Issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, Tibet Visa (also called Tibet Travel Permit) is an essential document for international tourists who plan to have Tibet tours. Foreigners can not get their Tibet Visa without the help the tour operators. This document can only be applied for by the local travel agency. Only holding the Tibet Travel Permit, tourists can travel in Tibet and surroundings. Some places like Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kailash, Samye Monastery, etc need other Tibet permits like Alien’s Travel Permit and Military Permit.
Who Need to Apply for Tibet Visa?
If you are not a Chinese, you must have the Tibet Travel Permit before setting foot in Tibet. But people who come from Taiwan also need the Tibet Permit. For those overseas, they also have to apply for this document if they are non-Chinese passports.
For people from Hong Kong and Macau, Home Return Permit which is also known as Mainland Travel Permit is required.
The Way to Get Tibet Visa
There are three main steps for travelers to get the Tibet Travel Permit. The first step is to book a local Tibet travel agency and contact with them. Commonly, the tour agency will help you plan a tailor-made Tibet tour in a small group or private tour. Then, the tour operator will collect the travelers’ personal information for dealing with the Tibet Visa. The second step is to send your passport copies and Chinese Visa by the Internet to your travel agency. If you are working or studying in China, you should show the admission certificate. The third step is to get it from your travel agency. Usually, it takes more than 5 working days after the tour agency sent the application to Tibet Tourism Bureau. As soon as those operators receive the Tibet Visa, they will send it to your hotel at once. Sometimes, you may receive your Tibet Visa at the train station or airport.
Tibet Travel Permit is the only document for travelers to get on the train or airport. Thus, you’d better apply for the Tibet Visa about 20 days in advance before your Tibet tour.
How about Travel in Tibet from Nepal?
For travelers who want to travel in Tibet from Nepal, you can apply for this permit in Katmandu. There are two kinds of permits you should apply. The one is Tibet Permit, and the other is Group Tourist Visa. For travelers who come from the Sino-Nepal border, the tour guide will give you the permit when she or he picks you up at the port. For travelers who take flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa, your tour guide will meet you and give it to you at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport.
How about the process of the application of the Group Tourist Visa? Firstly, you should reach Kathmandu, then send your original passport to your tour operator. Finally, your tour agency will help you apply this visa issued from the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Commonly, it takes 3 days to finish the whole process. Be sure that you have enough time.