Travelling to Tibet is a dream of many. Here, at Himalayan Glacier we understand this and would like to assist you in making your Tibet tour an adventure of a lifetime. Therefore, presented below is a list of rules and Tibet entry procedures you should know about before travelling to Tibet.
1. General Information on Tibet Travel
- Please note that Tibet travel policies might change without a prior notice and even while you are still on your trip. Among other things, closure of border might also take place. Therefore, it is advisable to have insurance with a good cancellation policy. If your Tibet tour is cancelled due to the change in policy, Himalayan glacier will reserve only the required amount and refund you the rest.
- China visa and Tibet Travel Permit are a must when you are travelling to Tibet. Regulations to visit Tibet are subject to change before you go and even when you are in Tibet. Currently, foreigners must be part of a group (Group Visa) who enter and exit Tibet on the same itinerary and all carry passports of the same nationality.
- It is difficult to get your group visa extended, so we suggest you to clearly mention your programs to us during the trip planning phase. Only then will we be able to arrange your visa and permit.
- The Tibet entry permit can only be issued prior to 3 weeks of arrival in Tibet. Himalayan Glacier will help you organize the permit. Please note that the permit will be checked at the airport in Lhasa and on trains from China to Tibet. Some hotels in Tibet also check the permits.
- Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months before travelling. Visa is not provided to the passports with less than six months’ validity. You need two passport-sized photos for the visa application. We advise you to bring an extra just in case.
- You are not allowed to take any Tibetan religious books, literatures, any lonely planet items, photographs, especially related to Dalai Lama during your travel to Tibet. If the above mentioned items are found in your possession, they will be confiscated and you will not be allowed to enter Tibet.
- Please also note that Diplomats, Journalists, professional media photographer and government officials are not able to issue their Tibet permit through Himalayan Glacier. They are only able to travel to Tibet under the arrangement of Foreign Affairs Department, Economic Development Committee, etc.
2. Entering Tibet from Nepal
- If you are coming to Tibet from Kathmandu, it is advised to get a Chinese visa from Kathmandu (regardless of whether you already have a Chinese visa issued in your country) as a special administrative situation exists between China and Nepal. We also highly recommend you to not apply for individual Chinese visa in your country if you decide to enter Tibet from Nepal, since when you apply for the group visa to entering Tibet, the Chinese embassy will cancel your individual Chinese visa.
- If you are entering Tibet via Nepal, you will get Chinese visa only in the passport that is stamped with the Nepalese visa. Therefore, we advise you to use same passport while travelling to Nepal and Tibet (China).
- The Tibet Group Visa is an A4 size sheet of paper, with the name, sex, nationality, passport number, date of birth and occupation of each member of your group listed. The dates of entry and exit are precisely recorded.
- Itinerary and the places to visit in Tibet must be stated clearly and finalized in advance because while applying for a Chinese visa and Tibet Travel Permit from Kathmandu, a copy of this should be attached. The visa is issued accordingly.
- Tibet permits can be obtained using photocopy of your passport but you must have your original passport to apply for Chinese visa which will be collected by Himalayan Glacier once you arrive in Kathmandu.
- Travel permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau (Lhasa) is obtained in accordance to your itinerary mentioned in the permit application. Himalayan Glacier will try and get the permits (Group visa) for you but do bear in mind that the final decision to grant you the permit is totally up to the Tibet Tourism Bureau.
- Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is open from Mondays to Fridays. Usually, it takes 5 working days to issue a Chinese visa from the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. However, in urgent condition we can also organize your Chinese visas in 1 working day by paying an express fee.
- If you plan to enter mainland China after your Tibet travel, the group visa will allow you to enter mainland China. If the duration of your group visa covers all your programs in mainland China also then you can use it during your stay in mainland China. Please note that all the members of the group have to board the same flight to leave the country. In case your group members have separate flights or dates, you need to inform Himalayan Glacier clearly during the planning as then we will have to apply for separate group visas. (It all depends on Chinese official’s decision)
3. Entering Tibet from mainland China
- It’s best not to mention Tibet or any places in Tibet as your travel destination when you are applying for Chinese visa (the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu is the only exception). Since Tibet is politically sensitive in China and sometimes it may refuse your visa application if you mention about Tibet in the application form, so please keep this in mind when applying and you can mention any city of mainland China such as Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chengdu-Sichuan, Yunnan, etc. as your travel destinations.
- If you are planning to enter Tibet via mainland China, you need to organize your Chinese visa from Chinese embassy in your home country. Himalayan Glacier will help arrange for your Tibet Travel Permit from China.
- According to the Chinese rules and regulation, it is not possible to provide you with the Tibet Travel Permit via freight services. However, Himalayan Glacier can make arrangements for you to get your permit while you are in China. For that to happen, you need to consider two situations mentioned below.
If you have booked a hotel in mainland China then please provide us details of your hotel including its name, address and telephone number. Also, let us know the check in time along with the name under which the hotel reservation has been made. Please do not forget to give us the name of an appropriate hotel authority so that we can drop your Tibet Travel Permit at your hotel with the appropriate person mentioned by you. Also, make sure to inform the hotel about your whereabouts and make confirmations that you will be checking in at the hotel.
- If are taking a direct flight to Lhasa from mainland China then please provide us the details of your transits so that we can make arrangements for our staff to wait for you outside the transit point (airport) and handover your Tibet Travel Permit to you.
- Chinese Passport Holders do not need the Tibet permit to go/travel to Tibet. According to the rules and regulations of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), foreign passport holders (including the Taiwanese and Non-Chinese ID card holders need to have Tibet Travel Permit for visiting. People who hold Hong Kong SAR passports and Macau SAR passports do not need the permit.
- If you arrive in China from your home country, you must register with the police within 24 hours of your arrival in the country. Even foreigners with residence permits are required to register after each re-entry. If you are staying in a hotel, the staff will automatically register you. However, if you are staying in a private home with family or friends, you should take your passport to the local police station to register. Failure to do so could result in fines and detention. Chinese law requires that you carry a valid passport and Chinese visa or residence permit at all times
However, the rules and regulations regarding Chinese visa and Tibet travel permit changes frequently. Therefore, we suggest our clients to seek advice from our travel consultants before making any plans to travel to Tibet.