Getting to Tibet

Tibet is the Autonomous Region of the People‘s Republic of China. Getting into Tibet is not allowed for an individual traveler without acquiring Tibet Travel Permit, which is a travel permit that invited through the Tibetan/Chinese travel agency for a guided tour around Tibet. There are two ways for a traveler to enter Tibet.

1. Entering Tibet from Nepal

If you are planning to enter Tibet from Kathmandu, it is advised to get a Chinese visa from Kathmandu (regardless of you already have a Chinese visa issued in your country) as a special administrative situation exists between China and Nepal. We also highly recommend that you do not apply for an individual Chinese visa in your country if you decide to enter Tibet from Nepal, since when you apply for the group visa to enter Tibet; the Chinese embassy will cancel your individual Chinese visa.

If you are entering Tibet via Nepal, you will get a Chinese visa only in the passport that is stamped with the Nepalese visa. Therefore, we recommend that you use the same passport while traveling to Nepal and Tibet (China).

The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth, and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely mentioned.

The itinerary and the places to visit in Tibet must be stated clearly and finalized in advance because while applying for a Chinese visa and Tibet Travel Permit from Kathmandu, a copy of this should be attached. The visa is issued accordingly.

Tibet permits can be obtained using a photocopy of your passport but you must have your original passport to apply for the Chinese visa, which will be collected by Nepal Footprint Holiday once you arrive in Kathmandu.

The travel permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau (Lhasa) is obtained in accordance with your itinerary mentioned in the permit application. Footprint Holiday will do its best to get the permits (Group visa) for you, but do bear in mind that the final decision to grant you the permit is totally up to the Tibet Tourism Bureau.

The Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is open from Mondays to Fridays. Usually, it takes 5 working days to issue a Chinese visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. However, if urgent, we can also organize your Chinese visas in one business day with an express fee.

If you plan to enter mainland China after your Tibet travel, the group visa will allow you to enter mainland China. If the duration of your group visa covers all your programs in mainland China, then you can also use it during your stay in mainland China.

Please note that all of the members of the group have to board the same flight to leave the country. In case your group members have separate flights or dates, you need to inform Footprint Holiday clearly during the planning phase as then we will have to apply for separate group visas. (This will depend entirely on the decision of Chinese immigration officials processing the visas whether your group gets one or separate visas.)

2. Entering Tibet from mainland China

It is best not to mention Tibet or any places in Tibet as your travel destination when you are applying for a Chinese visa (the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is the only exception). Since Tibet is a politically sensitive topic in China, they sometimes may refuse your visa application if you mention anything related to Tibet in the application form, so please keep this in mind when applying. You are free to mention any city of mainland China such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chengdu-Sichuan, Yunnan, etc. as your travel destinations.

If you are planning to enter Tibet via mainland China, you need to organize your Chinese visa from the Chinese embassy in your home country. Footprint Holiday will help arrange for your Tibet Travel Permit from China.

According to the Chinese rules and regulations, it is not possible to provide you with the Tibet Travel Permit via freight services. However, Nepal Footprint Holiday Treks can arrange for you to get your permit while you are in China. To do this, you need to consider two possibilities below.

If you have booked a hotel in mainland China then please provide us details of your hotel including its name, address, and telephone number. Also, let us know the check-in time as well as the name under which the hotel reservation has been made. Please do not forget to give us the name of an appropriate hotel authority so that we can drop off your Tibet Travel Permit at your hotel with the appropriate person mentioned by you. Also, make sure to inform the hotel about your whereabouts and confirm that you will be checking in at the hotel.

If you are taking a direct flight to Lhasa from mainland China, then please provide us the details of your transits so that we can make arrangements for our staff to wait for you outside the transit point (airport) and handover your Tibet Travel Permit to you.

Chinese passport holders do not need the Tibet permit to go/travel to Tibet. According to the rules and regulations of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), foreign passport holders (including the Taiwanese and Non-Chinese ID cardholders) need to have a Tibet Travel Permit for visiting. People who hold Hong Kong SAARC passports and Macau SAARC passports do not need the permit. If you arrive in China from your home country, you must register with the police within 24 hours of your arrival in the country.

Even foreigners with residence permits are required to register after each re-entry. If you are staying in a hotel, the staff will automatically register you. However, if you are staying in a private home with family or friends, you should take your passport to the local police station to register. Failure to do so could result in fines and detention. Chinese law requires that you carry a valid passport and Chinese visa or residence permit at all times. However, the rules and regulations regarding Chinese visas and Tibet travel permits change frequently. Therefore, we suggest our clients seek advice from our expert team members before making any plans to travel to Tibet.