Tibet Group Visa & Permits

Tibet Permit - Aug 7th 2018

The “Letter of Confirmation for Entry into the Tibet Autonomous Region of the P.R. China" is what it called as ATP or TTB in most of the travel forums, it is also known as Tibet Travel Permit.
> Tibet permit regulation in 2018 is one of the easiest without any restrictions.
> It was also available for Norwegians from beginning of this year.

> if you need any information on how to plan a Tibet tour or how to get to Tibet, then please feel free to consult our specialized Tibetan travel guides, who has more than 15 years of experiences in travel all around the Tibetan plateau.
> For solo travelers or the budget travelers, we have Tibet Small Group Tours departing every week with very reasonable prices.
> Sign up one of our Tibet Group Tours departure based on your interest and we will find other like-minded travelers to share the cost.
> For free consultation about Tibet travel permit please write us at sales@exploretibet.com.

Frequently asked questions and Answers

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Important information on Tibet travel permit & Tibet Group Visa
This page provides you important and first-hand information about Tibet travel permit and documents needed to apply for the permits. Tibet is officially a province of China, so a valid China visa is required to travel to Tibet (except if you enter Tibet from Nepal, please see the Tibet group visa section if you enter Tibet from Nepal). As Tibet is different from other places in mainland China, you need some additional travel documents or permits to travel. Please check the details below:
 
Tibet travel permit | Explore Tibet

The Four Tibet Travel Permits and Visas required for a foreigner to travel to Tibet.
1) China visa or Tibet Group visa
2) Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)
3) Alien's Travel Permit (ATP/also called PSB permit)
4) Military permit


The Tibet Travel Permits are vary based on the region/places that you travel in Tibet, so the Chinese visa/Group visa and Tibet travel permit is compulsory for all types of Tibet tour,  where the Military Permit and Alien's Travel Permit are only needed if you travel to restricted areas like Everest Base Camp, Mt.Kailash, Ranwu and so on.

Why Tibet Group Tours | Explore Tibet

1) Chinese Visa / Tibet Visa or Tibet Group Visa

Tibet is officially a province of China, so every traveler must have a valid passport and Chinese visa to enter Tibet (except if you are entering from Nepal). A Chinese visa is generally obtainable from most Chinese embassies and consulates in your area and must be obtained in advance.

Tips: Since Tibet is a politically sensitive area, the Chinese Consulate or Embassy may refuse your visa application if you list Tibet as a travel destination. We recommend choosing an alternate city in mainland China such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai etc. as your destination. 

If you are entering Tibet from Nepal, you will need to obtain the Tibet Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. It is an A4 size sheet of paper with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member listed in your group. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded.
All travelers in the group must enter and leave China together.
To apply for the Tibet Group Visa, you will need a visa invitation letter from the Tibet Tourism Bureau sent by a tour agency in Tibet. Our office in Lhasa can prepare the necessary arrangements and send them to our local agent in Nepal to help travelers apply for the Tibet Group Visa.

Chinese Visa

Tibet Group Visa

For detail of the visa application and formalities please check your regional Chinese Embassy website HERE

2) Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)

Often mistakenly known as the “Tibet Visa,” the Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) is actually the entry permit to enter the province. TTPs must be applied through a local tour agency in Tibet. It is impossible for foreign tourists to board a train or flight to Tibet without a TTP.
The permits specify every destination and attraction you will visit on your tour and cannot be changed once you arrive in Tibet. Therefore it is essential that you finalize your itinerary with your tour operator before they apply for the TTP. 
If you hold a visa different from the (L) Tourist visa, such as a student or work visa, you will need a letter from your school or company to clarify the purpose of your visit.


3) Alien's Travel Permit (ATP)
If your itinerary includes passing through destinations within a restricted area, you will need an Alien Travel Permit (ATP). The ATP is a travel document issued by the Public Security Bureau, a branch of the police that handles affairs with foreigners.
When you travel to a restricted place in Tibet, your tour guide will take your original passport to the local Public Security Bureau and apply for the ATP on your behalf. 

Tibet Alien's Travel Permit - ATP

The lists of the restricted places in Tibet that need Alient's Travel Permit:
  1. Ali (Far Western Tibet)
  2. Basum tso Lake (In Nyintri)
  3. Chamdo (Far East Tibet)
  4. Guge Kingdom (Far Western Tibet)
  5. Kyirong (New Border to Nepal)
  6. Mt Kailash
  7. Mt Everest Base Camp
  8. Ranwu (Eastern Tibet)
  9. Sakya monastery (about 200km west of Shigatse)
  10. Shalu monastery (few kilometer north-west of Gyantse)
  11. Samye Monastery
  12. Tsochen 


4) Military Permit
The military permit is a travel document issued by the military authority in Tibet. You need it to enter politically sensitive areas and border regions where territory is disputed between China and neighboring countries.

