About Chinese Visa and Tibet Travel Permit
The type of Chinese Visa will be different according to the two different routes of entering Tibet. One route is from Nepal (From Kathmandu City) and another route is from Mainland China (From major cities of China).
1 For Travelers who enter Tibet from Nepal (Kathmandu)
All foreigners are going to Tibet from Nepal MUST apply for their Chinese Visa at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. If you already have Chinese visa in your passport, which you obtained from any other place like from the Chinese Embassy/ Consulate of your home country, it does not use to enter Tibet from Nepal. So, it becomes useless and you will not be refunded the cost that you paid for it.
The Chinese Visa you receive from Chinese Embassy in Nepal is called Group Visa and also Paper Visa. Because, if you are traveling in a group, for example, you are husband & wife together going to Tibet, they issue one visa. And the visa appears in separate white paper including names of both of you with the stamp of China Government.
Please don’t be confused by the name. Although the name is group visa, it is also issued for solo travelers. It means you do not compulsorily need to be in a group in order to travel from Nepal to Tibet.
Another thing, after you finish Tibet tour, you can use the same Group Visa/ Paper Visa to extend your trip into Main Land China (Cities of China) according to its validity mentioned in the visa. If you have such plan, means after Tibet you also plan to go China, you should inform us (Your travel agency) at the time when you final us your Tibet tour itinerary. Because group visa, once it issued its duration, cannot be extended.
The Chinese Visa in Kathmandu normally takes 2 or 3 business days to obtain. Be advised that the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu does not process visa applications on weekends, during Chinese holidays or during most Nepalese holidays.
Our staff (Your staff of your Travel Agency) goes to receive your visa in Chinese Embassy and he will bring it to your hotel in Kathmandu.
1.1 About Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet is the autonomous region of China. For traveling Tibet, it also needs Tibet permit in addition to Chinese Visa. Chinese Embassy issues your Chinese Visa only after submission the copy of your Travel Permit. For Tibet Travel Permit we ourselves do all the process. For this, at least one month before your travel date, you should send us scanning copy of your passport via email. After we receive it we apply for your Travel Permit at Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) in Lhasa. It takes minimum 15 days by Tibet Tourism Bureau to issue Travel Permit. After they issue we keep it up with us. After you land in Kathmandu we do apply your Chinese Visa attaching your Travel Permit copy with a show of your original passport at Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
Remember that tourists are not allowed to apply Tibet Permit and Chinese Visa directly. Also, they are not required to go to the embassy for a visa. For the processing of Tibet permit and visa both, they compulsorily go through/ hire the Travel Agency.
1.2 Some other Important Notes:
• For Visa application in Kathmandu, it needs photos also. So at the time when you give your original passport to our staff, also give your two passport size photos and your home address detail.
• For Chinese visa, your passport should have a validity of at least 6 months.
• The scanning copy of your passport that you send us one month before and the passport which you bring to travel must be same to avoid the risk of not getting the visa.
2 For Travelers who enter Tibet from Mainland China
You may enter Tibet from major cities of China. But, the travel regulations when going to Tibet from China are different than the regulations when going to Tibet from Nepal. If you intend to enter Tibet via mainland China you need to apply for your Chinese Visa from the Chinese Embassy in your country. After you have the Chinese visa you should scan it with clear and readable letters and email to us along with the copy of your passport. With these documents, we will apply for your Tibet Travel Permit at Tibet Travel Bureau (TTB) in Lhasa. Once your Tibet Travel Permit is issued, we will deliver it to your hotel where you would be staying in mainland China. You will be allowed to enter Tibet from mainland China by only showing your Chinese Visa and Tibet Travel Permit at Chinese Immigration in the airport.
2.1 Important Note:
When applying for your Chinese Tourist Visa, you should follow the tricky job not mentioning the word Tibet and name of Tibet cities. In the application, you should mention you just traveling to China Mainland cities. Just list a couple of major cities in Mainland China and you will be fine. Otherwise, you will have major problems of not getting of Chinese Visa.
The main reason why should not mention in Chinese Visa Application is Chinese Embassies and Consulates across the globe almost always will ask for your Tibet Travel Permit if you list Tibet on your visa application. But you can’t receive Tibet Travel Permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa without submitting of your Chinese Tourist Visa…a classic Catch-22 situation. Remember Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa only issue Tibet Travel Permit. This rule sounds strange and confusing. But this is reality and is going on.
Apart from this for most nationalities, they need to submit proof of hotel bookings and flight to and from China while applying for Chinese Visa. Be sure to only hotel bookings for Mainland cities not for travel places in Tibet and your flight booking should be to/ from a major city in Mainland China not from/ to Lhasa in Tibet. If you do, you almost certainly will have problems and most likely will either be denied a Chinese visa.