One of the major FAQ about getting into Tibet has been the Tibet Permit, a document which supports your entry into Tibet. It is important to note that the approval on your Chinese Visa doesn’t really mean that you can get entry into Tibet. You will be required to apply for the Tibet Permit separately through your chosen travel agent in Lhasa.
There are only two ways getting into Tibet. One from Kathmandu and another from the mainland China. For those who are making their Tibet Trip from Mainland China, it is required to send across a copy of your visa and passport to your travel agent in Lhasa to apply for the Tibet Permit which usually takes about 15-20 business days to process.
Once it is approved, your travel agent in Lhasa will send the original Tibet permits to your temporary mailing address in China accept the city of Xining in Qinghai province in China where a colored-copy of the Tibet Permit works to board your train to Lhasa. Therefore as a tourist coming into Tibet from Mainland China, it is essential to note that you have to inform your travel agent in Lhasa about your flight details, whether it is a direct flight or a connecting flight because if it is direct flight, your Tibet Permit carry the name of the city where you are flying directly into Tibet. If it is a connecting flight, your Tibet Permit should carry the name of the connecting city to Tibet and not the origin city
For instance, when a tourist coming to Tibet from mainland China by flight on the same day and if it is a connecting flight for example from Beijing to Chengdu and from Chengdu to Lhasa, your Tibet Permit should carry the name of the connecting city i.e. Chengdu in the above example and not Beijing . The checkpoint in Beijing airport will not ask you to show your Tibet Permit but the check point in Chengdu will definitely ask you to show your Tibet Permit because it is where you are entering into Tibet and that’s why it is also called Tibet Entry Permit. Same rule applies to the train journey as well.
If you are making the journey to Tibet via Kathmandu, Remember to note that you don’t have to apply for the China Visa from your origin country in order to get into Tibet. You will have to send your passport copy to your travel agent in Lhasa and the travel agent in turn will proceed with the application of visa invitation letter to the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa and once it is approved, travel agent will send the visa invitation letter to our Kathmandu representative who will assist you to apply for the China Visa which usually takes about 3-4 business days. It is also referred as a Group Visa, given on A4 paper. Therefore it is important to allow 3-4 business days to complete your China Group Visa application and plan your itinerary accordingly. The new business working days of Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is from Monday till Friday. If you have applied the China Group Visa on Monday, it will granted and deliver to you latest by Thursday.
When you are coming to Tibet from Kathmandu, you are not required to have your Tibet entry and road permits with you. You can board your flight with your China visa to Tibet and your Tibetan tour guide at the airport will take care of all the necessary Tibet entry and road permits and help you to clear China custom.
We can apply Tibet permits for all the tourists except someone who are diplomats, journalists and government officials. People who are diplomats, journalists and government officials should go through Foreign Affairs Office of China based in Lhasa.