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Tibet Travel Permit:

Tibet travel permit, also known as Tibet visa, has been compulsory for non-Chinese tourists who want to visit Tibet since the middle of March, 2008. The changeful permit situation in Tibet adds much trouble to travelers, further, another kind of permit called ATP (Alien Travel Permit) is also required if you want to travel to certain restricted regions like the Everest. Besides, local travel agents are the only channels that you can refer to if you want to obtain these permits.

Headquartered in Lhasa, Tibet with office in Chengdu, we are able to give you the first-hand permit situation information as well as help you apply for and obtain the permit in shortest time.

Here are some FAQ concerning the current permit situation, you will find very useful:

1. How to obtain a permit?

There are only two kinds of permits you need consider. One is Tibet Travel Permit (TTP); the other is Alien Travel Permit (ATP). To enter Tibet, you will need the TTP; to travel around Tibet (certain restricted areas), you'll need the ATP.

The steps to get the TTP are:

  1). Apply for a valid Chinese visa anywhere first. Do not mention "Tibet" in the visa application as it may be denied.
2). Send us the clearly scanned or photoed copy of your Chinese visa plus the information page of your passport by email, which has to be done at least 2 weeks before the tour stating date.
3). It takes us one week to get the permit from the authority after our application, another 2-3 days needed to reach your preferred address within China by EMS. So you'd better give us all the necessary information 2 weeks prior to your departure day to Tibet.

The process to get the ATP is:

There is slight difference in applying for the ATP as it can only be obtained after your arrival in China by sending a copy of your entry stamp to China on your visa to your operator, it takes about 5 days.

Hope the message in this table can clarify the problem

Place to visit

China Visa needed?

TTP needed?

ATP needed?

China Mainland (including Tibet)

Yes

No

No

Entry into Tibet

Yes

Yes

No

Unopened Areas (the Everest, Ali, Tsedang and overland tours)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

2. For people studying or working in China, is there any difference when applying for the permits?

For those whose visa type is not 'L' (tourist visa), in addition to the above mentioned steps, they need one more step to get the permit:

  1. Visiting (F) visa - a letter of recommendation from your company (with the official company seal).
2. Business (Z) visa - a letter of recommendation from your company (with the official company seal) and a scanned copy of your work permit (issued by the government).
3. Student (X) visa - a letter of recommendation from your school or university, with the school stamp (seal) and a scanned copy of the student ID card.

3. Should I write down Tibet on the application form when I apply for a Chinese visa?

The "itinerary" part on the Chinese visa application form is for reference only. Even if you didn't mention Tibet in the application form, you can still come to Tibet. I suggest you to write something simple, like "Spending 2 weeks in Beijing or Shanghai'.However, if you mention "Tibet" in your visa application form, your visa will probably be denied by the Chinese embassy.

Do NOT write Tibet in your application, it will NOT jeopardize your trip in Tibet. It's also absolutely legal to enter Tibet even if you didn't mention "Tibet" in your visa application as Tibet is one province of China.

4. If I just want to spend a few days in Lhasa, nothing else, then do I still need a guide and a driver?

If you only stay in Lhasa, you still need to have a tour guide, but a vehicle is unnecessary as Lhasa is really a small city, the most reasonable and enjoyable way is to rent a bicycle, and taking taxi is fairly cheap in Lhasa, usually 10 RMB is enough. Having a guide with you doesn't mean that the guide will be with you from the beginning to the end of your tour, you can have your own free time as long as you do not visit Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery independently, because all other scenic spots are open to foreigners except them.

5. At what time must I go back to my hotel?

Even though you have to hire and pay a tour guide, he or she is not going to be your nanny. You can go back to sleep anytime, you can stay outside your hotel until 4am as you like, there's actually no restriction. And actually there are some good bars and clubs for nightlife, such as Makye Ame and Ganglamedo Caf' & Bar.

6. What will a tour guide do according to the permit?

According to the policy, to obtain the permit through a local tour operator you must hire a tour guide otherwise you cannot get the permit.A tour guide is compulsory if you want to visit the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The tour agency will be fined if you were found without a tour guide with you. However, you are actually still free to wander around other places in Lhasa by yourself without your tour guide, you can ask your guide to stay at the hotel and wait for you. It does mean that you have paid him for nothing, but that's the rule, and this actually gives you back lots of freedom. If you travel out of Lhasa, a tour guide is compulsory to accompany you in the vehicle. Road checks will ask for the presence of your tour guide.

7. Please refer to our navigation part as to permit situation concerning entering Tibet from Nepal.

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