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Tibet Travel Permit(Tibet Visa)

  • by Apple
  • Last Updated: 2024-03-26

By the law of the People’s Republic of China, in addition to a China visa, foreigners also need a Tibet Travel Permit/Tibet Visa/Tibet Entry Permit 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. Everything must now be arranged beforehand, and tourists can't travel to Tibet alone.

You also need other permits to continue traveling throughout Tibet, 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 apply for a China Group Visa, which can only be obtained through the joined effect of travel agencies in Lhasa & Kathmandu. Even if you have already got your Chinese Visa, it should be turned invalid.

Here at Great Tibet Tour, a Lhasa-based local travel agency, with all the advantages of a local company, we provide you with a worry-free Tibet travel experience by taking care of all these permit applications. Here's a brief instruction about Tibet Travel Permit.

Graphic instruction about Tibet Travel Permit.
Graphic instruction about how to get Tibet Visa

How to Apply for Tibet Travel Permit?

Nowadays, you can only get a Tibet Travel Permit(it's often referred to as TTB permit as it's issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau.) through a local travel agency then get to Lhasa. We need the following documents & info from each traveler to obtain a Tibet Travel Permit. The time needed to apply for it changes irregularly. But we usually need at least 10 days prior to file the application with these documents & info. And Tibet Tourism Bureau won't issue permits more than 30-day in advance, instead, they issue a TTB permit about 20 days or so prior tour starting date.

  1. Colour-scan/photo of the valid passport photo page.
  2. 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.)
  3. From which city of China do you plan to enter Tibet & which city of China do you plan to depart to after your Tibet tour.
    (please be aware, entering/departing city will be printed on your permit, once issued it would be the only city you be able to enter/depart. Extra time & fee will be taken if later you want to change it)
  4. Job occupation. If currently unemployed or retired, please let us know your former job.
    (journalists, government officers, and  professional film/photography team, etc. won't be able to travel Tibet through a travel agency) 
  5. Confirmed tour itinerary with every detail.


  • A Chinese resident of Hong Kong & Macau does not required a TTB permit to enter Tibet;
  • Taiwanese need to consult us case-by-case since the rules change often;
  • Foreigners holding China business/study/resident visas need additional docs to apply for TTB permits;
  • Journalists and embassy staff won't be able to get a TTB permit as a tourist.

What Does TTB Permit Look Like?

TTB Permit is usually combined with two pages(you may check the image below).

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 a Chinese way, family name + given name)/ nationality/ gender/ passport No. /profession/date of birth. 

What Tibet Travel Permit looks like?
Your itinerary, entry city, and departing date will be added on page 01.
Your passport info will be added on page 02. All info should be exactly matched.

The Cost of A Tibet Travel Permit?

In fact, according to the regulation of the Tibet Tourism Bureau, the application of the TTB permit is free. However, it's understandable if some Tibet travel agencies charge service fees for applying for TTB permit for users cos they need to put manpower to prepare your document, hand in the application, and pick up and express your TTB Permit to your hotel in China.

Currently, online application for TTB permit is not applicable. So the only way to get Tibet Travel Permit is through a Tibet Travel Agency by booking a tour. When they help you apply for the Tibet Travel Permit, usually, the cost of Tibet Travel Permit is included in your group fare as tourists cannot get any Tibet Travel Permit without a tour.

How to Get to Tibet with TTB Permit?

There are two main ways for travelers to get to Tibet - by train or by flight. No matter which way you choose, you are required to board with your TTB Permit. Book your Tibet Tours in advance then take your TTB permit for boarding the trains or flights departing from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, Xining, Kunming, Kangding, Labrang (Xiahe), Shangri-la, Kathmandu, etc.

You can book your 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 to board a flight to Lhasa. Mostly we arrange a TTB permit to post to your hotel of your entry city in China by S.F Express, which usually takes about 2~3 days. So arranging an address in your entering city before Tibet (e.g., hotel) is necessary to receive your posted TTB permit if flying to Lhasa.

A photocopy or scan of an original TTB permit is currently required to board a train to Tibet in the majority of cities. If you take a train from Chongqing, Xián, or Lanzhou, you also need to take your original TTB permit.

When Will a Tibet Visa Be Checked?

As the primary Tibet permit needed in Tibet, your Tibet Entry Permit will be checked at the following places,

The last destination before Tibet
  • Train Stations
  • Airports
The checking points to Tibet
  • Gyirong Port (enter Tibet from Kathmandu by overland)
  • Lhasa (enter Tibet by flight or train)
  • Tuotuohe (enter Tibet from Amdo area by overland)
  • All the hotels in Tibet before you check-in
All the major attractions like Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Everest, Kailash, etc.

When&Where to Get The Tibet Travel Permit?

The process for applying for your TTB permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau lasts about 10~30 working days, according to your destinations in Tibet. After getting your permit, your travel agency will express it to your hotel in China as soon as possible.

If you fly to Tibet, you should take the original PPT permit to board the flight.

If you take a train to Tibet, you just need to take a copy of your TTB Permit.


