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!


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Comments (16)

  1. So annoying that some countries need permit like I just wanna visit it and go back home it’s not that hard.

  2. Great info. I was actually asked if I wanted to hike around Tibet with someone else later this year, so this was very relevant to me 🙂

  3. Great information. Is it necessary to travel to Tibet with a tour operator or is independent travel ok?

  4. Very informative, thank you!

  5. Wow now a days it’s not that easy as just book a flight

  6. This is extremely helpful! Thanks!

  7. Wow! I’m pretty close and I’ve never thought of visiting there. I should add it to my list of places 🙂

  8. This is super helpful! Thanks!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. So cool. Just watched the latest installment of Bond Movie, 007 and still hard to choose who’s the best. Haha. This museum might help me to decide.

  12. Journalists and photographers can’t enter Tibet…?! What! How come?

  13. probearoundtheglobe

    The Tibetan Permit situation is so unclear and officials change their policy every year I feel. I like how you also tell that you can travel solo as many people think you need to join a group tour.

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