Passport and China visa
As Tibet is part of China, any foreigners who want to travel to Tibet must have a passport valid for at least 6 months, and a China Visa before they apply for the Tibet Permit.
There are two types of China visa, individual visa for the foreign travelers entering Tibet via Mainland China and group for those who travel to Tibet from Nepal.
Individual China Visa
An individual China Visa can be easily obtained from most Chinese embassies and consulates in your locality and must be obtained in advance.
There are 4 common types of China Visa:
- Tourist (L) visa
- Business (F) visa
- Employment/Work (Z) visa
- Student (X) visa
The Cost and Valid Date of China Visa:
Due to your nationality and the type of visa you apply for, the cost of a standard China visa varies from $12- $120 USD.
Tourist visas may be issued for single or double entry, with a validity ranging from 30 to 90 days.
Multiple entry visas are normally issued for business or educational purposes only, such as the "F" Visa, "X" Visa or "Z" Visa etc, ranging invalidity from 6 to 12 months, and are more expensive ($ 120-250 USD).
Normally three working days are required to process a visa application from the date of its submission.
Tips for Applying a China visa to Tibet:
It's better not to mention Tibet as your travel destination when you are applying for a visa to China (China Embassy in Kathmandu is exceptional). Because you may be refused by stating that you will go to Tibet. Otherwise, you need to get a Tibet Permit beforehand and apply for a China visa with it then. It is very difficult to apply for a Tibet Permit when you are abroad, or you need to join some groups.
Tibet Group Visa
If you want to enter Tibet from Nepal, you have to get your GROUP VISA in the Chinese embassy of Kathmandu, whether you have already a Chinese visa or not.
Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with all members of the tour and their passport number, date of birth and profession listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely mentioned.
Generally, the visa is valid for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to get visa for a few additional days, for the stay in Lhasa only. There will be two original copies of Group Visa, one for each immigration at the entry and exit. As the processing can be done by local travel agencies in Kathmandu.
The Price of a Tibet Group Visa
|Cost for US Citizens||Cost for Other Citizens||Processing Time|
|Ordinary||$ 145||$ 55||4 Working Days|
|Urgent||$ 180||$ 70||3 Working Days|
|Agency Processing Fee: $ 15|
Tips for Applying a China Visa to Tibet via Nepal:
If you enter Tibet via Nepal, it's better not to apply for any individual China visa in your country. Because when you arrive at Kathmandu, you need to join a group to Tibet with a group visa, the Chinese embassy will cancel your former individual china visa.
It is very difficult to get a individual china visa back or the group visa extension if you still want to travel in other places in China after Tibet, usually the PSB in China will ask you to leave China before the group visa expires.