The lists of the places that need Military Permit:
  1. Ali (Far Western Tibet)
  2. Guge Kingdom (Far Western Tibet)
  3. Kyirong (New Border to Nepal)
  4. Lake Manasarovar (Near Mt Kailash in Far Western Tibet)
  5. Mt Kailash (Western Tibet)
  6. Nyima Country (Border country between Ali and Nakchu prefecture)
  7. Tsochen


It is important to note that you are only responsible for the Chinese visa and deciding your itinerary. Explore Tibet will apply for all necessary permits after you’ve sent us the documents required. 

How to obtain the Tibet Travel Permits (TTP)
The Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) is necessary for foreigners to get into the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Explore Tibet can apply for the permit for you and currently according to the Tibet tourism bureua policy, all the permit application should be submitted at least 15 days before the trip starting date, but if you are traveling into restricted areas, then you need more additional permits and documents which will take longer time. Once you confirm your trip with us, we request you to send us a clear scanned copy or photo of your passport and Chinese visa at least 20 days in advance by email as it is required for applying for the the Tibet Travel Permit. When the permit is issued we will send a copy or original of the permit to your hotel in China. If you will fly into Tibet then we will send the original permit to your hotel in China as you need it to board the flight. If you will take the train into Tibet, then we will send a copy of the permit by email and you can bring a copy to board the train.
Note: Diplomats, Journalists, professional media photographer and government officials are not able to issue their Tibet permit through ordinary travel agencies. They are only able to travel Tibet under the arrangement of Foreign Affairs Department, Economic Development Committee, etc.
 
Important Tips from Explore Tibet - How to apply for Chinese visa
It’s best not to mention Tibet or any places in Tibet as your travel destination when you are applying for Chinese visa (the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is the only exception). Since Tibet is politically sensitive in China, your consulate may refuse your visa application if you mention travelling to Tibet in your application form, so please keep this in mind when applying. You can mention any city of mainland China such as Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chengdu-Sichuan, Yunnan, etc. as your travel destination.


 
Tibet Group Visa—Documentation for entering Tibet from Nepal
Entering Tibet via Nepal by land or air
If you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get your Tibet group visa from the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Whether you already have a Chinese visa or not, a Tibet group visa is compulsory for all tourists entering Tibet from Nepal. The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to extend the visa for few additional days, but only for staying in Lhasa. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at entry and another for exit. Explore Tibet can easily help you obtain the Tibet Group visa through our partner agent in Kathmandu. We highly recommend you to don’t apply for an individual Chinese visa in your country if you decided to enter Tibet from Nepal, because when you apply for the group visa for entering Tibet, the Chinese embassy will cancel your individual Chinese visa.

What are the requirements to apply for the Tibet Group Visa in Kathmandu?
When apply for the Tibet Group Visa at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, you can’t apply by yourself, you have to apply for the Tibet group visa through a local Nepalese agent, there are three main requirements for the application, which are:
  1. Valid and original passport.
  2. One passport size color photo with 33mm width x 48mm height, white background photo, your ears must be seen, shouldn’t wear ear rings, necklace or jewelries and caps and should be straight looking head in the photo, check the below sample photo.
  3. Visa application form, our Nepal agent will bring you the visa application form and you need to fill it detail correct information.
 If you don’t have the passport size photo or not the right one, then you can take it in Kathmandu which will cost USD3-5.
Tibet Group Visa Required Photo Size by Explore Tibet

What is the duration of the Group visa that I can apply?
Can I get the Tibet Group Visa longer than my Tibet tour length?

Yes, you can obtain the Tibet Group Visa maximum for 30 days, but to obtain the 30 days Tibet Group Visa, you need to clarify it to your Tibet tour company right from the beginning, so that when they apply for the Tibet Group Visa invitation letter from the Tibet tourism bureau in Lhasa, they need to put the duration on the invitation letter.
On the Tibet Group Visa invitation form there are blanks to fill entry and exit date, then duration of your stay, so these should be filled based on your need, then the invitation form will be approved from the Tibet tourism bureau with their stamp and signature on it.
Then a copy of the letter send to the Nepal agent and they can apply for the Group Visa with your original passports.
Note: The Tibet Group Visa is single entry and can’t extend
 
Below are the costs of group visas for different nationalities

S/No. Nationality: Visa Entry Type: Ordinary Process:
5 working days
Urgent Process:
3 working days
Top Urgent:
2 working days
1. USA Single Entry $140 $157 $178
2. Canadian Single Entry $84 $100 $121
3. Romanian Single Entry $84 $100 $122
4. Brazilian Single Entry $100 $115 $135
5. Israelian Single Entry $42 $59 $80
6. Argentina Single Entry $147 $165 $187
7. All Others Single Entry $51 $68 $89
Note: The above Tibet Group Visa cost is subject to be change without prior notice by the Embassy, so please check with your travel consultant for the latest visa costs.
The Tibet Group Visa is only applicable from Monday to Friday.
The Nepal visa agent will charge visa service fee of $10 to $50 per person based on the number people in the same group.
 

