First of all, it’s easy for foreigners with non-Chinese ID cards, Home Visit Permits, and Taiwan Compatriots certificates to travel to Tibet. But there are some special procedures which needs to be considered before planning to go to Tibet. Here is some detailed information as follows:
As an important part of China, here are some special policies for tourists to travel to Tibet Autonomous Region because of the protection for national tradition and ecological environment, the limited traffic conditions, tourist facilities and reception capacity in Tibet. The Chinese government encourages tourists to visit Tibet in groups and stipulates that foreigners including Taiwanese, and overseas Chinese who have no non-Chinese ID cards or those who keep Home Return Permit need to apply for "Travel Confirmation Letter and the List of visitors" which is also called Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Autonomous Region Tourism Bureau [TTB] before entering Tibet. According to the latest regulations of the Tourism Bureau, foreign tourists are not allowed to travel on their own during the travel in Tibet. No matter how many people are there, they need to organize and plan to travel with the local Tibet Travel Agency.
In addition to countries that have visa-free access to China, foreign tourists who want to visit Tibet must have a valid passport and a valid China L Visa issued by the Chinese embassy.
A. National citizens with ordinary passports can be exempted from visas in China and can be exempted from visas to travel to China which includes Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Mauritius, Serbia, and Mongolia.
B. Tourists entering Tibet from Nepal do not need to apply for Chinese visa first, but they need to apply for group visa at the Chinese embassy in Nepal to enter Tibet.
C. Foreigners working in China shall provide work visa and work certificate stamped by the company; For foreigners studying in China, they should provide a study visa and a study certificate or student card stamped by the school. Foreigners living in China shall provide residence certificate, etc..
In addition to ordinary passports and visas, foreign tourists who want to visit Tibet must have a Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet tourism bureau (including a confirmation letter and a list). Foreign tourists must entrust the travel agency in Tibet to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit in the tourism bureau. Only with the Tibet Travel Permit can tourists buy air tickets or the train tickets in the railway and then check in.
The simple process of applying for Tibet Travel Permit:
A. Confirm the travel itinerary of Tibet with the Tibet Inbound Travel Agency that accepts foreign guests;
B. Submit the scanned information of passport and visa to the travel agency by email;
C. Provide travel agencies with the starting city to Tibet, ways of entering Tibet, occupations and contact information;
D. The travel agency in Tibet shall apply for the Tibet Travel Permit in the tourism bureau with the confirmation of itinerary, tourist passport and visa information, tour guide, driver, tour bus and other information.
E. Generally speaking, it takes 7 to 8 working days for the travel society to get the original Tibet Travel Permit which can be delivered to the visitors after receiving it.
Note: In consideration of the arrangement of tourists' air tickets, hotels, tour guides and vehicles, please confirm the itinerary, submit materials and apply for the application as soon as possible 20 days in advance, so as to get the Tibet Travel Permit in time and enter Tibet smoothly.
If foreign tourists plan to go to the border areas, such as Mount Everest Base Camp, Nyingchi and Ngari, it’s required to apply for a foreigner Frontier Pass after arriving in Tibet. Lhasa, Gyangze, Shigatse and Nyingchi are the places where you can apply for the Frontier Passes.