Tibet has reopened to Foreign Tourists on June 25, after being closed to travelers since the middle March 2008. The Tibet Tourism Department has started to issue entry permits but with much more restrictions.
Passports and Visa
Travelers should bear a passport with no less than six months of validity. You need to make sure that, it has plenty of blank pages for visas, entry and reentry stamps, and extensions. Holding other IDs like a student card or driving license will be an advantage. If you lose your passport in Tibet, it will very bad, as you have to go to Beijing to get new one. If you are coming to Tibet from China, your Chinese visa must be valid. Only travelers with tourist visas (not business, resident, or student visas) are permitted. Entering Tibet from Nepal, either by friendship highway or by air requires a separate visa valid for Tibet from the Chinese embassy in Katmandu (30-60 day visas are normal and it normally takes 2 weeks to obtain it). Generally, the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu works on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 09:30 am to 11 am. The regular visa fee is 26 US$ and you can collect the passport on the third working day. For emergency processing, you have to pay an extra fee.
You may apply for a group visa from us at Nepal Mother House Treks (minimum of two people in a group and you must leave China with this person unless you can change the visa inside China). The visa processing is initiated only after you book a trip with a qualified travel agency. Your original passport has to be submitted along with the Visa Application Letter (Invitation Letter) of the Tibetan Tourism Authority to the Chinese Embassy in Nepal or abroad. We are eligible to process your visa/permit and can fax you the Visa Application Letter (Invitation Letter) if you wish to apply for the visa abroad.
Tibet Entry Permit
Customers whose travel arrangements are made by Nepal Mother House Treks will receive their Tibet Entry Permit from our local office in the city where they depart for Tibet e.g. Chengdu if by air or Golmud if by Qinghai-Tibet Highway. You are required to present this document when boarding the flight to Tibet. We will make all necessary arrangements to obtain the correct documentation for you if you book a tour with us.
How to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit?
Tibet Entry Permits are not available for independent travelers at the moment (at least before the Olympics). Travelers have to travel in a tour group and ask their travel agent to apply it for you. Please prepare the following documents before asking your travel agent to apply for permit.
A copy of your Passport
A copy of your China visa (tourist visa);
Full names, gender, Date of Birth, Passport number, nationality, occupation;
Travel Permit, also called Aliens' Travel Permit (A.T.P), is required to visit closed areas. It is issued by the Foreign Affairs Section of the Local Public Security Bureau (PSB). The Law on the Control of Entry and Exit of Foreigners (Order of the President of the People's Republic of China (No.31), 22.11.1985, Chapter 4), says:
Article 20: Foreigners who hold valid visas or residence certificates may travel to places declared open to foreigners by the Chinese Government.
Article 21: Foreigners who desire to travel to places closed to foreigners shall apply for travel permits from local public security organs [i.e., the police].
How to apply for it?
We will help you in applying for it after you enter Tibet. Our guide will ask you for your passport and the Tibet Entry Permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB.
Which parts of Tibet are listed as closed areas?
At present, you have to apply for a Travel Permit if you are planning to visit the following places:
Tsetang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Changdruk Temple, Yumbulakhang
Shigatse: Sakya Monastery, the Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Gyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery and Kubum Stupa
Basumtso Lake in Nyingchi Region
Lhasa and Nagqu regions are open to foreign travelers and no need for Travel Permit.
Kodari Border near Zangmu from Kathmandu
Through Golmud Road to Amdo
Purang from Simikot
. Kathmandu to Lhasa