How long the Tibet Group Visa Application Process Take?
There are three main visa processing types based on different cost, which are Ordinary, Urgent and Top Urgent,
1. Ordinary Process:
This process will take 5 working days and you must arrive Kathmandu before 5 working days, then submit your orignal passport, color passport size photo and the visa application form to our Nepalese agent.

2. Urgent Process:
This process will take 3 working days and you must arrive Kathmandu before 3 working days, then submit your original passport, color passport size photo and visa application form to our Nepalese agent.

3. Top Urgent Process:
This process will take 2 working days and you should arrive Kathamdnu before 2 full working days, then hand your original passport, passport size color photo and visa application form to our Nepalese agent.

Important Tips: 
Our Nepalese agent will give you the visa application form and request you to fill it when you meet at your hotel or other scheduled place, then the passports and Tibet group visa will return you in the afternoon when it processed.


 
  • Tibet Travel Permit Update on J

    All the Tibet travel permit process will normalize from 1st April. End of 2016, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal has announced a new restrictions for the Tibet Group Visa for 26 different nationalities, so all these 26 nationalities

  • Tibet Travel Permit Update on M

    the Tibet travel permit application is avaialble again. Foreign travelers can enter Tibet starting April 1st, 2017, but need to confirm at least 10 days in advance to process the Tibet permit paper works. Depending on what type of tour you

  • Tibet Travel Permit Update on J

    Tibet travel permit processes are back to normal and it takes 10 to 25 days based on the different tour itineraries. Recently Tibet tourism bureau has stopped issuing TibetGroup Visa invitation letter for less than 3 people group, so if you

  • Tibet Travel Permit Update on S

    National holiday work off for 8 days from October 1st to 8th, so no permit would be process during the holiday, then the new permit process restart from Oct 9th again. For detail please write us email at Sales@exploretibet.com Tibet Kyirion

  • Tibet Travel Permit Update on J

    Tibet Travel Permit is as usual and currently it is issuing for all the tour groups leaving Tibet before 10th Feb, as this is Tibetan New Year is from Feb 16th and if you are planning for Tibet tours after 10th Feb, then we would high recom

  • Tibet Permit Update on March 7t

    Tibet Travel Permit is back to normal again and all the permit application started at the tourism bureau soon after the Tibetan New Year which was from Feb 16th. As the Tibet permit process would take more than a week depending on the Tibet

  • Tibet Permit - Apirl 6th, 2018

    Tibet Travel Permit is what it used called in the past more than 10 years, and in April 2018, its name was officially changed as Letter of Confirmation for Entry into the Tibet Autonomous Region of the P.R.China. Tibet entry travel permit i

  • Tibet Permit - Apirl 6th, 2018

    Tibet Travel Permit is what it used called in the past more than 10 years, and in April 2018, its name was officially changed as Letter of Confirmation for Entry into the Tibet Autonomous Region of the P.R.China. Tibet entry travel permit i

  • Tibet Permit - Jun 20th,2018

    Tibet Travel Permit regulation is getting better every year and all the related government departments are also trying to simplify the permit approval process, over the years, there are many travelers confused by uncertainty of the Tibet tr

  • Tibet Permit - Aug 7th 2018

    The Letter of Confirmation for Entry into the Tibet Autonomous Region of the P.R. China is what it called as ATP or TTB in most of the travel forums, it is also known as Tibet Travel Permit . Tibet permit regulation in 2018 is one of the eas

Tibet Group Visa & Permit FAQs

1. What documents do I need to visit Tibet?

To visit Tibet you should have a valid passport, a Chinese visa and Tibet Travel Permit, it is also called a Tibet Entry Permit or Tibet Visa. When you book the tour from us, we will obtain the Tibet Travel Permit for you from the Tibet Tourism Bureau, so all what you need to do is send us scan copies of your passports and Chinese visa by email and we will take care of the rest. You can also check the latest Tibet Travel Permit by clicking this link.

2. What documents do I need to send you to apply for TTP?

Once you have confirmed your tour with us, we need you to send us clear scanned copies of Passports and China Visas for every member of the group to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. If your China Visa is not an “L” visa, then you must also provide additional documents such as student certificates, work permits, residence permits and so on.

