Up to now, it’s not a secret that foreigners need to apply for some special permits before their Tibet tours. And the most basic one is Tibet Travel Permit, which is kind of an entry bridge to Tibet. But not all the travelers know clearly about Tibet Permit. Read this post, and get all your questions solved.
What is Tibet Travel Permit?
According to the law of the People’s Republic of China, except for the Chinese Visa, Tibet Travel Permit is another essential document required for traveling to Tibet as foreigners. Here I use “as”, because some tourists may be Chinese but their nationalities are USA, UK, Australia, or any other countries, so, they have to get Tibet Travel Permits before entering Tibet same as the alien visitors. Therefore, it’s also called as “Tibet Visa”. It is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) but it doesn’t mean you can travel around in Tibet anywhere by only holding Tibet Permit. Tourists are only allowed to stay in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region. If you want to go out of Lhasa and visit some regions not opened to the public, such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash, etc. you must obtain other permits in addition to Tibet Visa. For example, Aliens’ Travel Permit, Military Permit, and so on. Those documents are a little bit difficult to collect, as they need to be signed up through the government departments one by one.
Why is it a must to apply for Tibet Travel Permit?
As you know, Tibet is a politically sensitive place due to the historical reasons. It’s always contentious and seems will not stop in a short time. The government would never let any aliens enter such a region easily. What if it’s a terrorist?
Besides, most of the residents in Tibet are Zang minority nationality, which has a distinct ethnic culture and devout religious spiritual life. With a simple and pure heart, they want to protect the natural landscape which are the gifts from gods and the cultural heritages which were handed down from the wise ancestors while developing their economy. Thus, they have to focus on ecologically environmental safeguard.
The last one, the tourist service facilities are not as mature as other developed tour sites, which caused the limited reception capacity. It’s not possible to accept immoderate visitors out of control, which perhaps will bring disasters.
Do I need a Visa to travel to Tibet?
Regarding the people who must get a Tibet Visa for traveling to Tibet, the National Tourism Administration had made the following regulations.
- Foreign travelers, Taiwanese and Chinese holding passport of another country are required to obtain Tibet Travel Permit before entering Tibet.
- Hong Kong and Macao residents who have Chinese passport or Special Administrative Region Home Return Certificate no need to apply for Tibet Travel Permit.
- The mentioned people can get the Tibet Travel Permit through any authorized travel agency except for diplomats, journalists, and government officials who have to apply for it through the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.
How hard is it to get a visa for Tibet?
Actually, as a traveler, it’s not hard to get a visa for Tibet because all the trouble is the job of Tibet Tour companies. If you are a normal tourist, what you need to do is to give the passport copy and other necessary information to a reliable travel agency and then wait for usually three working days. Just be noted that, please make sure you already get the Tibet Travel Permit before you book air or train ticket to Tibet. Otherwise, you may be forbidden to board from airport or train station.