Tibet Travel Permits Now Being Issued
Recently, the ban on foreigners in Tibet has been lifted. With the new Tibet travel permit regulations, following three simple steps and keeping in mind a few additional details makes getting a permit an easy process.
Even with constantly changing restrictions on travel to Tibet, obtaining a Tibet travel permit is a straightforward process. Although the ban on foreigners in Tibet was recently lifted, independent travel in Tibet is still not possible at this time. A properly registered travel agency will apply for the permits on a tour group’s behalf. When planning Tibet tour, travelers need to do their part by providing their travel agency with the required information and complying with local laws.
Following these three steps and keeping in mind a few extra details will help ensure a smooth trip:
- Email scanned copies of passports and Chinese visas to the travel agency. In the same email let them know the occupation along with full name, gender, date of birth, passport number, and nationality exactly as it appears on the passport of each traveler in the group.
- Let the travel agency know which hotel the group will be staying at prior to arrival in Tibet. Since the permit must be presented when boarding the train or plane to Lhasa, the travel agent will mail the Tibet travel permit to the hotel. If entering through Nepal, a tour guide will meet the group at the border or airport; permits are not mailed to Nepal.
- Ask for the group’s Tibet travel permits when checking into the hotel. Don’t forget to contact them a few days in advance so they will know to hold the documents until the group’s arrival. Let the travel agency know if assistance is needed in contacting the hotel.
When applying for a visa it is recommended that the city of arrival (e.g. Beijing) be listed as the destination in China, rather than mentioning Tibet. If entering through Nepal a travel agency will help obtain separate visas from the Chinese consulate in Kathmandu, regardless of whether or not a traveler has a Chinese visa already.
Unfortunately there are additional restrictions on Tibet travel permits for diplomats, government officials, military, and journalists. Make sure and check with your Tibet travel agency before booking your trip because it is not always possible for these individuals to obtain a permit. Outside of this, permit applications are seldom denied as long as you follow the appropriate guidelines.
Also, depending on the time of year and local political climate, there may be additional restrictions on group sizes and travel to certain areas of Tibet. At the present time, groups must have at least five travelers of the same nationality (with some exceptions for families of four). When booking a trip it is important to remember that government regulations can prevent all Tibet travel permits from being issued with little to no advanced notice. Travel agencies keep up to date on these changes and will inform clients of anything that may impact their travel plans.
When planning a trip to Tibet, one must accept the risks and be flexible should there be unexpected changes in regulations. Even though the travel ban was recently lifted, it is important for travelers to listen to their guide and be respectful of the local laws, especially in sensitive areas. Following the three steps outlined and keeping in mind a few extra details can make navigating the Tibet travel permit process a hassle-free experience.
For the most up to date information, contact Tony at local Tibet Travel Agency. Tony’s agency is in Lhasa and his team is specialized in organizing quality Tibet tours with fairly lower price than any other agencies.