Tibet Travel Permits

  • by Apple
  • 2017-11-06

By the law of the People’s Republic of China, in addition to China visa, foreigners also need Tibet Travel Permit (TTB) to be able to board a train or plane to Lhasa. For this, you need to pre-arrange an itinerary through a legal travel agency in Lhasa before arriving in Tibet.

You need travel permits to travel outside Lhasa Prefecture, eg. Alien's Travel Permit & Military Permit, and you can currently only get these by hiring transportation and a guide as part of your itinerary.

If you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, besides all the Tibet Permits, you will have to travel on China Group Visa which can only be obtained through the joined effect of travel agencies in Lhasa & Kathmandu.

Here at Great Tibet Tour, a Lhasa-based local travel agency, with all the advantage of a local company, we provide you with a worry-free Tibet travel experience by taking care of all these permits applications.


What We Need to Apply TTB

We need the following documents & info from each and every traveler to obtain Tibet Travel Permit (TTB).  The time needed to apply for it changes irregularly. But we usually need at least 16 days prior to file the application with these documents &. info. Tibet Tourism Bureau will issue TTB permit about 7 days or so prior tour starting date.

*Colour-scan/photo of valid passport photo page 

*Colour-scan/photo of valid China visa page
(except L Visa, tourist visa, any other types of China Visa need additional stamped paper in Mandarin from your school/company in China, in which your name, passport No., position, company add should be stated.)

*From which city of China you plan to enter Tibet;                  
 Of which city of China you plan to depart to after your Tibet tour     
(please be aware, entering/departing city will be print on your permit, once issued it would be the only city you be able to enter/depart. takes extra time & fee if later you want to change it)

* Job occupation. If currently unemployed or retired, pls let us know your former job.
(journalists, government officers, and  professional film/photography team, etc. won't be able to travel Tibet through travel agency) 


Tibet Travel Permit (TTB)

A TTB permit is currently required to get into Tibet. Without one, you will not be able to board a flight or train to Tibet and will not be able to secure the other permits you need to continue traveling throughout Tibet.

Nowadays you can only get a TTB permit through a tour agency in Tibet (agencies outside Tibet can arrange trips, but ultimately they subcontract to travel agencies in Lhasa, such as Great Tibet Tour). You can no longer travel to Lhasa, meet up with some travelers and organize a tour there. Everything must now be arranged beforehand, including any trekking itinerary you have planned.

To get a permit you need to:
*Work out an itinerary detailing exactly where you want to go in Tibet
*Agree with a price and send a deposit
*Send us documents & info we needed to apply for TTB permit
*Arrange an address in your entering city before Tibet (eg. hotel), to receive your posted TTB permit, if flying to Lhasa

You can book your own train or air ticket to Lhasa or have Great Tibet Tour arrange this for you. 
You need to have the original TTB permit in your hands in order to board a flight to Lhasa. Mostly we arrange TTB permit to post to your hotel of your entry city in China by S.F Express, usually, takes abt 2~3 days.
A photocopy or scan of an original TTB permit is currently all that is required to board a train to Tibet. 

*Chinese resident of Hong Kong & Macau does not require a TTB permit to enter Tibet. 
*Taiwanese need to consult us case-by-case since the rules change often
*Foreigners visitor on business/study/resident visa in China need additional docs to apply for TTB permit
*Journalists and embassy staff won't be able to get a TTB permit as a tourist


What TTB Looks Like
TTB Permit usually combined with two pages. 
On Page 01, it states your tour details, such as your travel agency’s name, your tour number, when you first arrive in Tibet, when you depart, entry & departing city, etc. but above all, check the Permit No. on the upper right corner which is printed in red by Tibet Tourism Bureau.
On Page 02, you will see your name(printed in Chinese way,family name + given name)/ nationality/ gender / passport No. / profession / date of birth. 



Other Permits: Alien's Travel Permit & Military Permit

With TTB permit you will be able to enter Tibet and travel Lhasa and around. but if you were to go further to the regional capital, eg. Mt Everest, etc., you will have to budget an hour or so in Shigatse for your guide to process the Alien Travel Permit, which is issued by the Public Security Bureau (PSB). Usually, you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa.

Sensitive border areas – such as Mt Kailash, the road to Kashgar and the Nyingtri region of eastern Tibet – also require a Military Permit. 

You should give your agency 20-day or so to arrange all you permits, 30-day if Military Permit. the authorities generally won't issue permits more than 15-day in advance and certain areas can close without warning, so you’ll need a certain flexibility if headed off the beaten track.

