Himalayan Windows puts its every effort into making your trip to Tibet as smooth as possible and making your trip an adventure of a lifetime. Therefore, we have explained the list of regulations and procedures of entry that you should know before you travel to Tibet.
General Info about Traveling to Tibet
- Please make sure that The Tibet Travel Permit Policy could be changed without prior notification and even during your trip to Tibet. Additionally, the surprising border closure might disturb your confirmed plans. Therefore, it is advised to have proper insurance with a good cancellation policy.
- It is a MUST to have a Chinese visa and Tibet Travel Permit to travel to Tibet from China and a Tibet Group Visa (TGV) with Tibet Travel Permit from Kathmandu. Rules and Regulations to travel to Tibet are subject to change at any time (see below how to enter Tibet for more info).
- You will be requested to be clear on your travel specification by mentioning desired programs during your trip planning phase as it is difficult to get your visa extended in Tibet. Then-after only, we will process the permit and visa arrangements.
- The Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) only accepts permit applications 2-3 weeks in advance, therefore we advise you to confirm your trip to Tibet at least 3-4 weeks in advance. Himalayan Windows will assist you to get your Tibet Travel Permit which is a Must to travel to Tibet.
- Please be sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months before traveling. Visa and permits cannot be granted for passports valid for less than six months. Furthermore, you will require a minimum of two copies of passport-sized photographs for the visa application (Bring some more photographs too for Nepal visa application and other more purpose) and you can give them to us while handing over your original passport for the visa application (We need your original passport while applying for a paper visa from the Embassy)
- You may not be allowed to bring any Tibetan Religious books, Tibet Lonely Planet Books, Magazines related to politics, Posters, or photographs while traveling to Tibet. Your bags will be searched thoroughly at customs and immigration. HimalayanWindows will not be responsible for any issue that happens thereafter.
- Make sure that Journalists, Media persons, government officials, and Diplomats can not receive permits via a tour company. They’ll have to go through the Foreign Affairs Department or other government authorities.
RELATED CONTENT | Tibet Travel Information
Confirmation Letter to Enter Tibet
Starting from July 1, 2007, the tourist bureau of the Tibet autonomous region withdraw all the agencies in the inland cities of China, and the affairs related to the “Confirmation letter of entering Tibet” are handled by the Tourism administration department of the Tourism Bureau of the Tibet autonomous region; and the relevant fees for getting the “Confirmation letter for entering Tibet” are canceled. Meanwhile, the layout of the “Confirmation letter for Entering Tibet” has been renewed, and the anti-counterfeiting mark and the characters meaning to provide free service for getting the Confirmation letter are added. However, before entering Tibet, it is suggested to link with your nearby agency for the Tibet tour packages and confirmation letter as all the visitors should be connected by the local travel agencies.
Entering Tibet from Mainland China
- It is suggested to mention your travel destination while applying for a Chinese Visa from the Embassy of China at any location in the world. Tibet is politically sensitive itself and sometimes the authority may refuse your visa application without any concrete reason; especially for those planning to visit Tibet. Please be sure that what sort of visa you are applying for as you might need to submit other supporting documents if your visa is different than a tourist Visa such as business or employment.
- If you are entering Tibet via Mainland China, you are required to obtain your Chinese Visa from your home country. HimalayanWindows will help arrange your Tibet Travel Permit and the courier to China.
- As per the rules and regulations of the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB), we are not allowed to send your original permits to your home country, they must be sent to an address inside China. Therefore, you will be requested to send your proper address with the telephone numbers of your Apartment or Hotel where our representative or postal man drops off your original permits. Please do not forget to give the name of the correct hotel or personnel if you are not available so that we can drop off your Tibet Travel Permit at your hotel address. The original Tibet permits must be with you before boarding for Lhasa, Tibet.
- If you are taking a direct flight to Lhasa from mainland China without a stopover for a night, Please provide us with the complete details of your transits so that we can make proper arrangements to send your permits to the airport direct.
- The rules and regulations of traveling to Tibet and Travel Permits can be changed overnight. So, we recommend our guests get updated information from your travel consultant before traveling to Tibet.
Entering Tibet from Nepal (Kathmandu)
- If you are traveling to Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal (either by overland or by flight), it is HIGHLY advised NOT to issue a Chinese Visa before. That does not mean you can not get a Tibet Group Visa (TGV) but your existing Chinese visa gets canceled while applying for TGV in Kathmandu. If you already have a Chinese visa and you are applying for TGV in Kathmandu, make sure your existing Chinese visa is not that important!
- TGV is the Tibet Group Visa which is only issued in Kathmandu. TGV is a single entry paper visa with your details according to your passport along with Tibet/China entry and exit details, TGV is also valid to travel to mainland China after Tibet.
- If you are holding two different country’s passports, please use the same passport for Tibet which has been used for Nepal.
- The permit can be obtained using a photocopy of your passport but your original passport must be presented while applying for the group visa at the Embassy of China in Kathmandu. Therefore, it is advised to arrive in Kathmandu at least 3-4 days before your departure (make sure the Embassy closes on Saturdays and Sundays). HimalayanWindows will apply for the group paper visa so that clients can do sightseeing tours while waiting for the Visa in Kathmandu.
- HimalayanWindows can request for the required number of days to be permitted in Tibet/China but please bear in mind that the final decision to permit the number of days is completely up to the TTB or the Embassy.
- The Embassy of China in Kathmandu is open Monday to Friday and normal visa processing is 5 working days but if it is urgent, Himalayan Windows can organize your group visa in 2-3 working days with an urgent fee.
- If you are planning to enter Mainland China after the visit to Tibet, the TGV will also allow you to visit Mainland China including Tibet. You will need to mention where you will visit in Mainland China after the tour ends in Tibet. The decision should be made before applying for the Tibet travel permit, please be specific that which city you will be visiting with travel itineraries. If you are traveling in a group and going to be separated from Lhasa or you have a different flight/date, kindly inform us before the permit application. Because it is quite tricky, you MUST have a separate TGV to be separated in Lhasa. Otherwise, you must leave together on the same flight/train from Lhasa.
- Traveling to Tibet by road is possible by Kerung Border now. Since the 2015 earthquakes, no border was open to enter by land. Since September 2017, the Tibet government has opened the Rasuwagadi-Kerung border crossing to third-country (International) travelers.
Please read: If you have an existing Chinese Visa already while applying for Tibet Group Visa (TGV), the existing Chinese Visa would get canceled and re-issued with a single entry paper visa as a TGV. Make sure of the importance of the existing individual visa before applying for TGV. TGV can also be valid for travel to Mainland China after the Tibet tour. Check with your tour operator for fresh information before making any decision.
*This post has been updated on 24 January 2023.