3. How to get the Tibet Travel Permit?

To obtain Tibet Travel Permits, it is compulsory to make your Tibet tour arrangements through a local travel agency, and then provide clear scan copies of you passports and China visa to apply for the Tibet permit (TTP). Please note that it’s impossible for a foriegners to board either flights or trains to Tibet without the Travel Permit. The permits themselves specify every destination and towns that you would visit during the tour and cannot be changed once you have arrived in Tibet; therefore, make sure that you have listed all your interested places in the tour with your tour operator before they apply for the permit. It usually takes 5 to 10 working days for the Tibet Travel Permit to be issued, then if your tour included restricted areas like Mt.Kailash or further eastern Tibet, then you will another permit from the Tibet Military department which would take another 5 to 7 days.

4. What kind of trip requires the Military Permit, PSB Permit and Alien's Travel Permit?

Military and PSB Permits are only needed for those trips going through sensitive areas or a border region; these trips include the Mt. Kailash trip, Sichuan-Tibet Overland Tour, Tibet-Kashigar Overland Tour and so on. Alien's Travel Permits are necessary if you are going to Mt. Everest Base Camp, Samye Monastery (southern part of Tibet), Nyinchi (Eastern part of Tibet) and Mt. Kailash, but these can be issued from the local PSB just before you enter the region.

5. How long does the Tibet Permit application process take?

Normally, Tibet permits can be issued in 5 to 7 working days, but if your tour itinerary covers some restricted or unopened areas like  Mt. Kailash, Sichuan-Tibet highway and Yunnan-Tibet highway, it need several different permits, then it would take around 10-15 working days.

6. How long does the Tibet Permit applying takes?

Normally, the Tibet Travel Permit application process would take 10-15 days depending your travel plan, if you just vist Lhasa and around or EBC (Mt Everest Base Camp), then the permit would take around 10 days, if you go further west of Tibet and to Mt Kailash, then the permit would take around 15 days. But we highly advise you to book your Tibet tour as early as you can, so it give us more time to process the permit and hassel free.
If you fly into Tibet, you should have the original permit to board the flight, so you should provide us with details about your hotel or residence address in China (including the correct name under which the booking is made) and we will send the original permit to you by Express which takes 24hrs to 3 days within China, we never mail it abroad as it takes longer and could be delayed or lost. If you don't have a long layover or overnight in China, you can send us your detail international flight information and we can arrange someone to deliver the permit to you at the airport.

If you take the Train to Tibet, we will send you a copy of the permit by email and you can print it and bring the copy to board the train.

7. How we can enter Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal?

There are two main ways to get into Tibet from Nepal, either through a direct flight from Kathmandu to Tibet (normally available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) or by an overland drive to Tibet. The overland drive poses a greater risk of getting Altitude sickness due to the extreme increase in elevation along the way.

8. What documents are needed if we enter Tibet from Nepal?

If you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get the TIBET GROUP VISA from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu despite whether or not you already have a Chinese Visa. The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded. Usually, the visa is valid only for the length of the trip you have booked but it's possible to get the visa extended for few additional days, for stays in Lhasa only. There will be two original copies of the Tibet Group Visa, one for immigration at the entry and one for the exit. We can easily help you with the Tibet Group Visa application. We also highly recommend if you enter Tibet via Nepal not to apply for an individual Chinese Visa in your country; when you arrive in Kathmandu, you will need to apply for the Group Visa to enter Tibet and the Chinese Embassy will cancel your individual Chinese Visa when you receive the Group Visa.

9. How much does the Tibet Group Visa cost?

Category

Number of Working Days to Obtain it

Cost for American Passport Holders

Cost for other Nationalities

Normal

5 days

$140.00 (USD)

$50.00 (USD)

Urgent

3 days

$155.00 (USD)

$65.00 (USD)

Top Urgent

1 day

$175.00 (USD)

$85.00 (USD)

Note: You can only apply for the Tibet Group Visa on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (three days a week). Also, the local Nepalese agencies have a service charge of $20-50 (USD) per person normally based on group size.
Above information are updated on Aug.20th, 2011.

Please click HERE to check more detail of the Tibet Group Visa and its application.

10. How do I apply for Chinese Visa?

To avoid any problems you might encounter to obtain the Chinese visa in other countries, we suggest you to obtain the Chinese Visa from the Chinese Consulate in your home country before you leave. Explore Tibet also strongly suggest you not mention your trip to Tibet on your visa application form, because Tibet is a politically sensitive area and mentioning it as a destination on your application might reject the visa. You can use your return flight tickets and hotel reservation in other cities of China to get the visa
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