Due to Tibet’s position in China, all international travelers are required to get several permits to travel to Tibet, in addition valid passport and China visa. This post lists all permits you will apply for based on your Tibet tour itinerary.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit, also known as Tibet Entry Permit or Tibet Visa, is an indispensable permit for international tourists to enter into Tibet. You will use it during your whole Tibet journey till your tour end and tour guide get it back.
Tibet Travel Permit is an official travel paper issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB). All international tourists, overseas Chinese with no China’s ID card and Taiwan citizens need get it via Tibet tour operator from TTB. But a diplomat, journalist or a government official can not get it via tour operator. He/She need apply for it from Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.
After you confirm your Tibet tour with a travel agency, they will need to help you apply for Tibet Travel Permit. It needs at least 8 working days. So it is better to give them the copies of your passport and China visa at least 15 days in advance. After they receive it from TTB, they will give your permit copy or original one to you.
2. Aliens’ Travel Permit
Aliens’ Travel Permit is a “must” permit for travelers to visit the special site, the non-open area or border area in Tibet, such as Samye Monastery in Tsedang, Basumtso in Nyingchi, EBC in Shigatse and Ngari Prefecture.
During your Tibet trip, your Tibetan tour guide will apply for it from local Public Security Bureau with your passport. It takes 1-2 hours.
3. Military Permit, Foreign Affairs Permit, Frontier Permit
Military Permit is a necessary permit for travelers to visit “sensitive“areas of Tibet under military control, such as Bomi in Nyingchi and Nyingchi Prefecture. The Foreign Affairs Permit and Frontier Permit are filed in Foreign Affairs Departure. They are together. It takes 15-30 days.
4. Climbing Permit
If you plan to climb Mt. Everest in Tibet, you will need get Tibet Climbing Permit, which is also known as Mountaineering License and join in the climbing team. It need 2-3 months.
Frontier Pass is the border permit for the residents of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to visit Motuo, Mount Everest, Gyirong and Ngari Prefecture. It takes 1 day.
Some travelers prefer independent travel to Tibet without a Tibet tour and just ask for Tibet Permits application service. This is impossible. Because when applying for Tibet Permits, Tibet tour operator need submit tour schedule, Tibet entry and exit dates, travelers’ information, tour guide and vehicle’s registration license, etc. Therefore, you need book your Tibet tour with travel agency, and then they help you apply for Tibet Permits for free from TTB.