your passport.

    Types of Chinese Visa to Apply for Tibet Visa

    Since there are many types of Chinese Visa issued for tourists from different backgrounds, it is possible to travel to Tibet with a Tourist Visa, Work Visa or Student Visa. Check the following details to know how to prepare the documents for applying for Tibet Permit according to your own type of Chinese Visa.

    Tourist Visa (L Visa)

    For most foreign tourists planning to go on a vacation in China or visit family members or friends, you will need to obtain a Tourist Visa (L Visa), which is also the most common type of Chinese Visa for the application of Tibet Permit.

    A tourist visa is good for single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry. And the duration of stay is normally 30 to 60 days. With a Tourist Visa, foreigners only need to present your passport copy and visa copy to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit.

    Work Visa (Z Visa)

    There are a significant number of foreigners who are working in China. In this occasion, if you have already obtained a Work Visa (Z visa) or a residence permit, you don’t need to apply for a new China Visa instead.

    But additionally, you need to provide a working certificate showing your place of work in China, or a letter of invitation from your employer, to apply for the Tibet Entry Permit.

    The Work Visa is only for single entry, with a validity of 30 days. If you need to stay longer, you should register and apply for the residence permit which is a good for multiple entry.

    Student Visa (X Visa)

    If you are an international student studying in China and plan to travel to Tibet, you will also be required to offer the relevant documents, like your letter of admission, student ID card, studying certificate etc., together with your Student Visa (X Visa) or resident permit.

    Business Visa (M Visa)

    Business Visa (M Visa) is issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities. If you hold an M visa and want to visit Tibet from mainland China, you are required to first get a letter from your inviting company.

    The letter should be written in Chinese on official letterhead, stating your full name, nationality, passport number and position at the company. It also needs to be stamped with your company’s official seal.

    List of Common Chinese Visas to Apply for Tibet Permit

    Types of China VisaIssued forDocuments Required to Apply for Tibet Permit
    Tourist Visa (L) Sightseeing, families visits passport copy, visa copy
    Work Visa (Z) Working passport copy, visa copy, working certificate
    Resident Visa (D) Residence passport copy, visa copy, working certificate
    Student Visa (X) International students passport copy, visa copy, studying certificate
    Non-Commerce Visa (F) exchanges and visits passport copy, visa copy, certificate of noncommercial visit
    Business Visa (M) commercial and trade activities passport copy, visa copy, business invitation letter
    Group Visa (G) Group tour Through travel agency
    APEC APEC members Passport copy, APEC copy, working certificate

    Note:
    1. Tourists with official visa or journalist visa should go through the external affairs department, instead of a travel agency, to pay a visit to Tibet.

    2. Besides, tourists from Singapore, Brunei and Japan enjoy visa-free access to China for up to 15 days. As one of visa-free travelers, you are only required to obtain Tibet Travel Permit for Tibet travel.

    How to Apply for Tibet Visa in China?

    All foreign travelers can't directly apply for the Tibet Visa, but only through a local travel agency. The good news is that you don’t have to personally run around to apply for your visa.

    As a leading Tibet tourism operator, we offer a quick online application of Tibet Travel Permit for foreign travelers. And the process to apply for your Tibet visa is quite simple and convenient as follows.

    Apply for Tibet Visa in ChinaApplying for Tibet Visa in China mainly includes three steps with the help of a local tour agency.

    Step 1: Book a Tibet Tour Online with Us

    First, contact us online and tell your travel plan in Tibet. You need to confirm your travel itinerary and book the tour with us. Our Tibet tours include ground transportation, guide services, hotel reservations, etc.

    Step 2: Send the Required Documents to Us via E-mail

    After you book your tour with us, you just need to send us the  scanned copy of your passport and Chinese Visa, as well as some other supporting documents like working certificate for Z Visa holders.

    Your detailed tour information, including your tour itinerary, is also required for the permit application. It is suggested to send these documents to us at least 20 days before your tour starts.

    Step 3: Get the Permit

    After checking the information of your tour, the Bureau will issue your permit to our travel agency in Lhasa. The procedure usually takes about 10-15 days.

    Once getting your permit, we will immediately deliver it to your hotel in mainland China. Then, you can feel free to board the train or flight to Lhasa with your Tibet Travel Permit.

    Can I Get my Tibet Visa in Beijing?

    Many people will ask whether they can apply for the Tibet Permit in Beijing, Shanghai or other popular cities in China, where they tend to stay before their Tibet tours. Although Tibet Tourism Bureau has opened branch offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu etc., its head office in Lhasa is the only option for aliens to get the Tibet Permit.

