Because of the unique national tradition and cultural heritage of Tibet, foreigners must own Tibetan Entry Permit issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau when they plan to conduct a travel to Tibet, which is not as easy as their travel to the mainland of China.
People Who Have to Own Tibet Entry Permit
It is necessary for all foreigners to have Tibet Travel Permit when entering Tibet. It is the same as those who are Chinese but living overseas without Chinese passport. If you are from Hong Kong or Macau, you don’t need to have a Tibet Entry Permit, but you have to take your SAR Passport and Home Return Permit with you. But if you are Taiwanese, you have to own both Mainland Travel Permit and Tibet Entry Permit(Not available for Taiwanese currently). What’s more, if you get to get Tibet from Nepal, another document you have to own is Tibet Group Visa.
Procedure for Applying for a Tibet Entry Permit
As Tibet Autonomous Region is a part of China, Chinese Visa is needed when foreigners entering China. But if you enter Tibet from Nepal, Chinese Visa is not needed. Overseas tourists need to apply for Chinese Visa in a Chinese Embassy at first. Foreigners are not allowed to apply for Tibet Entry Permit by themselves, so contacting a licensed local travel agency in advance is of vital importance. Agency will arrange your travel itineraries. Despite this, a travel agency can help you apply for the permit, which will show your itineraries in detail. What you need to do is sending an email of the photo of your passport information page, Chinese Visa page and your occupation to the travel agency. Then you can receive your permit before your departure to Tibet.
Time to Use Tibet Entry Permit
If you get to Tibet by train, a copy of your Tibet Entry Permit will be checked at the departure train station; while if you go to Tibet by air, the original permit will be checked at the departure airport. But if you enter Tibet through Nepal, only the copy of the permit is needed. Then when you are in Tibet, the permit is checked at hotels as well as the entries of some attractions.
What Does Tibet Entry Permit Contain
Tibet Entry Permit is a paper contains your tour group number, your Tibet tour date, your daily itineraries, number of travelers and the tour operator.
Other Documents Needed in Tibet
When you travel to outside Lhasa, Aliens Travel Permit is needed, which is issued by the Public Security Bureau. When you visit places as follows, you have to show your Aliens Travel Permit: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery and Yumbulakhang in Tsedang; Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest and Rongbuk Monastery in Shigatse; PelkorChode Monastery in Gyangtse; Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang and etc. in Ngari Region; Basum-tso, Pomi, Rawo-tso and etc. in Nyingchi Region; Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen and etc. in Chamdo Region.
When you visit military sensitive areas in Tibet such as Mount Kailash in Ali and Rowok Lake in Chamdo, you also need the Military Area Entry Permit issued by the military affairs office as well.