Foreign tourists must be organized to travel to Tibet. They must be organized by travel agencies and with confirmed routes. What's more, a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP for short) from the Tibet Tourism Bureau is indispensable. The TTP must be shown upon booking flights and boarding planes.
Overseas Chinese and Taiwanese also need to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. Hong Kong and Macao residents need a Home Return Certificate instead of the TTP.
Foreign tourists, overseas Chinese, and Taiwanese can entrust the Tibet Tourism Bureau and travel agencies to apply for the permit with the copies of passport, Chinese Visa and work certificate. Normally, it will take about one week, or 2-3 days for emergency.
The other two are Tibet Public Security Permit (PSB) and the Military Permit, which you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas.
The PSB permit is issued by the Foreign Affairs Section of the Local Public Security Bureau (PSB). Usually it can be applied upon arrival in Lhasa. The tour group operator will ask for the passport and TTB permit and submit both to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB. It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 yuan/person (well, several years ago).
The military permit is issued by the Military office in Lhasa. It is absolutely needed for travel
to Ngari, Nyingchi (outside Nyingchi township) and Nagqu prefecture which are regarded as military sensitive areas.
1. Foreigners who plan to travel in Tibet must get the Tibet travel permit and directed by a travel agency. All foreigners who want to travel in Tibet need to apply for a permit and all kinds of people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
2. The policy of getting a Chinese Visa for entering Tibet from Nepal is different of entering from China, you’ll need to apply a special “Group Visa” only at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu with the help of a travel agency. And we’ll handle all procedures of your Tibet Permit & Chinese Visa applications. (Chinese Visa application fee self-paid).
3. Depending where and how you are going to arrive Tibet, after having a permit, usually we will send you scan copies of your Tibet permit, but if you are flying into Lhasa or taking train from some specific city into Lhasa, we are going to mail the original Tibet permit to you, of course we will contact your first and mail the permit to the address you provide us.
4. You are not allowed to bring with the TTB permit and travel to anywhere outside of Lhasa city you want because except Lhasa you need another permit named as "Aliens' Permit".
5. Generally it needs around 15 work days to get the Tibet permit if you could supply the full necessary documents.
1. It's advisable to apply for your travel permit at least 15 days prior to your entry date.
2. After you confirm your tour, you can book your air/train tickets by yourself or through your agency. You may not need the Tibet permit to buy the tickets, you will need it to board the flight/train.
3. The travel agency is unable to help you get the permit if you do not book any tour package from them. Because the Tibet permit itself is free, and no travel agency can provide permit-only service.
4. If you want to travel into border areas such as the base camp of Mt.Qomolangma, the Zhamu Township or the Medog County, a Alien’s travel permit is required both for Chinese and foreign visitors. When you and your trip advisor discuss about your tour, they will know whether they need to arrange the Alien’s travel permit for you.The Chinese citizen could apply the Alien’s in China mainland at the Public Security Bureau, or could also get it in Lhasa like all our foreign tourists.
Since you need the Tibet permit to board the flight to Tibet, also the Tibet permit copies to get on the train to Tibet. Our travel agency will make sure youyou’re your Tibet permit before your tour starts.
All the Tibet permits are issued in Lhasa, Tibet. So we have to deliver the original Tibet permit to you if you taking a flight into Lhasa. Generally it takes less than three days for the Tibet permit delivery to arrive any cities in China.
Only the guide could hold the permit after you in Tibet. You are not allowed to bring with it and travel to anywhere you want. The guide is also holding another permit to show that he is assigned to guide the tour for your group. There are lots of check points along the way to Shigatse or some remote places like Mt. Everest, Area Nagri or Jirong the border. It is also more convenient for the guide to take all your permits and show it to the officers at the check points.
And after your tour finishes, the Tibet tourism Bureau will take all the Tibet permit back. I know getting Tibet permit is not easy and it is a great thing if you could take it home as a souvenir, but we can not give it to you.
Good that you can still have your Tibet permit scan copies, that can also be taken as a souvenir and a proof the a wonderful journey, isn’t it?
The Tibet permit is not for sell, permit itself is actually free.
Usually you can book a tour through a travel agency, then they will arrange the Tibet permit for you. If you only want to travel in Tibet alone without any travel agency service, I think there is no agency can get you a permit. Sign in a tour with a travel agency, then a guide would be assigned to you. if you get your permit and do not keep in touch with the travel agency and travel or visit tourist sites alone could be quite troublesome, this might put the travel agency which helped to get you the permit in trouble.