What documents do I need to get to 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. When you book the tour from any local travel agencies, “No matter where in Tibet you plan to go, it is the travel agency’s responsibility to get the permits for you, you cannot get permits on your own” Travel agency will obtain the Tibet Travel Permit for you from the Tibet Tourism Bureau, so all what you need to do is send us a clear scan copies of your passports and Chinese visa by email and the travel agency will take care of everything for you.

Which areas of Tibet require an organized tour?

All areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region require all foreign travelers to be part of an organized tour with a Tibet travel agency that includes travel permits, a tour guide and a private vehicle with a driver (no private vehicle needed if you are just staying in Lhasa). The Tibetan prefectures found in northern Sichuan, western Sichuan, Qinghai, southwest Gansu and northwest Yunnan are (usually) open and do not require travel permits or a tour guide.

Requirements for Tibet travel permit & Tibet Group Visa

Tibet is officially a province of China and a valid China visa is required to travel to Tibet (except if you enter Tibet from Nepal). A Tibet Travel Permit is similar to an entrance ticket. In addition to a Chinese Visa, all foreign travelers must also have a Tibet Travel Permit in order to enter Tibet. TTPs are issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa and not by Chinese Embassies/Consulates. These permits are valid for the duration of your journey in Tibet. The permit is not placed in your passport (again, TTPs are not visas). The permit is 2 pieces of paper. The first lists your itinerary in Tibet, along with your travel dates and the business number of the travel agency you are using. The second page lists your name (as well as the names of anyone traveling with you) as well as your nationality, gender, passport number, profession and birthdate.

There are four main permits required for a foreigner to travel to Tibet.

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 tour and other two are only needed if you travel to restricted areas like Everest Base Camp, Mt.Kailash, Ra Wok (Lake) and so on.

  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

How to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)?

Only a travel agency can arrange this for you as part of an organized tour. In addition to a Tibet Travel Permit, you will also require a tour guide, a private vehicle and a driver in order to travel to Tibet. There are NO exceptions to these regulations. You cannot get a Tibet Travel Permit on your own. It is issued from the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. To get the permit, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Contact a local, Tibetan-owned travel agency at least 6 to 8 weeks before you plan to arrive in Tibet
  2. Tell them the travel route you wish to follow in Tibet (you have the freedom to design your own itinerary while traveling in Tibet)
  3. Tell the agency the dates you plan to travel in Tibet
  4. Scan and email the agency your passport and Chinese Visa
  5. The travel agency will then take care of EVERYTHING else for you, including obtaining your permits, arranging a vehicle and driver and arranging a guide for your journey.

The travel agency you use will fill out the paper work for your permit, submit it to the Tibet Tourism Bureau and then mail or email the permit to you so that you can board a flight or train to Tibet. *NOTE: If taking the train to Tibet, the travel agency will just email you a copy of the permit. If you take a flight to Tibet, the travel agency will mail you the original permit to your hotel in China or hand it to to you at the airport

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.

Certain areas “Mt. Kailash and other western part of Tibet” of Tibet require additional permits such as an Alien Travel Permit or Military Permit. The same applies to these permits….the travel agency you use will take care of these for you. You don’t need to do anything except follow the simple 5 steps listed above! The travel agency you use will know which permits are required for your journey and they will take care of all the required paperwork in obtaining these permits. Remember, permits are just 1 thing that you need in order to travel to Tibet. You will also have to have a tour guide, a private vehicle and a driver (Exception are tours that only stay in Lhasa. No private vehicle or driver is required in your stay within the city of Lhasa. A guide is still required for tours to Lhasa.)

Chinese visa or Tibet Group Visa?

A valid passport with a standard Chinese tourist visa is essential for all foreign travelers. A Chinese visa is generally obtainable from most Chinese embassies and consulates in your locality and must be obtained in advance. The cost of a standard Chinese tourist visa varies from US$ 12-120 according to the nationality of the applicant and the type of visa required. Individual visas ( ‘L’ Visa means tourist visa) may be issued for single or double entry, with a validity of one, two, or three months. Multiple entry visas are normally issued for business or educational purposes only, such as the “F” Visa, “X” Visa or “Z” Visa etc. ranging in validity from 6 to 12 months, and are more expensive (US$ 120-250). Normally three working days are required to process a visa application from the date of its submission, but express services are also available at a premium.

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

Important Tips from Tibet Khadak Travel when you apply for Chinese visa

It is very important that you NOT write “Tibet” on your application or any other Tibetan regions that are found in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai, western Sichuan or southwest Gansu. If you write Tibet or any Tibetan town or region on your visa application form, there is a very good chance that your application will be denied. (The Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is the only exception).

Tibet Group Visa—Documentation for entering Tibet from 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, and 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.

What’s the procedure to get China visa in Katmandu?

  1. After you book the tour with us, provide us with the copies of your passports and other required information.
  2. We will apply for the ‘Visa Invitation Letter’ from Tibet Tourism Bureau, thereafter; the TTB will fax the ‘Visa Invitation Letter’ to Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Meantime, we will fax it to our Nepal partner before your arrival in Katmandu.
  3. Upon your arrival in Katmandu, our Nepal agent will meet you in your hotel or airport, and then go to the Chinese Embassy together to apply for the China Visa. With the ‘Visa Invitation Letter’, you can get your Chinese Visa easily.

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 sends 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


Number of working days to obtain visa




Other nationalities;


5 days






3 days





Very Urgent

1.5 day





Note: The Tibet group visa is only applicable on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (except Chinese holidays). Also, the local Nepalese agencies charge USD20-50 per person service charge according to the number of people in a group.