Alien's Travel Permit
In addition to TTB permit, if you were to visit certain areas, Alien's Travel Permit will be required. Unlike TTB permit which will be applied in advance without your original passport, Alien's Travel Permit will be applied after your arrival in Tibet with your original passport.

Areas require Alien's Travel Permit:
Tsetang:   all the places you will visit such as Samye, Yumbulhagang, Trundruk etc.
Shigates: Sakya, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Gyantse:   Pelkhor Chode Monastery, Kubum Stupa
Ngari:        all the places you will visit such as Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasorovar etc.
Nyingtri:    all the places you will visit such as Draksumtso, Pomi etc.
Chamdo:  all the places you will visit such as Chamdo, Riwoche etc.

Military Permit
Military Permission is required if you want to visit the border areas such as Mt Kailash, eastern Tibet, or overland tour to Tibet from Sichuan, Yunnan, Xinjiang and Qinghai.

Areas require Military Permit:
Ngari:       all the places you will visit such as Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasorovar etc.
Nyingtri:   all the places you will visit such as Draksumtso, Pomi etc.
Chamdo: all the places you will visit such as Chamdo, Riwoche etc.
Overland from/to Sichuan, Yunnan, Xinjiang or Qinghai

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Asked Questions from our Clients



Hello, I am looking to travel to join a Tibet tour around the 3rd week of Dec for around 10 days. I will be coming from around Guilin area in China. My China Visa is a M (business Visa) with multiple entry. Please advise what information is required with th I type of visa to apply for the Tibet visa? I have a British passport. Thanks Joanna




Dear Joanna,

Yes, M type visa is for doing a business in China, so we need a business invitation letter from a company in China Or working certificate letter to prove your purpose of coming to China which will be required from Tibet Travel Bureau when we process your Tibet permits here.

According to your schedule, I'd like to suggest you join our 8 Days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Mt.Everest Group Tour plus 2 Days Lhasa Tsetang Private Tour on 15th or 25th Dec. 



Hello, I have received different infomation about closing of tibet for foreigners in october 2017 - please could confirm it ? Thank you in advance, Roman




Hi Roman, yes, the foreigners are not allowed to travel in Tibet from 18~28 Oct due to the 19th CPC National Congress which will be held on the 18th of Oct.



I live in Florida near Jacksonville and will travel alone. What is the approximate cost of this trip? I am seeking a very general answer (I am interested in the Everest trip).




Dear stanley wecker, as you are a solo traveler, I suggest you join our 8 Days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Everest Group Tour to reduce the cost by joining other travelers. 



Sir, If I wish to travel from Hong Kong, what is the procedure? Where can I pick up the permit? Can you quote me airfares say mid-September for 9 days in Tibet, HK-Lhasa-HK? What tour would you recommend if I wish to get a get overview of Tibet in this limited timeframe? BR.




Dear Tamas, we need copies of  your passport and China  visa to apply Tibet permit for you. After we obtained it, we will send it to your entry city to Lhasa. If you will stay one night in the entry city, we will send it to your hotel. Otherevise, we will arrange a person to meet you in the airport and give you the permit. You need the permit to check in for the flight to Lhasa.

We could book you the domestic flights in China; But for international flight tickets. honestly speaking, I suggest you book in your country, as I'm sure that the price of International flights depart from your country will be more competitive than the price I check for you. 

If you will travel alone, I’d like to recommend our 9-day group tour for you, it covers the most featured sites in Tibet .  Best regards!



Hi, I am a New Zealander and will be travelling through China in August and would love to visit Tibet. Your 8 day tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu seems like a good fit for me. I understand that you organise the TTB permits, but I heard that when you apply for a Chinese visa and put Tibet as a destination they may deny you entry into china. Can you please confirm if this is true? Also can you recommend where I can buy the train ticket from Xi'an to Lhasa. Many thanks in advance for your help!




Dear Annalise Broersen, it's ok for you to travel from mainland China to Tibet in Aug. Dear, I suggest you may consider to do our 8 days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Mt. Everest Group Tour and then fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu instead of travelling from Lhasa to Kathmandu by overland as the borders between Nepal and Tibet are closed.

Yes, please not to mention any information about Tibet when you apply for the Chinese visa. Otherwise, your local Chinese Embassy will refuse to issue the Visa to you directly. Regarding the train ticket from Xi'an to Lhasa, I'm afraid it's not possible for you to buy it by yourself and we also cannot 100% guarantee can help you book it as Aug is the peak season in Tibet. The train tickets (especially the soft sleeper) from everywhere to Lhasa are not easy to purchase. You can consider to take the train from Xining to Lhasa or fly to Lhasa and then take the train out.

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