Tibet Permit and how to get the Tibet permit
Brief information about Tibet permit
Tibet, here referring to Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as one of the hottest travel destinations in China, attracts thousands of tourists home and abroad every year. However, there are some strict rules and regulations for foreign travelers visiting Tibet, unlike the other parts of China. To get to Tibet, the overseas travelers are required to hold a valid Chinese visa, as well as the special Tibet permits including the Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB), Alien Travel Permit/Public Security Bureau Permit (ATP/PSB) and Military Permit.
In addition, according to the current policy, apart from the Tibet permits, the overseas travelers and Taiwanese are also required to pre-arrange a tour with a licensed guide, a private vehicle with driver, through one of the local travel agencies. As a yearly experienced local travel agency, we, WindhorseTour, would certainly assist to design a unique Tibet trip, to obtain the necessary Tibet permits and arrange a memorable Tibet trip. For the latest information, please check Tibet Permit and Tibet travel updates.
- Only the guide could hold your Tibet permit after you step on Tibet land according to the travel policy. When the tour ends, your Tibet permits are required to return to the Tibet Tourism Bureau office.
- For those only traveling to the Tibetan areas in Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, and Gansu Provinces, there’s no need to apply for the Tibet permit, you only need to have a valid passport and Chinese visa.
- If the travelers intend to climb Mount Everest, the additional mountaineering license/permit is required, which can be only arranged by the designated travel agencies.
Table of contents for Tibet permits:
- What is the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit
- Who needs the TTB permit to travel to Tibet
- How to apply for the TTB permit
- How long does it take to get the TTB permit
- How much does TTB permit cost
- How to pick up my TTB permit in order to board the flight/train to Lhasa
- What is the Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
- How to apply for Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
- How long and how much does it take to get the Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
- What is the Military Permit
- How to apply for Military permit and how long does it take
Details for the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit
What is the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit
Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit, approved by the Tibet Tourism Bureau office, is an essential entry permit for foreigners/Taiwan citizens/overseas Chinese without Chinese passport to travel into Tibet, and it is also the utmost important permit of all, required to be presented when booking and boarding the flight or train to Tibet. In addition, it will be checked at any time whilst in Tibet.
Who needs the TTB permit to travel to Tibet
For those who are international tourists, overseas Chinese without Chinese passport/id card, and Taiwan citizens, it is an essential document when they travel in Tibet.
Please kindly note that people with tourist (L), business (F), employment/work (Z) visa, and student (X) visa have no issues getting the permit. Diplomats, journalists, and government officials require arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
How to apply for the TTB permit
The TTB permit can be ONLY applied by one of the local travel agencies on travelers’ behalf. WindhorseTour is one of the best local travel agencies offering Tibet tours with Tibet permits application, with over 13 years of professional experience, we are very confident to design a unique and unforgettable trip in Tibet.
If the travelers enter Tibet from one of the cities of mainland China, the travelers' clear photocopies/scanned copies of the valid passport and individual China visa are required to submit together with the TTB permit application form. For those holding a business (F), employment/work (Z) visa, and student (X) visa, the support documents for those special visas are also required: invitation letter for the F visa, alien employment permit for the Z visa, student card for the X visa. If the travelers enter Tibet from Kathmandu, then we only need the copies of the valid passports. Those documents are required to send to us via email at least 20 days to 1 month in advance.
How long does it take to get the TTB permit
The TTB permit’s processing time takes around 14-30 days, which depends on the destinations that you will travel in Tibet. In this case, it is highly recommended to make your booking as early as possible, to leave enough time to obtain this permit.
How much does the TTB permit cost
Even though much labor cost is involved to obtain the TTB permit, however, we offer a 100% guarantee and free service for our clients’ Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit application.
How to pick up my TTB permit in order to board the flight/train to Lhasa
For travelers who take the flights to Lhasa from any city of China, AND trains departing Lanzhou/Chongqing/Xi’an, it is required to present the original TTB permit to board the flights/trains. In this case, we will deliver the original permits to your hotel in advance.
For travelers who take the trains to Lhasa except for the above 3 cities, you only present the color-printed TTB permits to board the trains. We will send the scanned copies of the TTB permit via email in advance.
For those who take the flight from Kathmandu, you only need to present the Chinese group visa to check-in, your Tibetan guide will hold your TTB permit and pick-up the group from Lhasa airport.
