Tibet Dreaming: Permits

You gotta have one to enter Tibet

Good morning, wanderers! This post is the 1st instalment in our very first series, Tibet Dreaming.

In recent years, the Chinese government has loosened regulations on foreigners visiting Tibet. Still, it’s not exactly easy or simple to obtain a permit.

First off, who needs/doesn’t need/can’t get a permit?

Needs Permit Foreign Citizens Taiwan Citizens PRC Citizens overseas without a passport
Doesn’t Need Permit Hong Kong Citizens Macau Citizens PRC Citizens
Can’t Get Permit (must apply through the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office) Government officials Diplomats Journalists and Media Photographers

Now, if you’re in the “Needs Permit” category like most of us, you’ll need to get a visa to China. That can be easily done through the Chinese embassy in your home country.

Then, you’ll need to apply for a permit through an authorized travel agency or tour operator. It’s okay if you’re going to be travelling solo, you just need to get your permit through these guys. Choose one that is larger and more reliable, so that you are more likely to receive your Tibet Permit. The travel agencies need scanned copies of your passport, visa, and itinerary to issue you a Tibet Permit. Pickup methods vary across operators, but you likely will be given the green light to go to Tibet soon after.

Please note: The Chinese government tends to be unreliable in permitting foreigners to enter Tibet. The regulations change regularly and there may be periods of time when foreigners are not permitted to be in Tibet at all. You should be prepared for the (small but still existent) possibility your trip may be suddenly shortened or delayed or perhaps cancelled completely.

Barring exceptional circumstances, I wish you all happy travels!


Author: Chelsea Mae

Chelsea Mae created Live Wanderfully to inspire other likeminded travelers, storytellers, and dreamers to embark on their next adventures. Live Wanderfully is now home to tons of travel resources: tips, tricks, and ramblings learned on the journey of a lifetime.

16 thoughts on “Tibet Dreaming: Permits”

  1. TIbet looks like an amazing destination but it’s great to know that you need to plan ahead to get all the paperwork in order. Even getting a simple visa to China can be difficult – for instance I have a French passport and I would need to travel to NYC from Boston in order to appear in person at the embassy to get it!


  2. This administrative stuff is sometimes frustrating, especially if you are routing for such a great place like Tibet. I just hope that in the future, it (visa stuff) will get easier and not just depending on the economic status of your country.


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