    Also, only a local travel agency in Tibet is qualified to handle the permit application on behalf of foreign travelers. Any travel operator in other cities beyond Tibet will not be admitted by the Tibet Tourism Bureau.

    What Else Documents are Required for China Tibet Tour?

    With the Tibet Travel Permit and China Visa, you are allowed to enter Tibet from mainland China and travel around Lhasa city, the provincial capital of Tibet. However, if you travel outside Lhasa to explore other remote regions of Tibet, you will need to obtain more additional travel documents as well.

    And it is recommended to decide your tour itinerary beforehand, so that your travel agency can better help to arrange the application of related permits.

    Alien’s Travel Permit for Mount Everest Tour

    The Alien’s Travel Permit is a must for tourists to visit the “closed” areas of Tibet, like Everest Base Camp, Nyingchi, and Tsedang etc. It is applied after your arrival in Tibet, with your original passport, China Visa and Tibet Travel Permit.

    Military Permit for Mount Kailash Tour

    If you want to visit Mount Kailash or enjoy a Kailash trekking tour in Tibet, you need to obtain a Military Permit as well as the Foreign Affairs Permit. The permit application also requires your Tibet Permit and passport.

    Frontier Pass for Crossing Gyirong Port

    Many tourists like to travel to Nepal from Tibet. In this case, you need to obtain a Frontier Pass before you cross the Gyirong border between Tibet and Nepal. It usually takes only 1 to 2 hours to get the pass in Lhasa.

    FAQ about Applying for Tibet Visa in China

    1. How can I get my newly-issued Tibet Travel Permit in China?

    Once your Tibet Travel Permit gets issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa, we will immediately deliver it to your address in mainland China. It normally takes 2 or 3 days depending on the distance from your location. Then you can take your permit to board the train or flight to Tibet.

    In some emergent cases when there is no enough time reserved by yourself, our staff will directly hand the permit to you in person at the railway station or airport of your departure city. So that you can catch up with your train or flight in time with the permit.

    2. Can I register two cities to enter Tibet while applying for Tibet Permit?

    When applying for the Tibet entry permit, you need to confirm the following information to us: the days to stay in Tibet, the city to enter Tibet and exit Tibet, places to visit during your travel. Once we put the name of the entry city on the Tibet permit, it will be troublesome to change it after we get it.

    And you cannot board the train or flight to Lhasa with a permit with a wrong entry city. Therefore, you need to confirm the only one city you will depart from to Tibet. And it is strongly suggested to buy the ticket of train or flight before you apply for the permit.

    3. Do foreigners with Chinese spouses need to apply for the Tibet Visa?

    Yes. If you have married with a Chinese who holds a Chinese ID card, you are still required to follow all the travel regulations as other foreign travelers, to get a Tibet Permit for Tibet travel. Though your wife or husband does not require to join in an organized tour, you still have to.

    If you have a spousal visa, you should submit a letter from your spouse to your travel agency, to apply for the permit. The letter needs to be written in Chinese, covering your spouse’s full name, your full name, nationality, birthdate, passport number, and stating that you are married to a Chinese person and that you are going to Tibet on vacation. If possible, make the letter official by having it stamped with your spouse’s company stamp.

    4. Can I apply for Tibet Visa in the Chinese embassy together with the China Visa?

    Unlike China Visa, the Tibet Visa is the entry permit to Tibet region, and is indeed a document issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. Also, individual application of Tibet Travel Permit is not admitted by the bureau. As a result, foreign travelers have to apply for the Tibet Permit through a qualified local travel agency like us.

    After you have obtained your China Visa through the Chinese embassy, you are suggested to contact us in advance to deal with the application of the Tibet visa. Since the procedure may take several days to go through.

    Conclusion

    Since you have decided to travel to Tibet from mainland China, the first thing you should go about is to get your China Visa and Tibet Travel Permit.

    The Tibet Travel Permit (Tibet Visa) is a must for foreigners to enter and travel around Tibet, and can only be obtained through a local travel agency like us. Your China Visa and valid passport are required to apply for the permit.

    It is recommended to contact us at least 20 days before your travel date, to get the Tibet Visa application well processed to start your Tibet tour.

    Besides, we will also help to handle other required travel documents, to enable you visit Everest Base Camp, Mount Kailash or more restricted areas in Tibet.

    If you have more questions about Tibet Travel Permit application in China, please be free to leave a comment below or contact our travel consultant for exact answers.

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