Due to Tibet's political situation, it is not so easy to travel Tibet. Foreign travelers are required to apply for special permits as well as a China visa.
There are overall four documents that may be required for foreign tourists to travel freely in Tibet.
Working with approved Tibet tour operators, China Highlights is able to assist you to obtain all of the above documents if you book a Tibet tour with us.
The main Tibet travel documents are the Tibet Entry Permit or TTB Permit (issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau) and the Aliens' Travel Permit or PSB Permit (issued by the local police or Public Security Bureau). More details are provided below.
The Tibet Entry Permit is the key to entering and traveling in Tibet. It is the most important permit and is a must for foreigners entering Tibet. With this permit, you can visit Lhasa, the Potala Palace, Shigatse, and Namtso Lake. Usually a travel agency needs 20 days to apply for this permit. So please send the required documents to your travel agency as early as possible.
Earthquake affects tourism: The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday, 25th April 2015 caused severe loss of life and property. The Tibet/Nepal border at Zhangmu has been closed to tourists. Tibet Aliens' Permits for Mt. Everest Base Camp and Mt. Kailash are now being issued again (Updated: May 8th). Read more about the Nepal earthquake.
Mount Everest Base Camp is CLOSED again! For safety reasons, travelers are not allowed to EBC and the Mt. Kailash area. Things may change at any moment and we will update this information promptly. If you want to confirm your tour to these places, please contact us for the current situation. (Updated: May 12th, 2015)
Notice from Administration of Mount Everest Natural Scenic Area: For the earthquake relief work, Mount Everest (Tibet side) will continue to be closed for traveling until the end of June 2015. You are suggested to cancel or postpone your trip during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. (Updated: May 21th, 2015)
Note Updated: Mount Everest (Tibet side) is reopened from July 1, 2015!
An Aliens' Travel Permit is required to visit restricted areas.
With this permit and Tibet Entry Permit, you can visit Mt. Everest, Nyingchi, and other places listed below. This permit can only be applied for after you enter Tibet, and it requires your original passport.
If your itinerary includes some areas in Ngari (listed below), your travel agency will help you to get a Military Permit from the Military Office in Lhasa before you enter Tibet. Then your tour guide can take this certification and TTB Permit to apply for PSB Permit in Tibet.
To apply for Tibet permits, you have to book a Tibet tour first and hold a valid passport and China visa.
A Tibet Entry Permit is available for independent travelers now. You can either travel in a tour group or one man guided tour. To apply for your Tibet Entry Permit, a booked Tibet tour with an approved Tibet tour operator is required (tour itinerary must be shown on the permit). After you book a tour with your travel agency, they will help you arrange it.
Additional Requirements for F visa & Z visa customers: If you are F visa (business visa) or Z visa (working visa) holders, you are required to provide additional information to the Tibet Tourism Bureau to get a Tibet Entry Permit. Your travel agency will send you the requirements after you book the tour, but they are basically as follows:
Your tour guide will assist you in applying for an Alien Travel Permit. Your tour guide will ask you for your passport and Tibet Entry Permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of the local PSB with your tour itinerary.
Only with an Entry Permit can your travel agency help you buy a flight/train ticket to Tibet.
Customers whose travel arrangements are made by China Highlights will receive their Tibet Entry Permit from our local office in the city where they depart for Tibet, e.g. in Chengdu if traveling by air. We will send you a scanned copy of your Tibet Entry Permit by e-mail if you enter Tibet from Golmud by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
All foreign individuals entering Tibet must hold a passport valid for at least six months. If you are entering Tibet from China, your Chinese visa must be valid. Only travelers with tourist, business, or working visas (not student visas) are permitted.
Entering Tibet from Nepal, either by the Friendship Highway or by air, requires a separate group visa (a group may be any number of travelers, and may be just one traveler) valid for Tibet from the Chinese embassy in Katmandu. 30–60-day visas are the norm, and it normally takes 2 weeks to obtain it.
To apply for Tibet permits, China visa and passport are required. So Foreigners who enjoy visa-free access to all of China still need to apply for a China visa .
For more please refer to Entering Tibet from Nepal.
If you are planning a Tibet tour, please see our 5-Day Lhasa and Yomdrok Lake Tour for inspiration. This 5-day tour offers a chance to see Lhasa’s highlights and a lakeside picnic nearby Tibetan holy Lake-Lake Yomdrok.
Or you can contact us to tailor-make you a unique Tibet tour according to your interests.
We try our best to arrange Tibet permits for our customers, but can not 100% ensure that you will obtain a permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau or other authorities, even when you provide all of the information they need. China Highlights is not responsible for any cancellation of your Tibet tour if you are refused a Tibet permit.
This page was last updated on September 24, 2014. Please contact us for the latest policy situation, or share the latest related news if you have any good resources.