  • If you are taking a Tibet train from Chongqing, Xi’an, or Lanzhou, your original PPT permit is required.
  • In some emergency cases, you will get your Tibet Travel Permit within 4 ~10 days with an extra charge.
  • If you transit a flight and have a short stay at the airport instead of accommodating in a hotel, we will ask the local agent to deliver your PPT permit to your hand.

Some Extra Tips About Tibet Travel Permit

You should send your unfeigned, effective, and related credential passport, and personal information to us, which is the prerequisite for us to apply for Tibet Travel Permit. Before booking your air ticket, you should promise that you have the Tibet Travel Permit.

Sometimes, your Tibet Travel Permit application will be influenced or delayed when some political affairs happened. So travelers should consider this political factor when traveling to Tibet because we can’t guarantee when it occurs. But the chance is rare, and you’d better check the official news.

Other Permits: Alien's Travel Permit & Military Permit

With a TTB permit, you will be able to enter Tibet and travel to 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 in Lhasa.

Sensitive border areas – such as Mt Kailash also require a Military Permit. 

You should give your agency 10 working days or so to arrange your TTB permit, 30 working days if Military Permit. And certain areas can be closed without warning, so you’ll need certain flexibility if headed off the beaten track.

Alien's Travel Permit

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

Areas that require Alien's Travel Permit:

  • Tsetang: all the places you will visit, such as Samye, Yumbulhagang, Trundruk, etc.
  • Shigatse: Sakya, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
  • Gyantse: Pelkhor Chode Monastery, Kubum Stupa
  • Ngari: all the places you will visit, such as Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, etc.
  • Nyingtri: all the places you will visit, such as Draksumtso, Lulang Forest, etc.
alien's travel permit

Military Permit

Military Permission is required if you want to visit the border areas such as Mt. Kailash.

Areas require Military Permit:

  • Ngari: all the places you will visit, such as Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, etc.
  • Nagqu: all the places you will visit.
  • Nyingchi: Bomi
  • Shannan: Nedong County, Gyaca County, Namshan County.
Military Permission

Related Articles

  • Permit Without Tour
    Obtaining Tibet Travel Permits without a tour is no longer possible for independent travelers according to the regulations.

  • Nepal Visa
    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.

  • Permit Application
    Input the Tibet Travel Permit application online, and we will help get it on your behalf. Please provide detailed info to achieve the visa successfully.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • China Visa
    A China Visa is required if you are entering China. How do you smoothly apply for a Chinese Visa in your country? Check the details and find the answers.

  • Military Permit
    Military Permit is issued by Military office in Lhasa. It's an additional permit besides your Tibet Travel Permit for your visiting Ngrai, Nyingchi, etc.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Ask a Quick Question Below?
or Email Us

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Evge***

I interested in ti get a permit for visit Tibet, could I get it with your service without booking a tour?

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Evge****,

I'm afraid you can't go to Tibet without booking a tour. And your travel agency should be responsible for all your activities in Tibet. Hope for your understanding.

Asked by Beng***

Lhasa and maybe Mount Kailash to visit. Q: is there any chance to spend time out of the actual group travel? Is it possible to get the Tibet Permit faster than a month? I come to Xianyang 14 of September. Regards Bengt

Answered by Jennie

Dear Beng****,

Thank you for sending us an inquiry!

I would answer your questions one by one.

1. Yes, there are some chances to spend time out of the actual group tour.

2. If you want to go to Kailash, it will take 20 working days to obtain the Tibet Travel permit with your China visa and passport. If you go to visit Lhasa or EBC, it will only take 5 working days to obtain it.

3. We have an 8-day Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Group Tour that departs on 22 September and 29 September. If you consider joining, please send your passport and China visa scan to me ASAP.

Asked by Caro***

Hello, Just want to know if I go from kathmandu and fly to Lhasa for tour would your company be able to help me get tibet visa in kathmandu or do i apply on my own for visa?

Answered by Merry

Dear Caro****, 

We can help you apply for your Tibet permit if you book the tour with us. May I know when and how many days you prefer to travel to Tibet? We can design the tour for you accordingly.

If you have any further questions or doubts, please let me know without hesitation. It is my pleasure to work with you at any time.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Asked by Leo ***

I've been waiting for the COVID restrictions to be over and now that it is I have heard that foreigners can't visit Tibet. I live and work in Shanghai. I've been here for several decades already. I visited Tibet in 2005 and would like to visit again. Can you tell if I can get a permit to visit Tibet? Thank you.

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Leo,

We can help you get your Tibet travel permit after you book a tour with us. Unlike other places in China, Tibet doesn't allow independent travel. If the travel agency applies for a permit for you, that means they should be responsible for all your activities in Tibet including your itinerary, guide, accommodation, vehicle, etc. All things should be listed clearly on your permit and can't be changed in case something unexpected happens.

Asked by Kish***

Hi, I am working in an international institution and having a W category Chinese Visa and holding an Indian normal passport. I would like to visit Tibet for tourist purposes. Please help how can we plan for the same. My mobile number is 138******73

Answered by Beatrice

Sorry government officers can't travel to Tibet through a Tibet Travel Agency. You may refer to the Foreign Affairs Office.

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