How to get Tibet Permit (Tibet Visa)

How to get Tibet Permit (Tibet Visa)

By Carol WangUpdated Oct. 1, 2021

Tibet Visa, exactly called Tibet Travel Permit, is an entry permit issued by Tibet Travel Administration for foreign nationals to enter Tibet. Applications must be delivered via a travel agent in China and the required documents are travelers' passports and China visa copies.

Tibet Visa (permit) is a sheet of paper that lists all the names of the people in your group along with travel dates and travel destinations in Tibet. When your Tibet tour ends, the papers will be returned to the Tibet Tourism Bureau. You cannot use it for your second trip to Tibet.

Now travelers can enter Tibet only if from China’s mainland cities and Nepal. Read on to learn how to apply for Tibet permits successfully.

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Tibet permits

Who Needs a Tibet Entry Permit

  • All foreign citizens (non-Chinese passport holders) need a Tibet Entry Permit to enter Tibet. Chinese people living overseas need to apply for a permit if holding a non-Chinese passport.
  • Taiwan residents also need to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit.
  • Hong Kong and Macau residents don't need a Tibet Entry Permit, but Chinese SAR passports and Home Return Permits (or Mainland Travel Permits) are needed.

How to Apply for Tibet Permit 

The first requirement for a Tibet Entry Permit is a China visa. You must obtain China Visa before applying for Tibet Travel Permit.

Foreigners are not allowed to apply for Tibet permits independently. First, you need to find an approved Chinese travel agency to help apply for Tibet Permit and arrange your Tibet tour.

When your tour itinerary is finalized, send your passport and China visa copies to your travel agency, and they will start to apply for Tibet entry.


  • What's more, foreign citizens are not allowed to travel in Tibet independently. You must be accompanied by a tour guide. (Your tour itinerary must be shown on the permit).
  • Except for L Visa (tourist) holder, you are required to provide additional information to get a Tibet Entry Permit, for example, Residence Permit or proofs from your company/school in China, etc. Your travel agency will send you the detailed requirements after you book the tour.

We, China Highlights, are a China-based travel agency that can provide you with professional services. Currently, we have helped our customers obtain Tibet Entry Permits with a success rate of 100%. 

Applications are almost always successful if :

  • Your occupation on the permit shouldn't be diplomat, journalist, or government official. Otherwise, you have to apply for entry through the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.
  • And you can only enter Tibet from the departure city as listed on your itinerary. For example, if your departure city is Beijing, you can only use the permit at Beijing airport, not other cities' airports. If you want to change your departure city, please do inform your travel agency in advance, so that we can help you apply for another permit.
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When to Apply for a Tibet Permit (Tibet Visa)

It is better to send your passport and China visa copies at least 7 working days before departure to Tibet if you enter Tibet by train. The earlier the better.

If you are taking flights to Tibet, you are suggested to send passport and China visa copies at least 15 days before departure. Because original permits must be check when boarding, so extra time is needed for mail delivery.

Always remember to plan your Tibet tour as early as possible, because there is much work for your travel agency to do after you send the required documents.

How to Receive the Tibet Permit (Tibet Visa)

The travel agent who plans your Tibet tour will send you y original permit by express mail service to you in the final city before arriving in Tibet. You need to provide the travel agent with your address in the city where they depart from for Tibet, for example, the hotel address.

If you will take the train into Tibet, a copy of the Tibet Permit is accepted. You can receive a copy by email and just print it out. Your original Tibet Entry Permit will be held by your tour guide in Lhasa.


  • Tibet Permit will be checked at departure railway stations and airport before boarding. Members of your travel group must enter Tibet at the same time (by the same flight or train). If the people in your group will go to Tibet by different flight or train, please tell your travel agent in advance.
  • In Tibet, your Entry Permit could be checked at any time, but typically it is when you check-in at your hotel and when you enter Lhasa. You are suggested to give permits to your Tibet tour guide for safekeeping.

How to Apply for a Tibet Permit When Entering from Nepal

Enter Tibet from Nepal, it is a government requirement that you must apply for your China Visa and Tibet permit in Nepal. The China visa issued in your resident country will be invalid.

You cannot apply for a China Visa and Tibet Permit in Nepal independently and you must have a Nepal travel agent to help you. Generally, a China Visa and Tibet Permit will be issued in 5 days for a regular application; an urgent application takes 3 days. 

You will need to allow at least 5 days in Nepal waiting for the visa and permit to be issued. Please learn more details about Steps to Get Your China Visa and Tibet Permit in Nepal.

We have a partner in Kathmandu who can help you with will help you apply for your Tibet Permit and China Visa, as well as trips in Nepal.

Contact us for inquiries.

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Extra Tibet Permits Are Needed if You Travel Outside Lhasa

Don't worry, your travel agency, and your tour guide will tell you what to do and help you with it. If your Tibet tour only contains Lhasa city's attractions ( Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple, etc.), you only need to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit.

But if you want to travel outside Lhasa, you may need extra Tibet permits.

Places Requiring Tibet Permit (Tibet Visa) and Aliens' Travel Permit

An Alien's Travel Permit can only be applied for after you enter Tibet. Your tour guide will help you apply for it using your passport and Tibet Entry Permit.

Places Requiring Tibet Permit (Tibet Visa)+ Aliens' Travel Permit + Military Permit

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 Tibet Entry Permit to apply for an Aliens' Travel Permit in Tibet.

You need to start applying for your Tibet permits at least one month before departure for Tibet if you want to visit places requiring a Military Permit.

Send an inquiry now to get the details. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much is a Tibet travel permit?

The permit price is actually zero, and on the permit, it will state very clearly that the permit is free. But travel agents But we don't provide a separate visa/permit application service.

Travel agencies also need a lot of insurance to arrange foreigners' permits, which is related to politics and security. If you get into any trouble in Lhasa, the tour agency that helped you to get the permit will take full responsibility.

2. I'm working in China, would this make any difference when applying for the permits?

Apart from China visa and passport ID page photo/scans, foreigners who work and reside in China must provide the extra documents, depending on what type of China visa you are holding. Certain extra documents are as follow:
Tourist visa (L) - no additional documents are required
Business visa (F)/Work Visa (Z) or Residence Permit- proof of employment. A letter from your company or employer with the official stamp.
Student visa (X) - a letter of recommendation from your school with the school stamp and a scanned copy of your student ID card.

3. Can I extend my stay in Tibet by one or two days after I arrive there?

Tibet Tourism Regulations do not allow any change to the departure date from Tibet you have submitted your Tibet Entry Permit application. Please work with your travel adviser to decide and settle on your itinerary before we apply for your Tibet Entry Permit.

4. Can I continue traveling if my China visa expires but I have a longer Tibet Permit?

No. You must have a valid Chinese visa to cover the whole period of your stay in Tibet. Sometimes the Tourism Bureau may give you a longer permit, but it doesn't imply any visa extension.

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