- by Apple
- Last Updated: 2024-01-30
All international tourists visiting Tibet are supposed to require a valid China visa. Visas for individual travel in China are easy to get from most Chinese embassies, though it’s important not to mention Tibet on your application. If you mention Tibet, the China embassy may request you to present the Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit(TTB permit); but here in Lhasa, we have to have a Chinese Visa first to apply for the TTB permit for you. So really, it’s an egg-and-chicken bureaucratic error. Therefore, you'd better not mention Tibet while applying for a Chinese visa. If Chinese consultants request more details of your tour, Great Tibet Tour is happy and capable of providing you with the supporting docs to apply for your China visa.
Latest News about China Visa:
- On 23 July 2023, China applied a unilateral 15-day visa-free policy to Singapore and Brunei.
- On 1 December 2024, China applied a unilateral 15-day visa-free policy to France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia and lasted till 20 November 2025.
- On 15 January 2024, China applied a unilateral 15-day visa-free policy to Switzerland.
- On 17 January 2024, China applied a unilateral 15-day visa-free policy to Ireland.
And here's another critical factor. If you are entering Tibet from Nepal, then you need a China Group Visa instead of a Chinese Visa. It requires 4 participants at present. Yet, it still looks complicated and confusing for many travelers. Here's an image to make it simple and easy to understand.
How to Obtain a China Visa?
There are different types of Chinese Visas and you should figure out which kind of visa you're going to apply for. Usually, most tourists will apply for an L visa, which is a tourist visa issued to aliens who come to China for sightseeing or to visit family members/friends. Besides Tourist Visas, Work Visas (Z Visa), Business Visas (F Visa), Student Visas(X Visa), etc. are also commonly seen in the queue of applying for Tibet Travel Permit.
According to current visa policies, applicants can submit a Chinese visa application online first and then make an appointment for an interview. You can book the interview at a nearby consulate according to the application forms below. Both sites can submit official application forms but may cover different cities.
FYI: Here are step-by-step guides about how to choose among the items.
Then you need to prepare a tour itinerary and a tourist invitation letter from a legit Chinese travel agency, as well as flight tickets and hotel booking info, to go for the interview on the appointed date. You need to submit a valid passport with a validity period of at least 6 months and blank pages, a copy of the passport homepage, and a completed visa application form with your recent photos (2 colorful photos taken in the past 6 months with a white background, size: 33mm x 48mm ), sufficient visa fees and service fees and other supporting documents must be paid at the time of application. Finally, your fingerprints will be collected at the Chinese consulate.
How Long Does It Take to Get a China Visa?
The time duration might be taken from two weeks to three months long, according to your location. For some Chinese embassies, if they have enough quota, you can make a visa appointment in a few days. However, some Chinese embassies may wait as long as three months to book an interview, which is a little bit longer for travelers.
After your interview, the consulates usually issue the visa in five working days. And you need to take back your China visa, affixed in your passport.
Notes for China Visa Application
1. The visa application form asks you a lot of questions (your entry and exit points, travel itinerary, means of transport, etc.), but once in China, you can reform this as much as you like. When listing your itinerary, consult our experienced tour consultants in case further documents are required, e.g. hotel confirmation, etc.
2. Visas valid for more than 30 days can be difficult to obtain anywhere other than Hong Kong, although some embassies abroad (e.g., US, UK) often give you 60 or even 90 days if you ask nicely. This saves you the considerable difficulty of getting a visa extension in Tibet. Most agencies in Hong Kong can arrange a 90-day visa. Most Chinese embassies abroad can issue a double-entry or multi-entry visa.
3. A standard single-entry visa will be activated on the date you enter China and must be used within three/four months from the date of issue according to the expiry date listed on the visa. There is some confusion over the validity of Chinese visas. Most Chinese officials look at the ‘valid until’ date, but on most 30-day visas, it is actually the date by which you must have entered the country, not the visa’s expiry date. Long-stay visas are often activated on the day of issue, not the day you enter the country, so there’s no point in getting one too far in advance of your planned entry date. Please check with the embassy if you are unsure.
4. It’s possible to travel in Tibet with a student (X), resident (D ) or business (F or Z) visa, etc., but not a journalist (J) visa.
5. Tourists holding ordinary passports of The United Arab Emirates, Republic of Belarus, Serbia, Bahamas, etc. are allowed to enter China for up to 30 days without visas for tourism or family/friend visits.
Tibet Travel Permit(Tibet Visa)
Tibet Travel Permit/Tibet Visa is a mandatory entry document to Tibet. To obtain it, you need to entrust a Tibet travel agency to apply it for you.
For US and Canadian citizens, getting a Bhutan visa is an easy procedure by booking a tour prior. For Indian citizens, you can apply for a permit on your own.
China Group Visa(Tibet Group Visa)
To enter Tibet from Nepal, you need a China Group visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu with your passport, an invitation letter and one headshot.
Permit Without Tour
Obtaining Tibet Travel Permits without a tour is no longer possible for independent travelers according to the regulations.
Alien's Travel Permit
Alien's Travel Permit is required if foreign travelers wish to visit the territories outside Lhasa, such as Shigatse, Shannan, Ngari, Nyingchi, etc.
Tibet Border Pass
Traveling to Mt.Everest, Mt.Kailash and other border areas between Tibet and other countries, you are required Tibet Border Pass.
Why Not Mention Tibet During Your China Visa Applying
When going to Tibet, you would be advised you not to mention Tibet during your China Visa application. But why it is so? Check more for detailed info.
Tourists can get a Nepal visa on arrival when reaching Kathmandu airport or road borders at Birganj, Sunauli, etc. $30 for a 15-day entry Nepal tourist visa.
Tibet Visa for Indian
For Indian citizens or passport holders, the first thing to travel to Tibet is to obtain Tibet Visa, which is not as difficult as you imagine to obtain.
Tibet Tourism Bureau
Tibet Travel Permit, also known as the “Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit”, is an indispensable permit for international travelers to travel to Tibet.
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