Details for the Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
What is the Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
Alien Travel Permit (ATP) is needed at the time if you want to go beyond the Lhasa region, as well the 'unopened' areas in Tibet, including Mount Everest and Mount Kailash. It is issued by the Foreign Affairs Section of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) office, sometimes, we also call it as PSB permit. Compared with TTB permit, it is not a must for entering Tibet and the visit to Lhasa and Namtso Lake, but a must for Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi, etc. At the time of missing this essential permit, you will be stopped by the local police in Tibet. Below is the list of unopened areas requiring Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB):
- Gyantse County: Palcho Monastery and Kubum Stupa, etc.
- Shigatse Area: Sakya Monastery, Mount Everest Base Camp, Rongbuk Monastery, Shalu Monastery, etc.
- Shannan Region: Samye Monastery, Trandruk Monastery, Yungbulakang Palace, the Tomb of Tibetan Kings, etc.
- Nyingchi Region: Basum Tso Lake, Pomi, Rawok Tso Lake, etc.
- Ngari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang and Guge Kingdom, Ali, etc.
- Chamdo Region
How to apply for Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
The application for Alien Travel Permit can be made in Lhasa/Shigatse/Tsedang upon your arrival, through your local travel agency, and cannot be done in person. Please note that the ATP/PSB permit application can be only submitted upon your arrival in Tibet as we also need to submit your passports, TTB permit, and Chinese visa.
How long and how much does it take to get the Alien Travel Permit (ATP/PSB)
Generally, it will not take much time to generate this permit, the processing time takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours. Once it is ready, it will be collected by your guide on your behalf and you don’t need to show up. The cost is 100 CNY per person which is already included in your overall tour cost.
Details for the Military Permit
What is the Military Permit
The military permit is another permit issued by the Military office in Lhasa. These are specially issued by the government giving permission to the tourists to enter many restricted areas politically sensitive and border regions where territory is disputed between China and neighboring countries. Here, we have come up with the list of areas, where you would need such permit to visit:
- Ngari Region: Mount Kailash, Lake Mansarovar, and all other areas too.
- Nyingchi Region: Basum Tso, Pomi, Ranwu, and other remote Shannan areas.
- Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, and all other areas too.
- An overland tour between Tibet and Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnan, as well as Qinghai provinces.
How to apply for Military permit and how long does it take
The military permit takes around 20 days to be prepared. We have to apply for and obtain this permit prior to your departure for Tibet. Normally, this permit application will be submitted right after your TTB permit application, also with the scanned copies of the valid passport and Chinese visa. It is advisable to confirm your booking at least 1 month in advance to secure the application time.
Details for the Chinese visa
Tibet is a province of China, hence, it is essential for every traveler to have a valid passport and Chinese visa to enter Tibet.
If the travelers enter Tibet from mainland China, you must obtain your Chinese Visa from the Chinese Embassies/Consulates of your country in advance. When applying for a Chinese visa, your visa may be refused if your application listed Tibet as a travel destination, hence, it is highly advisable to replace Tibet with other cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, etc. as your destination. WindhorseTour will provide our clients with a China visa invitation letter to assist to obtain the Chinese visa.
If the travelers enter Tibet from the Nepal side, the individual Chinese visa is invalid, you must have the Chinese Group Visa issued by the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, applied by your Tibet trip operator (like WindhorseTour) upon your arrival. It takes 3-4 working days to get the Chinese Group Visa, you are required to have some days in Kathmandu/Nepal before you travel to Tibet. The application fee of the Chinese Group visa varies based on nationality.
- It would be an A4 size sheet piece of paper with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth, and occupation of each member listed in your group.
- In this group visa, your date of entering and leaving Tibet and China would precisely be recorded. All members of your tour group have to travel together during the whole trip in Tibet and the extended tour in other cities of mainland China.
- In order to apply for the Tibet Group Visa, you will need a visa invitation letter from the Tibet Tourism Bureau which will be sent by a local tour agency like us.
- The Group China Visa is normally valid for a maximum of 30 days, with exceptional cases for a maximum of 60 days. And it can not be extended, for travelers who plan to stay in China for more than 30 days, it’s better to obtain an individual Chinese visa in advance.
- Your travel in China (including the visit to Tibet from Nepal and a trip from Tibet to other cities in China) should strictly follow the scheduled and submitted itinerary.
- Important note: for travelers already obtained the Chinese Tourist Visa or any other type of individual visa, the individual visa will be canceled when applying for the Group China Visa in Kathmandu.
Contact us about Tibet permit
If you have any other queries in your mind regarding the Tibet permits, please feel free to contact us anytime via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (+86-28-85593923). We are always open to provide you our valuable assistance. In addition, you can always use the Tibet FAQ to check other more questions about traveling to Tibet.