The Potala Palace in Tibet — Heart of the Roof of the World
The Potala Palace is a symbol of Tibet. In 1994 it was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It is a huge treasure house of materials and articles from Tibetan history, religion, culture and art. The palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scriptures, Buddhist statues, antiques, and religious jewelry housed within.
Tibet Travel Permit – Who Needs One and How to Get it
Due to Tibet’s political situation, it is not so easy to travel Tibet as Mainland China. Foreign travelers are required to apply for special Tibet permits as well as a China visa. But China Highlights will help you get it!
Read on to learn how to apply for Tibet permits successfully.
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 the 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 Get a Tibet Entry Permit
Tibet Entry Permit
Foreigners are not allowed to apply for Tibet permits independently. You have to find a China-based travel agency, like China Highlights, to help you do it. What’s more, foreign citizens are not allowed to travel in Tibet independently. You have to be accompanied by a tour guide.
The first requirement for a Tibet Entry Permit is a China visa.
To apply for a Tibet Entry Permit, all you need to do is:
- Find an approved Chinese travel agency to help arrange your Tibet tour (your tour itinerary must be shown on the permit).
- Send your passport and China visa copies to your travel agency, and they will help apply for Tibet entry.
Applications are almost always successfully if you:
- 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.
- 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 at advance, so that we can help you apply for another permit.
In the past, foreign travelers were not allowed to visit Tibet from January to April, but in 2019, foreign passport holders may enter Tibet from March 1.
Foreign visitors to Tibet must travel in groups and apply for an Entry Permit as before.
How to Use Your Tibet Entry Permit — When It’s Checked
A Tibet Entry Permit is required to visit the Potala Palace and other attractions in Tibet.
Your travel agency help you apply for the permits and send it to you before your departure.
Tibet Entry Permit Will Be Checked at Train Stations/Airports
- A copy of your Tibet Entry Permit will be checked at your departure train station. And you are suggested to print at least 2 copies.
- Your original permit will be checked at your departure airport (Nepal only requires copy).
- 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 safe keeping.
Tour with China Highlights, We Will Send You Your Permit Before Departure for Tibet
Entering Tibet by air:
Our customers receive their original Tibet Entry Permits from one of our local offices in the city where they depart from for depart for Tibet, e.g. Chengdu, if traveling by air.
Entering Tibet by train:
We will send you a scanned copy of your Tibet Entry Permit by e-mail if you enter Tibet by railway. You will need to print it out. Your official Tibet Entry Permit will be held by your guide in Lhasa.
Entering Tibet from China — Detailed Requirements
Your travel agency will help you apply for the permits with your passport and China visa.
All foreign individuals entering Tibet must hold a passport valid for at least six months.
Additional Requirements for F Visa and Z Visa Customers:
If you are an F (business) or Z (work) visa holder, you are required to provide additional information to get a Tibet Entry Permit. Your travel agency will send you the requirements after you book the tour.
1. If you are working in China on a Z visa, these are required:
- A current Residence Permit (居留许可证, like a visa in your passport),
- Certification in Chinese from your company/school in China (工作证明, using your company’s letter paper, with your name and passport number, and company seal on it).
2. If you are invited to China on an F visa (for business, research, lecturing; scientific, technological, or culture exchange; short-term advanced studies, or intern practice for a period of no more than six months), you need:
- Certification from your Chinese travel agency
Entering Tibet from Nepal — Group Visas Needed
Entering Tibet from Nepal requires a “group visa” (at least 3 people in a group) valid for Tibet from the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. It normally takes two weeks to obtain it.
- First, you will still need to find an approved Chinese travel agency, like China Highlights, to help you apply for a Tibet permit.
- After you receive an invitation letter and Tibet itinerary from your Chinese agency, a Nepal travel agency, e.g. our partner in Kathmandu, will help you apply for your Tibet Group Visa.
For more please refer to Entering Tibet from Nepal.
China Highlights Help You Get a Tibet Entry Permit
We can help you with your Tibet tour arrangements in good time and meet the above requirements, and also help get the permits. Currently we have helped our customers obtain Tibet Entry Permits with success rate of 100%. But we don’t provide a separate visa/permit application service.
This page was last updated on June 28, 2017. Please contact us for the latest policy situation, or share the latest related news if you have any good resources.
Extra Tibet Permits Are Needed If You Travel Outside Lhasa
An Aliens’ Travel Permit is required to visit Mt. Everest and most attractions outside Lhasa.
If your Tibet tour only contains Lhasa city’s attractions (The 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.
Don’t worry, your travel agency, and your tour guide will tell you what to do and help you with it. Read on to see what kind of permits you will need to go to various Tibet destinations:
Places Requiring Tibet Entry Permits and Aliens’ Travel Permits
- Shigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
- Gyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery, Kubum Stupa
- Tsetang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trandruk Temple, Yumbulakhang
- Nyingchi Region: Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso
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 Entry Permit + Aliens’ Travel Permit + Military Permit
- Ngari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Ali
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.
Plan Your Tibet Tour as Early as Possible
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.
Don’t trouble yourself about the complicated-looking Tibet permits procedures: we will guide you and help youthrough all of the application and Tibet travel process.
Enjoy a Hassle-Free Tibet Tour with China Highlights
Our experienced advisers and tour guide will give you an impressed Tibet tour.
If you are planning a Tibet tour, please see our most popular itineraries below for inspiration, or you can simply contact us to begin tailor-making a unique Tibet tour according to your interests and requirements.